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CustomPlay Golf 2010  (PC) artwork

CustomPlay Golf 2010 (PC) review

"Itís by no means perfect, but by catering to the ground planners at home and making their efforts freely available, it offers something commendable and, perhaps more importantly, recommendable."

Since the dawn of gaming (or the 16bit days, anyway) EA have held an unbreakable stranglehold on the videogame world of golf. Thereís been a fluttering of other attempts over the years, be them serious sim or exaggerated cartoon-like characters of the sport, but itís EA who have belted out a golf game a year since 1991. Though itís popular to pan EA for their stranglehold on many franchises, the simple fact of the matter is that they sit atop because they continue to churn out the best sports games.

CustomPlay isnít the title thatís going to change that. But it does offer itself up as a very worthwhile counterpart.

There are a few problems to be overcome first, though. Golf is a game about precision over power, which makes the titleís swing method particularly problematic. The initial method is based around a swipe of the mouse, which has its own set of pros and cons. Left to right controls the swing, but add a bit of diagonal action into it either way, and you gain control of draw and fade on your shot. The big downer here is how hard it is to gage the power of your shot this way, unless you want to hit the ball full pelt. Itís hard to measure to trickier shots, the ones that need something between a half and full swing this way, and a lot of these shots come down to total guesswork.

Perhaps predicting difficulty, a secondary swing option is available in either a two or three click format that will appease the people still clinging to the format championed by the aforementioned EA starter game in 1991. Though it feels somewhat archaic and not nearly as involving as the mouse swipe method, it works without flaw or complaint.

While the control does cause some problems, what the game revels in most is the sheer amount of courses available to you, and how faithfully theyíre implemented. Perhaps the best option available to you is the chance to design your own course and uploaded it for others to enjoy, or download the creations constructed by other players out there. The designs will range from basic to brilliant and the biggest plus here is that thereís a potentially endless supply of new courses to play on, always giving you something new to strive for. This goes a long way towards counteracting the fact that all the big name courses are locked up in EAís box of licences. This hardly seems to matter when youíre instead sampling unique grounds that can range from clever to downright sadistic.

Which really comes back to highlight the unfortunate clumsiness offered by the initial swing, especially considering the rest of the game seems to play out without much flaw. The ball reacts well off any of the given playing surfaces, rolling freely through fairways and getting bogged down in the longer stuff. Sand plugs balls deep and water traps issue mocking splashes and bring forth a string of curses. Itís by no means perfect, but by catering to the ground planners at home and making their efforts freely available, it offers something commendable and, perhaps more importantly, recommendable.


EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (October 20, 2009)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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