Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Golf: Tee It Up! review

Not too sure why this wasn't posted by Zach himself when he posted the review. But Classic VFH has had a review of Activision's Golf: Tee It Up! for about a week or so now, check it out!

Golf: Tee It Up! review - Classic VFH

UPDATE (3/22/10) VFH Classic is dead:

Golf: Tee It Up! is a fairly basic golfing game for the XBLA that contains a few features to set it apart from other golfing titles. I think I should say though, that the last golf game I played was the one in Wii Sports, and before that….perhaps that awesome one for the PC back in like, 1996 or something, so yeah, it’s been quite some time so I can’t really compare it to other games in terms of features and gameplay, so I’ll just let you know about some of its features.

The first thing you’ll notice when you boot up the game is the fact that you can customize your character. The first option is really basic, giving you the option of a male or female character, but then you can edit your character’s hands, feet, clothing, and accessories, and these things range from normal-type clothing, to crazy stuff, like monster hands and feet to horns, so it’s cool to be given these features to make your character unique.

After you are done creating your character, you can either choose single player or multiplayer, local or online. Both feature the same two courses, Caribbean and Parkland, which both pretty much look the same. The backgrounds are a little bland, but still filled with something as opposed to being completely blank. The courses themselves are decent enough, with fairways, roughs, bunkers, and trees and other obstacles including boulders. They are pretty nice, with some fairly direct holes, while others have curves and trees and things in the way which you must maneuver around and so forth. I was a little disappointed as I kind of thought the courses would be more abstract, but only the 18th hole in the Parkland course was like that, with a giant hole in the middle with some raised levels and such.

Ahhh, a pleasant, peaceful golf course where all your worries melt away in the sun's basking warmth. A bunch of sand traps, as you can see, and trees keeping you out of the OB. It's never too difficult to stay on the fairway, except in a couple cases.

The gameplay is rather simplistic and another area, like the fairly limited amount of holes, where the game falls apart or at least loses its appeal. The game doesn’t really require all that much skill and is best suited for the younger audience or people who don’t like a challenge. You simply choose a club and a curved line will show you exactly where the ball will land. You can apply spin to it by hitting the ball in a specific spot to make it go further or curve. Obviously, this line won’t factor in wind, so you must do that yourself, but wind will never get above 7mph, so once you see how it affects your ball the first time, you’ll be able to place it accurately ever time. You have the standard power bar, but it isn’t very difficult to hit a perfect shot every time once you get the rhythm down. To make the game even easier, but more interesting, there is a Focus Meter. At the beginning of each new hole, you get a total of 4 extra seconds of focus, which can be used in three different ways; extra power, putt assist, or to manipulate the ball mid-flight. Extra power takes away one second from the meter, while the other two are timed. The putt assist shows a line where the ball will travel if you take the shot from the angle you are currently at while putting. The ball manipulation is the most useful, and can make the game too easy if you get good at it. You simply press and hold the right thumbstick in the direction that you want the ball to travel, and with a little momentum, you will make the ball go that way, which can easily allow you to sink in a long shot, or at least get it much close to the hole that what would otherwise occur.

Here, you can see all of the information, from your club and how far away the tee is on the left, to your ball, focus meter, and wind meter on the right. Those little dots in the middle of the screen is the line that shows where your ball will go, assuming there is no wind. You can get a better view by holding the RB I believe it is, where you get an aerial view which is very advantageous. The meter on the bottom is the power meter of course, with a little flag icon so you know how far you need to hit it. Also, I never hit a super horrible shot, but I never noticed any slice or hook when it was slightly off.

Putting is a little difficult. It’s the same principle as regular hitting, where you can see how hard you need to hit the ball to reach the hole if the land was flat, but the problem is, is that it’s sometimes hard to see the hills and valleys. There are contour lines, but they are very light and hard to make out sometimes. Also, you can’t freely move the camera, so you are very limited in what you can see. You can zoom in from your player to the hole, but this is done rather quickly and you have no control with it, making some putts frustrating and more luck than skill.

Once you’ve mastered all of these techniques, you can take your game online and challenge up to three other people to a round. The online set up is pretty nice, as you get right into it and don’t have to wait on the opponents or anything. You simply take your shot when ready. Little blips show up on-screen to show you where the other people’s balls are so you can see how you are fairing. Then a little message will show up on the top screen when they get it in so you can see what they got; par, eagle, bogey, etc. After each hole, you can check out the scorecard and watch replays of anybody’s performance. I only played online once, but mid-play, one of the people quit, which ejected everyone from the game, which I thought was rather lame, as it didn’t allow the rest of us to finish which just seemed wrong. Other than that problem though, the online played really well and was fun and competitive.

From here, you can see how the ball is spinning, which can semi-maybe help you see how you need to use that Focus to put a different spin on it, although the focus more so simply moves the ball completely in the direction desired, as opposed to simply changing the spin.

The game also features a point system, aside from simply calculating your total strokes. You get points from a variety of things, such as a close approach, keeping the ball on the fairway the entire hole, chipping it in, etc. These points are simply another way to track your progress and give you a high score.

Tee It Up has some decent sound effects, but zero music while actually playing. There is some music in the title screen, but once you actually get on the course, it is quiet as can be, minus the hum of some animal. There are sound effects though, thankfully, but no music. When you get the ball in the hole, people will cheer or sound sad, depending on how well you did.

That’s about it really. Golf: Tee It Up is your basic golf game with an interesting Focus ability and nice character customization. However, with only two courses, each of which is very similar, you won’t find much longevity in this title. Although supposedly, there will be future courses available to download, which would be nice. Still, you are probably better off saving your money and getting a Tiger Woods game if you want the full golf experience.


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