Outlaw Golf 2
Developer: Hypnotix
Publisher: Take Two
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1-4, Net Play
Words By:

Golf is a unique sport. It delights and frustrates in equal measure. It requires the patience of a saint but is rewarding to those who persevere.

Playing Outlaw Golf 2 on the PS2 reminds me a lot of the times I used to trudge around the local public course trying to keep my blood pressure down and resisting the urge to snap my clubs like twigs.

OG2 plays a great game of golf, and in many ways that’s the most important thing to remember. However, due to the limitations of the PS2 hardware it’s a game of golf that’s littered with little niggles and frustrations that will test your patience more than the real thing.

Loading up the game for the first time, you’re greeted with the standard menu screen and obligatory ‘RAWK’ soundtrack. You can take your pick from ‘instant action’ single player games or career modes that let you improve your players stats as you progress against increasingly more difficult opponents.

The choice of character available is varied and can best be described as American Chavs. From bikini-clad bimbos to bikers and baseball cap wearing thugs, all come complete with winning and losing poses and cheesy dialogue that somehow fit the atmosphere of the game. The courses are also a varied bunch, from autumnal to industrial.

Graphically, the game is solid if not spectacular. Character animation is a highlight (especially the bimbos) and the courses are cleanly defined with a cartoon-feel that sets it apart from the likes of Tiger Woods.

Outlaw Gold 2 employs a control method that’s similar to Tiger Woods. By using the analogue stick you control the swing of the club, giving a feeling of satisfaction when you connect properly. Spin and curve is also possible and becomes obligatory as you progress to the latter courses. Whilst the control method is an improvement over the ‘three button press’ system, it doesn’t feel as intuitive as Tiger Woods. There were occasions where I didn’t feel completely in control of where the ball would land and this leads to frustration.

Similarly, due to the layout and obstacles on some of the courses, it becomes impossible to reach the fairway or green with your next shot. While this is understandable if you’ve sliced your shot into the bushes or sand-trap, being unable to reach the green because some course designer saw fit to place a raised freeway across the fairway seems unfair.

Where the game really lets itself down is on the loading times – they’re roughly four or five times longer than the Xbox version that has several of our staff addicted. Waiting for my chosen course to load up I was tempted to go and make a cup of tea. I was then horrified to see that I had to wait for individual holes to load up. This not only ruins the pace of the game, but prevents you from dipping in and out for a quick round.

Then I remembered the game gives you the opportunity to take out your frustrations by beating the living daylights out of your caddy. A feature retained from the first Outlaw Golf. The game’s saving grace then, the developers nod to poor suffering PS2 owners who have reluctantly grown used to waiting for their gaming fix? - Not a chance, I had to wait 60 seconds for that to load too…

Surely one of the benefits of videogame golf is that it should remove the frustrations of the real sport, not highlight its more annoying aspects (unfair course design, slow play etc). Playing Outlaw Golf 2 for any length of time will leave you both entertained and frustrated. There’s a great game in there with a wealth of modes and network play supported, but at times it would test the patience of a Buddhist monk. So although the game has been designed to be a caricature of the sport, it unwittingly comes across as a pretty accurate simulation. And for once this isn’t something that should be applauded.

Best Bits

- Fun characters.
- Varied courses.
- Good control system.
Worst Bits

- Frustrating loading times.
- Some course design issues.

by: Blakey

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