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Sony PSP Review: ProStroke Golf – World Tour 2007

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A lot of people take the safe bet, and pick up Madden or Tiger Woods every year. It makes no difference if the game was improved upon, people just buy it.

Who wants to chance it? The Tiger Woods franchise is getting long in the tooth, offering us close to the year-over-year experience we get out of Madden, and that is getting tiring.

Players who take a chance on ProStroke Golf: World Tour 2007 will find a game with solid play mechanics, nice graphics for the PSP, but lacking the polish found in the latest Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07.

ProStroke Golf on the PSP does fair better in handheld form. The graphics look better because of the lesser hardware. They are still on the dull side though. You won't find bright vibrant colors here.

Changing from the dual-analog control on the console, the PSP uses a three-point system found in many arcade games. It handles it in a unique way, however.

To start your back swing, you hold the R button down. At the apex of the swing you let go and hold the L button, letting go as close to the target as possible. For added power, and of course greater chance to slice the ball, you can continue to hold the R button until contact.

The system works, and works well. You won't be getting the severely unrealistic numbers in ProStroke Golf like you do in Tiger Woods. This game leans a little more on the realistic side.

Moving your feet — using the D-pad — allows you to shape the ball in the direction you want it to go. You can put sidespin on the ball by moving your feet left or right, for example. You can also change the angle of the face of the club by using the analog nub.

This play mechanic works well, sadly it is the most refined item in the game.

You would think a three-man commentary team would be a chatterbox, this is not the case. They hardly ever speak, and when they do it is just awful. Half the time they call the shot wrong, which doesn't help.

The create-a-golfer is anemic, giving you two options for everything. Considering this game is going to be contested bullet point for bullet point with Tiger Woods, create-a-player needs to be beefed up if there is ever a 2008 edition of ProStroke Golf.

Your created golfer's career is also lacking. You have one-day tournaments and challenge events, the latter being much more fun. The computer-controlled player (who you always have to play against, and cannot be skipped) is pretty slow, and makes the game play drag on.

Rounding out the play options you can play versus in Ad Hoc mode, and play a match or tournament outside of the career. The game does have a tutorial, and does a decent job at explaining everything.

ProStroke Golf 2007 has eight licensed professional golfers, but most casual fans of the sport won't recognize half the names. Still, it is a good list with Sergio Garcia, Mark O'Meara, Justin Rose, Ben Curtis, Thomas Bjorn, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, and Zhang Lian-Wei.

A total of 18 courses sounds great at first, but sadly only two are real, everything else are fantasy courses. There are some good ones in there, but they seem uninspired when put against the real courses. The game would benefit greatly be including a wider range of real courses, no doubt.

The game's saving grace is a nice course editor, where you start by choosing and environment, season, and weather type before dropping you into design mode. If you take the time to read the manual (who does that anymore) you will find a lot of help with the course designer, otherwise there is little on-screen help at all.

There is also no way to easily share the courses, like you find level sharing in Mega Man Powered Up or Lemmings on the PSP. You have to connect your PSP to your computer via USB, then download courses, such on Gusto Games' forum (but even on the developer's forum, there isn't much to chose from).

There needs to be an easy way to share these user-created courses, because the course designer allows for a great deal of customization. This is a feature that EA should be considering for Tiger Woods instead of going overboard on the GameFace technology.

With the course designer, ProStroke Golf 2007 has a ton of replay value. The play mechanics are strong, but the game is rough around the edges – too ruff for some.

This is a good game for people who are golf nuts, or looking for something in the sim department that is not from EA. All the cut corners really bring this one down, however. It is not hard to see the potential here, and I hope we see more from Gusto Games.

ProStroke Golf: World Tour 2007 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: PC, PS2, Xbox.

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