Note: This review is based on the PS4 Pro version and might not look, sound, and perform the same on other consoles and PC.
The Golf Club 2 is the second in the series of golf games developed by HB Studios. The first game was mildly successful due in part to the course creator and the lack of golf games available for consoles and PC. I purchased the first game on a deep discount on the PlayStation Store and for the price ($7.99) it was worth it. However, that game had numerous stability and control issues that frustrated me and others despite the game being patched many times. So when HB Studios announced The Golf Club 2 with a lovely trailer, I was curious and actually looking forward to it in the hope that they fixed the stability and controls.
The big draw for golf gamers to this franchise is the nearly infinite number of courses that you can play. These courses are designed by you, your friends, other online gamers, and also by HB Studios. In The Golf Club 2, HB Studios added more base layouts, items, and other goodies to help you create the course of your dreams. It really is a very addictive feature. I created a course and I spent many hours tinkering with it and still have yet to get it to the way I want it. Once a player does get the course the way they like, they can then “Publish” it and then everyone in the community can enjoy it. The gamer can create as many golf courses as they like, which could keep you designing for years to come (well, until The Golf Club 3 comes out). Another really nice added touch is that if you owned the original Golf Club. you are given the option to import your masterpieces (courses) into the current game. This gives the game the extra special thank you for all the course designers of the original game.
The character creator in this second game in the series is much more fleshed out. I spent a few hours customizing my lady golfer from what blouse she is wearing, to her skirt, shoes, and hat. There are tons of choices. I loved that after I made a choice I could go in and change the primary and secondary color of each part of her outfit. Also, after deciding which clubs I wanted in my bag (I went ahead and stayed with the preset clubs after some deliberation) I was given the option of customizing the club’s head, neck and grips to my liking. I really enjoyed this and wish other golf games would follow suit.
Strong Points: Tons of official and user created courses to play on. Character customization, ambient sound, and announcer play by play.
Weak Points: Stability issues need more improvement. Controls are frustrating and difficult.
Moral Warnings: Perfect morality. No skimpy outfits or vulgar language. Just clean fun!!!
At the main menu you have several options: Play, Training, Career, Online Societies, and Course Designer. Play is just giving the golfer the ability to play courses they designed or what other players/HB Studios have created. I do like the ability to go through created courses and add them to “My Favorites” tab so that you can play your favorite courses anytime without having to be forced to search for them again. You can also play courses friends created. This makes all the courses offered a little less daunting.
The “Training” area allows you to work on a variety of areas of your golf game, from putting, club and shot types, and just going to the driving range to name a few. The “Career” area is your own personal page that gives you your own private clubhouse. You can name your clubhouse, add a club logo, and choose a background. There are a lot of options to make the career area the way you like it. You can create your own private season of golf with you competing against AI opponents or invite some friends for a nice round of golf. Online Societies is your option to join a society that is open to other golfers. You can even create this type of society yourself to allow other golfers to join. Lastly, there is the course designer area which I discussed earlier.
The graphics in the original were pretty well done, but this new edition has shown an improvement with lighting and draw distance. EA’s Rory McIlroy PGA Tour graphics are far superior but The Golf Club 2’s are nothing to shake a stick at. There is far more behind the scenes computing for each golf course in The Golf Club 2 than EA’s Rory McIlroy PGA Tour since each course is designed by gamers ( a few by HB Studios) and are so vast and different than the predesigned courses EA created.
The sound quality in the game is well done, from the sound of the animals, to the trees blowing gently, to the sound of you hitting the golf ball and the golf ball hitting the fairway or green. The announcer in the game is not at the level of EA’s Rory McIlroy PGA Tour announcers, but that is not a bad thing. I enjoyed the friendly announcing that made it seem like he is your friend and just trying to be encouraging. I also enjoyed the relaxing music in the menus.
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)
Game Score – 77%
Gameplay – 17/20
Graphics – 8/10
Sound – 8/10
Stability – 3.5/5
Controls – 2/5
Morality Score – 100%
Violence – 10/10
Language – 10/10
Sexual Content – 10/10
Occult/Supernatural – 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical – 10/10
The big negatives that plague this game are the stability and controls. The stability has slightly improved with recent patches, but it still has a ways to go. Even the first game in the series had stability issues after several patches and now the second game in the series seems to follow the same pattern. I hope that this will get fixed more so that it will become an afterthought to gamers and not something they fear.
Controls on the other hand are horrible. HB Studios refuse to go back to the tried and true 3 button clicking option that most golf games use. This game has you use the thumb stick to swing back for how much power you want to use and then push the stick up to try get within a narrow red area on the swinging gauge to successfully hit a ball to where you are trying to aim at. This kind of control is very frustrating because if you just move your thumb slightly, the ball goes wildly left or right. You think you moved your thumb perfectly down (for power) and up (for direction) and then to your anger the game sends your ball off to the left or right. No matter how many hours you put into the game this predicament could occur and cause great frustration. I hope HB Studios will realize their frustrating controls and patch in the 3 button click swing option.
There are no morality issues to speak of in this game. All the clothing that you choose for your male or female golfer are family friendly. The lady skirts are not too short and the blouses are not revealing at all. There is no foul language in the game (except for the gamers yelling bad things at the controls).
Besides the controls and the stability issues the game is well done. I really enjoyed my time creating my golfer and hope other golf games take notice. The course creator is a lot of fun and addictive. It’s just sad that the golfer and course creator are the fun part of the game and not the actual golfing.