- Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4 (Reviewed)
- Developer: HB Studios
- Publisher: Maximum Games
- Release Date: June 27th, 2017
In a sporting genre that was dominated by Tiger Woods and the EA PGA Tour games for so long, HB Studios’ The Golf Club broke onto the scene back in 2014, delivering a worthy challenger featuring a more realistic approach to its gameplay and a deep course creator mode. The TGC series is back again with The Golf Club 2, doubling down on its realism, and adding several key features that were missing from the first game. The Golf Club 2 also brings new community-based aspects, much needed customization, and revised swing mechanics that are sure to please fans of the first game.
One thing that clearly was lacking in the first TGC game was golfer customization. This has been greatly improved in the sequel in quite a few different ways. TGC players can now completely customize their golfer’s appearance, changing several different facial features using sliders and color modifications. It’s not the most advanced character customization menu you’d come across, missing a few different key features such as modifying your golfer’s body type, and default hair colors as opposed to adjusting hair color using a pallet. Your golfer’s apparel is also completely customizable, ranging from traditional golf attire to bold and outrageous wardrobe choices. This apparel can be purchased as you play through the game and collect cash. Players’ golfers can now have some personality rather than being a bland John or Jane Doe that are a dime a dozen out on the TGC courses.
Your golf bag can also now be modified, so you can swap out irons, wedges, hybrids, and woods to completely tailor to how you play. For veterans of The Golf Club, there are now three different club sets to choose from: Standard, Player, and Tour. These three club sets are essentially three different difficulties, and are ultimately a risk and reward situation. If you choose Player or Tour as opposed to standard your distance will increase, but the forgiveness on swing mistakes drastically decreases.
Before we talk about The Golf Club 2‘s biggest new feature, let’s talk about the improvements made to the last game’s biggest feature: the Course Designer. Creators can now choose from twelve different course themes, which is more than double than the first game, including Tropical, Winter, Rustic, Swiss, and Highlands. The designer has gotten so in-depth wildlife can now be placed throughout your course. Want a crocodile on the pond near the 16th green? It can be done. Wildlife ranging as big as a moose all the way down to as small as a butterfly can be scattered throughout your course. The course modifications mechanics have also received a facelift, but still aren’t as user-friendly and intuitive as they could be. It takes quite a bit of time to get a handle on how the sculpting and manipulating the land works, and come out with a finished product worthy of sharing with the TGC community. The load times when initially creating a course can also be a bit of a pain, but players who loved the course designer in the first game will likely continue to sink hundreds of hours into The Golf Club 2‘s expanded options.
HB Studios clearly understood what a large community they had built with the first TGC game, and they definitely took that into account when creating its biggest feature in The Golf Club 2. The Societies feature is the ultimate social game mode, as you and your fellow golfers build not only a clubhouse from the ground up, but a community as well. When creating a society you can set membership requirements, enforce a handicap, and even charge a membership fee. You can use that money to upgrade your society, unlocking bigger and better clubhouses, and the ability to add more events to a season. If you don’t feel like creating a society of your own there are also TGC official societies you can join based on your handicap, which have a season schedule packed with upcoming events to play. If offline gameplay is more your thing, The Golf Club 2‘s career mode plays much the same as societies, with players creating seasons and events of their own, or choosing from a preset template.
The Golf Club 2‘s swing mechanics have also received an overhaul, making each shot more realistic based on swing feedback. Now not only does the game take into account how straight your swing is, it also factors in swing tempo as well. The speed of your backswing and downswing will affect the results of your shot, and the criteria of a good shot shrinks if you choose the higher club sets previously mentioned. The golfers in The Golf Club 2 also feel much less robotic, reacting to their swings and putts with excitement or frustration. They’ll give a little fist pump for a long birdie putt, or slump over in disgust after missing a gimme.
The Golf Club 2 is visually superior to the first, but not by a massive margin. The scenic backdrops of mountains, forests, and desert look more lifelike, although some of the close-up textures can look a little rough at times. There are also moments, specifically the aerial overview of the hole prior to teeing up that experience framerate bogs and occasionally choppy transitions. In terms of sound, John McCarthy has returned to deliver a cool, calm commentary to your golfing experience once again, doing a fine job.
Overall The Golf Club 2 delivers the much anticipated sequel that the community wanted. With a large focus on building up the social aspects of the game, as well as adding the character customization that the series sorely needed, The Golf Club 2 improves leaps and bounds over its predecessor despite some minor bumps along the way. Whether you’re a TGC veteran looking to challenge yourself among the best in Societies, a course designer junkie looking to create their next masterpiece country club, or a newbie looking to try out the golf sim for the first time, The Golf Club 2 has something for everyone to enjoy.
A Playstation 4 review code for The Golf Club 2 was provided by Maximum Games