It’s not easy putting green.
A hush falls over the crowd, as they stand patiently around the edges of the green. Even the wind holds its breath as you approach what could be the last shot of the tournament. Casually, you select a putter and begin lining up your shot. Complex mathematical formulas run through your head as you calculate the effect of slope, force, and terrain speed. Satisfied with your conclusions, you step up to the ball and take a few practice putts, making sure the angle of your swing is precise. Before hitting the ball you pause, letting out all your breath.
[image1]To sink this putt would mean a first-place finish. Miss, and it’s all over. Closing your eyes for a moment, you lift the putter and swing forward. It connects with the ball, which traces a neat little arc across the green towards the cup. As it approaches, it slows and edges just slightly right of its target. The audience, unable to stay silent any longer, lets out a communal cry. Then at the last possible moment, the ball turns and tips into the cup for a birdie. The crowd lets out a quick gasp and laughter and cheer. You’ve done it! You’ve won the U.S. Open! You’ve…
I’m sorry. I got a little carried away. Can I help it if I fantasize being Tiger Woods? Hey, we all do it from time to time, right? Right?
Well, whether or not you secretly harbor dreams of being the next Michelle Wie, Super Swing Golf 2 can satisfy your cravings for eighteen holes every Sunday, without leaving the comfort of your own living room. The game takes place on Pangya Island, a kind of other-dimensional resort where the only activity is golf. There is some backstory about how all the various characters ended up on Pangya Island – during the somewhat too frequent loading screens, you can read snippets of these character histories. But really, who cares. It’s all just an excuse to play through the various courses and challenges against tougher and tougher opponents, scoring precious ‘pang’ along the way – the local currency that will allow you to get better gear.
Super Swing Golf Season 2 gives you a variety of ways to get your nine-iron on. If you’re putting solo, you can choose Vs. Mode, where you complete a nine-hole course against seven computer opponents. Mercifully, you don’t have to watch all of your competitors play, but can compare your scores at the end of each round. If you’re looking for something with a little more drama to it, you can try Game Mode, where you need complete a series of challenges and mini-games to unlock the final level of each round and defeat the boss. Both games offer plenty of ball-thwacking action, pang to be won, and unique gear. If you’re swinging with a buddy or two, you can head to the multi-player section of the game. Unfortunately, there is no online mode, so you’ll actually have to make some real friends if you want some live competition.
[image2]One nice feature of the game is the customization that’s available for your character. There is a limited number of characters to choose from, but with a closet full of different clothes and accessories, you can easily create an avatar to match your style. Cool shoes aren’t just about looking good on the course, however, as the gear you wear gives you stat bonuses in power, control, or spin. Though as always, creating a character with blue spiky hair, swimtrunks, and penny loafers can give you the self-confidence you need to outweigh any +2 modifiers you might be giving up with.
Likewise, you can choose one of many different caddies to accompany you on your journey down the fairway. Like the clothing, different caddies provide different status boosts, but they ultimately don’t affect gameplay that much. So really it’s just a matter of personal taste if you’d rather start every shot confronted with an animated bouncing paper sack, or a stoned-out witch who tells you to “hit it with everything you’ve got” in a voice so entirely devoid of emotion that she sounds ready to plop down into the sandtrap for a quick nap. Your choice.
Super Swing Golf Season 2 truly takes advantage of the Wii-mote’s capabilities to give you the sense of being out there on the fairway. You really have to swing that controller like a nine iron, and if you twist your wrist or don’t follow through, you’ll slice the ball and end up way into the rough. Much like its real-life counterpart, the game can be club-throwingly frustrating at times. But with repetition and patience, you will eventually be able to get the perfect “pangya” shot every time and hear the incredibly satisfying thwack sound the controller emits when you nail that perfect shot.
[image3]Or, if you can’t be bothered, you can always use the unadvertised set of “lucky clubs” you’ll find in the clubhouse, which turn every shot, no matter how poorly hit, into a perfect drive. Don’t get too reliant on them, though, as they lack the power you’ll need to make it through the more difficult courses. The gameplay itself is smooth and mellow, as you would expect from the most genteel of sports. One minor pet peeve is that once you hit the ball, you have no control over the camera angle, which means that you’ll frequently look at is non-descript swaths of green with no way of telling where you are on the course.
If you’re a die-hard fan of easy listening muzak, then you’ll absolutely adore the tune selection here. Featuring a cloying lite-rock medley, the soundtrack seems like it could have been played by the wedding band at your aunt Patricia’s reception. On a cruise ship. Off the Florida Coast. In 1962. Yes, it’s that bad. Of course, the unholy power of this kind of music is its ability to have you find yourself unconsciously singing along with it. Oh, the horror.
Aside from the constant elevator music, Super Swing Golf Season 2 is a solid golf game with a lot of replay value. Even if you don’t dream of winning the PGA Tour, you’re still liable to have a good time cutting up the back nine.