The Golf Club E3 Impressions
Ryan Bloom / Jul 8th, 2014 No Comments
Amid the massive spaces for triple-A games and rows of indie titles at E3 2014, an inconspicuous sports title drew little attention but had a great showing. The Golf Club is currently available for PC as part of Steam’s Early Access Program, but a pre-release build for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One was playable on the show floor. While it didn’t generate the buzz of E3’s more popular titles, The Golf Club showed why it is an important game.
It is easy to disregard The Golf Club as a simple Tiger Woods replacement while EA’s golf franchise is on hiatus to undergo a massive overhaul. However, it aims to be much more. In fact, developers at HB Studios worked with EA Tiburon during the development of past PGA games. The development team is taking a more accessible, social approach with The Golf Club.
Playing a simulated round of golf can be a daunting task, especially if you are trying to play with friends online. The Golf Club streamlines that experience with a Drivatar-like simulation system. Players can quickly jump in and out of online play, but that doesn’t mean the game will end. While one player finishes up a round, another can come back and finish against a ghost version of that player any time. The single player experience and online play are seamlessly tied together with no matchmaking or loading times.
However, the game goes much deeper than simply playing against friends. Players are encouraged to dive into a course creator that can be complex or simple, depending on how players use it. While creating courses, players can choose to let a smart A.I. do most of the work or go deep into the creator, editing settings, hole placement, and every little detail.
Golf by Feel
While the game’s social aspects could change sports games going forward, The Golf Club’s biggest innovation may be the controls. There are no meters to perfect or complicated systems to learn. Developers wanted to make sure the game focused on what matters most: golf.
Past golf games have felt like a video game that could be perfected by repetition. The Golf Club is a true golf sim that doesn’t require video game skills to play. Controls are based on feel, so golfers will feel right at home. Players swing by flicking the stick up and down, controlling power based on their swing. This takes some getting used to but after a few holes, gamers will find it works well.
The course creator was built for a controller, so players who want to dive head first into creating courses will not have an issue. Customization options are deep but menus are intuitive and easy to navigate.
With no other golf sim hitting the market this year, The Golf Club is in a good position to succeed. The Golf Club is shaping up to be much more than an EA Sports PGA Tour replacement. It’s the game’s concepts that should be successful. The social elements of the game could be integrated into other sports titles moving forward.
The Golf Club is expected to be available as a downloadable title for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 soon (we played the Xbox One version at E3 2014). No official release date has been announced, but developers are clearing a few final hurdles before the game’s launch.
tags: E3 2014 , HB Studios , preview , the golf club , The Golf Club preview