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E A Sports



1-4 Player

Game Type

Sports Sim

Mem. Card

Review Date

Sept 1996

Setting the Scene

Being a casual golf player myself, I was interested to see if after all of the many previous attempts to create the perfect simulation of the game on various systems, could E.A Sports, a company with a long pedigree in this genre of games, manage to break the mould and produce a game that contained some of the challenges present in real golf, rather than just the standard glamourous test of timing and reflexes (using the swing-o-meter) with little more challenge, that is unfortunately present in almost every other computer golf game previously made.

As you are aware, the game has been available for almost a year now , which made me think very carefully about bothering to review it, but after hearing of the FURTHER delay of Actua Golf, I decided that it was worth covering after all.


Golfing game.


Although not exactly next-generation, the graphics are fit for the purpose. Due to the fact that the game seems to use sprites rather than 3D polygons to portray this very 3D environment, EA have used shading very nicely in order to give you a pretty good idea of the landscape contours on each of the holes. When you reach the green, a contour-grid can be switched on in order to get an even better idea of how the green will play. For even more accuracy, you can move your "aiming" marker around the green and watch the height statistics change to within an inch above or below the hole. The trees look like trees, the bunkers look filled with sand, the greens look ....... well green, however the water is pretty poorly done - just a single shade of dark blue, which neither looks or behaves like water - until you hit a ball into it of course!

Before each hole commences, you can watch a flyby of the hole in which the commentator will give you a few hints on how to play the hole, although more than just a gimmick, this is a pretty jumpy affair and not up the FMV standards of games such as Total NBA/NBA Shoot-out.

The refresh rate for each of the holes is quick enough, I have seen other console versions of this game where it takes several seconds to redraw the screen after each shot taken on the fairway, not so here. The animation is restricted to that of the golfers hitting the ball and the ball moving through the sky and along fairways, greens and more usually than not, the rough. Again this area of the game looks as though it has been quickly rushed to together in order to meet deadlines. The animation looks functional but far from great. If the player succeeds in holing a long putt, he goes into a little celebration animation, which often looks as though he is having an epileptic fit!

Sounds and Effects

Unfortunately, the sound effects are very poor in this game, you periodically get a poor sample of some seagulls or some seals, which instead of increasing the atmosphere within the game, just serves to annoy you, so much so that I now put some background music on when playing this game. When on the green your caddy gives you a verbal guide to how the green will play. The sounds would be more at home coming out of the in-built speaker on a P.C, rather than the custom hardware within the PSX. It is pretty obvious almost immediately, that EA have quickly converted the PC version of this game for our beloved system with no real enhancements. Although we may be able to forgive them this time (due to age of this title), they will have no excuse for PGA97!

The music is again very ordinary and is also switched off immediately.


So it can be seen that this game is pretty much a lemon in the sound an vision department, but lets face it, these games have never been about graphics, if they were then there wouldn't be as many electronic pocket golf games as are currently available. No, golf is about pitting your wits against everything that nature and the course designer can hit you with, during the eighteen holes that will face you on each of the two available courses. Spyglass Hill and River Highlands are available for you to play. Many have criticized EA for only including two courses on a C.D that probably could have held ten, but personally I have found enough challenge in the two available, to make me want to play them over and over again. You can practice on any of the holes in order to get the hang of the game before venturing into a game of either:
Stroke Play (up to 4 players) [9 or 18 holes]
Tournament (up to 4 players and 56 computer controlled opponents) [18, 36, 72 holes, with a cut after 36 holes]
Skins (2-4 players) [9-18 Holes, each played for money]
Shoot-out (4 players) [1 player is knocked out on each hole]
Each of the holes can be played from either the: Red, White, Blue or Black tees, each is further from the hole than the previous and will force you to play the same hole with completely different tactics and clubs.

You may select any 14 clubs to take with you on your game and choose to play as one of the many professionals available, or create your own male or female golfer. As you begin your career your shot by shot statistics are continually updated and information such as your longest drive so far, average put rate and more are available to view at any time. This information can be saved on a memory card and reloaded each time you play the game.

In addition you can draw or fade the ball, put backspin on the ball and even top or undercut the ball (accidently or on purpose!). The wind can be set at various levels which greatly improves the playability of the game and will fool amateur and computerised professional golfers alike.
The method used for hitting a fairway shot has been excellently done. It is very easy to hit a long ranged shot when using novice skill mode, but try a big hit on professional skill rating and you will have to practice for some time before being able to produce even average shots, the reward for you effort is quite simply that the long shots will go about 25 percent further when on pro-setting.

All pretty positive stuff so far on the playability side except for one aspect..... putting. Everything is great bar three things:
1: Putts will consistently run straight through the hole if hit perfectly through the middle of the hole, but the same shot if aimed slightly right of the hole will go in, this is both stupid and very annoying
2: The pointer that is used to aim your put is so large that it often makes it difficult to see the hole.
3: Other players ball markers can often be mistaken for the hole.

Value for Money

The sound is very poor. The graphics are average. Real skill is need to play the game. Only two courses to play. Apart from a few minor niggles, this game PLAYS very well and seeing as you can pick it up cheaply these days, it is very good value for money.





Due to length of each game I have only played three games this week, each lasting over 4 hours. Up to 4 Human players can play together which is great fun, but takes absolutely ages to play 18 holes. We still get together and play a round about once every two weeks. I don't think that we will ever become addicted to this game, but it is a fantastically relaxing alternative to playing some of the more stressful games and because of this I think we will be occasionally playing this for many months.











Bearing in mind that you should be able to pick this game up for a few dollars due to its age, I would recommend this as the ideal introduction to playing golf on the PlayStation.








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