If you're having trouble with your golf handicap you might find you need to turn on your PlayStation 2 rather than head down to the driving range to improve your game. Real World Golf is the second title released to work with the direct motion capture controller Gametrak.
For those not in the know, Gametrak is a dedicated controller that can plot your hands in relation to a box placed on the floor directly in front of you. Wearing a set of gloves that attach to the box using fishing wire, the controller works out your movements and then relays that information to the PS2.
In DarkWind, the first game released using the system, this involved fighting hand to hand in a series of bouts. This time, however the creators have turned to the popular world of golf.
The end result is a videogame that's about an interactive as you will ever get.
Controlling your shots in game is just like real-life, and because your movements bear a direct correlation to the movements on the screen, everything from how you stand to how you hold the mini golf club included in the box will affect your gameplay.
When it comes to taking a shot you have to imagine that you are swinging a full size golf club. Depending on how you swing will affect the pitch, fade, spin or draw the ball on screen, and just like in the real world, making sure you make good contact is very important. Fail to hit it straight and you'll find yourself in the rough more often than not.
Beyond the game's controller, the game is broken down into a number of parts; a short tutorial, practice, rounds and tournaments.
The tutorial is unfortunately a little on the short side, however it does give you enough to be getting on with. If you want to practice before you play it looks like you still might have to head down to the driving range after all.
The five courses themselves don't look like they are from anywhere famous, however still offer plenty of challenges to any golfer with the usual array of water features and bunkers to avoid.
When we reviewed the first game to use this controller (see here), we liked the idea, but really looked forward to the promise of a golfing experience. Now that it's here, we certainly aren't disappointed.
The game, while thin on the ground in terms of commentary (it does have legendary golf commentator Peter Alliss walking you through each hole at the beginning but nothing after that) and graphics compared to other golfing titles available, wins hands down on the controls.
Standing in your living room practising your golf swing might seem a little strange, but it certainly immerses you into the action. However, just as a steering wheel has the ability to make driving games not only more realistic but equally more difficult, so does this controller with the game of golf.
So did it make things better? It certainly improved the realism of the game, and there's no sitting around on your sofa pressing a few buttons without feeling involved. By the same token that means, like the real thing, you could spend a lifetime playing and never master it.
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