Your Xbox owning pal, or rather the rich Billy-no-mates from down the road, has probably been banging on about Outlaw Golf for the last year. He has, we presume, been cornering you in the fish isle of Asda, telling you about how he made Summer spank Autumn in the rough. He has told you tales of swearing, expletives and drunken behaviour and then, just as you get interested, he reveals it’s a golf game and not a new GTA wannabe. You no longer feel jealous, instead you head home to play Tiger Woods on the PS2 and listen to Metallica, or something equally shallow, noisy and annoying.
It’s not that Outlaw Golf is a bad game, in fact it’s a pretty good game, but the whole thing feels like a gimmick. It’s designed to be extreme and insulting. One of the world’s most aged and slow sports has been given the devil sign, rock ’n’ roll treatment and comes out the other end filled with baggy-trousered dudes and lesbian pole dancers. It’s fun, sure, but it’s no Tiger Woods.
The controls are decent enough, as in Tiger you use the analogue stick to judge the power and timing of the shot. But unlike Tiger, this can often feel random. Even when you know you’ve swung the stick smoothly, your character fails to connect and deliver a special shot. This is a minor gripe though, of an otherwise fun game.
Notably, the ‘mature’ style has resulted in a number of original ideas, such as a composure bar that reacts to your performance. Hit a poor shot and this will drop into the red, once down, your player will find it harder to pull off the big game winning shots. This can be remedied by really focusing and hitting a decent shot, or taking your frustrations out on the caddy in a button timing beat-’em-up section. Whatever way you choose, the idea is to reach the green in good spirits to make the putt easier.
Visually, Outlaw Golf is slick, well animated, and the courses in particular are nicely rendered. This does result in a little slow down on occasions, but generally the effect is of a solid, often flash and occasionally inventive experience. It may not be as sophisticated as Tiger Woods, but then neither is Nick Faldo, but that didn’t stop him winning a PGA Tour or two.