We Love Golf Wii
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Camelot Software Planning
Release Date: Out Now
If you're going to publish a new arcade golf game what better developers could you ask for than Camelot Software Planning? For over ten years Camelot has been developing some very enjoyable arcade golf games. They developed the original Hot Shots (known as Everybody's Golf here in the UK) and they've been responsible for the Mario Golf games on the Nintendo 64, Game Boy Advance and the GameCube. In short there's no better developer when it comes to arcade golf games. Given their pedigree, the expectations for We Love Golf are high. It's a little disappointing then that We Love Golf doesn't quite hit the spot.
The game has a lot of similarities with the many arcade golf games that have gone before. You'll recognise the bright colour palette, the bobble-headed characters with the big cutesy eyes etc. You'll see the words 'Nice On!!' and 'Nice Shot!!' when you do good shots and you'll even see the same animations time and time again when the characters have won or lost a hole. Even the game modes feel very familiar. The Tournament mode allows you to play a variety of tournaments against AI opposition. Winning a tournament will unlock additional courses for you to play on, so it's worth taking time to play through the various tournaments. Character Match mode allows a one-on-one match against an AI opponent. Of course the main reason for playing the Character Match mode is unlocking additional characters and you can even unlock the ability to play as your Mii character. Other traditional golfing modes include Strokes (1-4 players), Match Play (2 players) and Skins (2-4 players). You can also play a game of golf online. Essentially you'll play a nine-hole game on a randomly selected course. You can either play a Beginner or Master rules game with the differences between the two being that in the Master rules you only have the shot guideline for the first shot and the tee is always set to the back of the green.
Of course it wouldn't be an arcade golf game without a few out of the ordinary game modes. You can play Near Pin Contests which involves you getting nearest to the pin with a single shot. Ring Shot requires that you shoot the ball through coloured rings in addition to finishing the hole with a par or better. In Target Golf you take a single shot and have to make the ball finish up inside the target zone. There are various shot types that you can take such as tee shots, second shot, approach and putt. The idea is to achieve a certain score from 10 shots and once you achieve the score, you will unlock a more demanding challenge for your chosen shot type.
So in terms of modes the game is pretty much what we would expect from an arcade golf experience but what really makes a golf game stand or fall is its control scheme and whilst the control scheme in We Love Golf works well, it's not as intuitive as you might have hoped for. To swing you'll simply point the remote toward the ground, hold down the A button, bring the remote back until the Wii remote cursor reaches the target marker, wait for the club head cursor to reach the target marker and then complete the downswing until the Wii remote cursor reaches the impact zone (the downswing should be a single smooth action). This may seem like a lot to remember but in practice it's not too bad but it doesn't feel intuitive and having to wait for onscreen cursors to align before you complete the swing feels very artificial.
Aside from the controls not feeling as intuitive as they could have, the only other disappointment comes with the lack of challenge that the single-player game poses. Playing through the Tournament mode is extraordinarily easy. You expect the early matches to put up next to no challenge but you would think the AI would begin to provide a serious challenge as you progress through the different tournaments. Most arcade golf games start you off gently but then steadily increase in difficulty so that after a few hours you have to take care and be on your game. We Love Golf does slightly increase in difficulty but it never really feels like it's testing you. At no point does it feel like it's about to put up a fierce challenge and whilst some will see that as a positive thing it does make you question the long term appeal of the single-player game if every match you play against, the AI is comfortable.
We Love Golf won't give deaf gamers any problems. As in most arcade golf games, there is no commentary. All of the tutorial information is shown in text or through other visual means. All of the various challenge objectives are shown in text. Comments made by the characters when you select them, prior to beginning a game, are not subtitled. Likewise any comments that the characters may make during the course of a match, including those made when a hole has been won or lost, are not subtitled. Occasionally there are some comments given through the Wii remote speaker which deaf gamers will be oblivious to. None of these omissions will cause any problems, although it would have been nice to see some subtitles.
Most thought the Wii would be the perfect console to have for playing golf games but as yet there hasn't been a golf game that's really hit the spot. We Love Golf is certainly a good game, arguably one of the better golf games on the console, but it's just not as good as it could have been. The overall ease of the single-player game is ultimately disappointing and whilst the controls work well, they certainly don't feel as intuitive as they should do. Those niggles aside however, We Love Golf is an enjoyable arcade golf experience, especially when played as a multiplayer game and I would love to see a sequel that builds upon what's here.