Xbox Review - Outlaw Golf

by The Cookie Snatcher on Oct. 1, 2002 @ 10:31 p.m. PDT

'Outlaw Golf' will take golf fans through realistic and challenging simulations allowing players to spin, hook, slice and break with dexterity as they compete in tournaments, exhibitions and even play for money against outlaws and social outcasts including Doc Digler and Killer Miller, a 'released on a technicality' death row inmate. An original concept for a Golf game and it sounds like fun. But WAS it fun? Read more and find out!

Genre: Sports
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Interactive
Developer: Hypnotix
Release Date: 8/2002

Golfing games have come in all sorts of shapes and sizes over the past few years but none have come close to matching the outrageous gimmicks found in Outlaw Golf. Simon & Schuster Interactive, widely known for publishing the almost instantly-banned PC game Panty Raider, really pulled out all the stops on this one. Be prepared to watch well-endowed golfers spank their equally proportionate caddie into submission while the most sarcastic and downright insulting commentator ever to grace a golf game calls the play-by-play shots. But even without its many attention-grabbing stunts that have nothing to actually do with the sport Outlaw Golf would still be a respectable golfing simulation that could stand on its own merits, and that is what ultimately makes this game a worthy competitor to other well-known golfing games like Hot Shots 3 and the Tiger Woods games.

The game features three unique 18-hole courses and a pant-load of different interesting game modes that successfully extend the lasting-appeal of Outlaw Golf considerably. Not all modes will be immediately available, of course. Instead, you’ll need to compete in various challenges to unlock all the goodies that the game has to offer. The game modes are as follows;

  • Stroke: Traditional-style golf, lowest score wins.
  • Match: The player with the most rounds won is the victor.
  • Skins: You’ll be able to compete for cash with up to four players.
  • Best Ball and Scramble: Both modes are similar, you can play on teams with the lowest scoring player representing their respective team.
  • My One and Only: In this mode you must choose only one club and putter that you will be able to use, stroke rules apply.
  • Casino: This is perhaps the most unique mode in the game. It allows players to make wagers on a shot-by-shot basis with the option to stay in or drop out if the stakes get too high. The player with the most moolah at the end of the game wins.
  • Time Attack: The winner is determined by who finishes the course first, regardless of how many strokes it takes.
  • Tour Mode: This is where you’ll be able to compete in events to unlock new characters, clubs, and balls.
  • Outlaw Range: Complete a slew of mini-game-style events which include surprisingly entertaining objectives that will allow you to upgrade your character’s statistics upon completion.

Fans of the recent Tiger Woods golf games will appreciate Outlaw Golf’s control-dynamics. The way it works is you pull back on the R-analog stick to charge up your swing, when the swing-meter is set with the desired power you need to quickly press up on the R-analog stick to hit the ball. Most newer golf games seem to be using this same formula, the double-click swing method may have been a bit more easy to understand but you’ll quickly become accustomed to the analog control-scheme after playing a couple courses.

The most entertaining innovation in Outlaw Golf comes in the form of the “composure meter”. Performing well will gradually raise your level of composure, thus raising your chances of hitting a precision shot. But, hit one ball into the rough and every bit of composure that you worked so hard to get will be taken away in one fell-swoop. The best way to regain composure is to use a precious ‘beating token’ which allows you to vent your frustration by kicking the crap out of your caddie. The way the combat-system in Outlaw Golf works (I never thought I’d use the words ‘combat-system’ and ‘golf’ in the same sentence) is you push the A button when the on-screen indicator prompts you to do so, each time you hit the A button in sync with the indicator you will perform a unique assault. You can get in a total of five brutal attacks off on your caddie before it’s back to the greens, the more hits you land the more composure you’ll regain.

Visually, Outlaw Golf looks really good, though not to the point where it substantially taxes the Xbox’s powerful hardware. Character models are all rendered with lots of attention to detail and the various outfits that can be chosen at the character select screen are great. The actual courses all look very authentic featuring ambient details like flocks of birds flying overhead, various structures that you need to watch out for and buildings in the distance.

The audio offerings are particularly enjoyable, the voice acting is top-notch and every character sounds perfectly suited to their respective personalities. The things that come out of these golfer’s mouths will make you stare blankly at the screen wondering if what you just heard really happened. The announcer, Steve Carell, is chock full of entertaining comments that will follow (or precede in the case of putting) each shot and when playing with two or more human opponents it is a particularly useful function since he can be so demeaning and harsh that you won’t even feel the need to do any trash-talking.

Outlaw Golf manages to be both a realistically entertaining golf game in terms of physics and an off-beat quirky experience that is rarely seen in games these days, let alone golf games. The various characters that you can control are wildly original and the unlockable goodies are definitely worth the effort it takes to get’em. If you are looking for an easy-to-play and amusing golf experience on the Xbox than Outlaw Golf is the way to go.

Score: 7.7/10

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