There's no question that the Tiger Woods series is the king of video game golf, but that hasn't stopped other developers from trying to get their piece of the pie. While there's always room for more good golf games, ProStroke Golf - World Tour 2007 from Gusto Games doesn't fit the bill. The core gameplay isn't bad, and for the most part, the swing mechanics work just fine. However, the lack of distinguishing features, subpar graphics, and paltry list of licensed pros make ProStroke Golf an underwhelming effort.
A generic golfer on a generic course in a generic game.
If a feature-rich golf experience is what you seek, ProStroke Golf is not what you're looking for. You can go through the inadequate training mode, play a quick round, enter a tournament, or start a career. ProStroke Golf is a strictly offline experience. Up to four players can play against each other on one system in an exhibition, but you aren't able to play together in the career mode. In many games, career mode offers the most depth and replay value, but that's not the case in ProStroke Golf. Embarking on a career is extremely basic, consisting of a calendar of fictitious one-day tournaments and little else. Hidden away are challenge events that can be accessed only by selecting an open date on the tour schedule. These challenges consist of shorter events or one-on-one matches and are often more enjoyable than the full tournaments, so it's curious that the game doesn't do a better job of pointing them out. Money can't be spent to upgrade equipment or buy new outfits, so you'll find yourself pursuing "renown points," which are earned for winning tournaments and accomplishing feats such as hitting a green in regulation or driving the ball 280 yards. These points improve your golfer's abilities, though you never actually see any stats reflecting the changes. Renown points also unlock higher-profile events, though these events are largely the same as those that you started off playing, differing only in the number of entrants, size of the purse, and score of the winner.
ProStroke Golf has eight licensed professional golfers--Sergio Garcia, Mark O'Meara, Justin Rose, Ben Curtis, Thomas Bjorn, Colin Montgomerie, Ian Woosnam, and Zhang Lian-Wei--only a few of which the casual fan will recognize. The number of real-world courses in the game is even less impressive, numbering in at just two: The Brabazon and Sergio Garcia's home course, Lake Nona. There are 16 fantasy courses, and though they do offer up a good challenge, they aren't particularly interesting. It would have been better if the developer took advantage of creating a course from the ground up by taking some risks with the fictional courses.
On the course, ProStroke finds a good balance between being challenging and fun. Since the scores are realistic, you'll never shoot in the 50's as you can in Tiger Woods or Hot Shots, but the game never feels unfair. In fact, the realistic scoring makes salvaging par after an errant tee shot as rewarding as getting a birdie in other games. Despite being touted as an innovative feature, ProStroke's swing mechanic is little more than Tiger Woods' system turned sideways. Instead of moving the right analog stick down and then up to swing, you have to move it right and then left. Moving the left analog stick in synch with the right is designed to replicate moving your body weight while swinging to generate more power. Using the left analog stick adds at most 10 percent to your distance, but it also increases the likelihood of hooking or slicing the ball. Should you wish to add a slice or hook to your shot, doing so is as easy as shifting the position of your front foot, via a quick press up or down on the D pad. This occasionally comes in handy when you need to get around some trees on a hole that doglegs left or right.
You can design your own course, but it's very time consuming.