With three of the five games available for Wii Sports Club, Nintendo has finally started to make some serious changes to the original games with the release of Wii Sports Club Golf. The two previous games, Bowling and Tennis, were minor upgrades to the classics, but with the release of Golf, they have started to show how the Wii U can alter traditional games in interesting ways. Does this third release stand out as the final answer to “should I buy the Wii Sports Club games?,” or does it still end up as a mixed bag of overpriced DLC?
By now you know the drill. Wii Sports Club Golf adds Wii Motion Plus support, HD visuals, and online play to the classic game from the original Wii Sports game. The visual upgrade is particularly poor with this release, since the lush visuals of a golf course are absent thanks to the use of some very low-res textures. It’s still better than simply playing an up-rezzed copy of the original, but more could have been done to make this release worth the price. The online play works well enough, especially for a Nintendo game. Wii Motion Plus seems like a great addition, and it was when it was introduced to Wii Sports Resort, but here it feels like much of the game has been made unnecessarily difficult. When driving the ball, I ended up taking multiple practice swings just to get the right angle and power levels, but once I went to actually swing I ended up in the woods due to the game arbitrarily deciding that I had the wrong angle. There might be some trick that I am missing, but either way it takes a bit of the fun out of the experience.
What makes this release stand out amongst its Wii Sports Club brethren is the addition of Gamepad features. Bowling and Golf didn’t use the Gamepad at all, so having it in this release is great. By placing the Gamepad on the ground, you get a look at the lie of your ball, and are able to hold a more natural stance while swinging the club. Keeping my eye on the ball has always been my greatest downfall when playing real golf, so experiencing the same thing in this game made for some fun moments.
Nine new holes, based on the classic NES game Golf, have been added, and you are able to load up the classic holes as well. The courses from Wii Sports Resort are suspiciously absent however, and it makes this release feel less like the definitive version and more like a fun diversion. It feels like all of the releases for Wii Sports Club are ignoring the very existence of Wii Sports Resort, and they are suffering for it.
Thankfully, the three added training mini-games are especially nice in Wii Sports Club Golf. Pro Putter, Chip-in Bingo, and Driver Challenge all play off of different aspects to the game of golf, and all three are really interesting ways to test your skills by yourself or with a few friends. This was the first of the three games where I didn’t yearn to play the original training mini-games along with the newer ones.
Just like the last two games, Wii Sports Club Golf struggles to justify its $9.99 price tag, though nine new courses, three great mini-games, and actual use of the Wii U Gamepad do make it the most robust of the three releases so far. Whether it is worth it or not really comes down to how much you enjoyed Golf on the previous games and how much weight you give to online play.