A good golf game is hard to find these days. Anymore, one has to go down to the bar and hope they have the latest version of Golden Tee present. Thanks to HB Studios' The Golf Club 2, however, such a trip isn't necessary.
The sequel to 2014's The Golf Club, The Golf Club 2 is realistic to a fault and features the complex and varied mechanics that bring the game to life in a way few golfing games have in the past. Between a new career mode and online options, there are plenty of things to keep players motivated and interested throughout the life of the game.
For those who are concerned that they won't be able to make it out on the fairway, The Golf Club 2 offers tutorials that do a very good job at teaching not just the basics, but also some of the more advanced parts of the game that players will be able to put to use. In a fairly short amount of time, players can get the practice needed in to allow them to get a good handle on using the controller's analog sticks for a well and accurately-hit shot. While practice does only go so far, it gives players a good base from which to start.
As far as how those fundamentals go, the game plays terrifically. The game features a temp swing system that all but forces players to swing their club in a rhythm with different clubs requiring different swings. Once the player finds a set of clubs that works well for him or herself, then things really begin to feel natural. Considering how many bad golf games there are compared to good ones, a natural feel is great.
Casual players might find the game's intricacies a bit daunting, however. Between the swing of the club, the effect of the ground slope, and whatnot, there is a lot to consider with each and every stroke.
Each golf tournament in which players participate have all of the pomp and intensity as one found in real life complete with crowd reactions to your every shot. A good performance will be met with cheers where a poor time out on the links will result in jeers and groans. Really, it's the feedback that players need to hear. All the way through play, the commentary of John McCarthy tracks your progress as if these tournaments were televised. Just keep in mind that you might not like what he has to say from time to time.
Looking beyond the golf course, The Golf Club 2's career mode and online society clubhouse are definitely worth a mention. In career mode, players can create their own seasons where the courses are hand picked and the number of rounds are customized to your preferences. When it comes to the clubhouse, things are a bit different. As players earn more points and currency throughout play, bigger and more extravagant clubhouses can be purchased. Really, it's a source of pride. It's also a case of diminishing returns as there is little to be gained through upgrading clubhouses aside from achievement hunting and whatnot. That said, if you can level up your clubhouse society to level ten, it unlocks harder A.I. opponents. So at least there's that.
When it comes down to it, The Golf Club 2 is a solid golf video game. It caters well to both veterans and the uninitiated and players should find it as no surprise if they play it religiously over the first few months of owning it. There might not be enough to keep up the intensity much beyond that, however, though the game would still be entertaining enough to pick up and play from time to time. Authenticity is as spot on as one could as for in a sports video game even it it does make the game a bit more of a challenge overall.
HB Studios set out to make The Golf Club 2 a complex and true-to-life sports video game and they succeeded. We're looking forward to what they have in store for the third game sometime in the future.
Final score: 8 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.