With EA seemingly having a stranglehold on the golf genre, thanks to the mighty Tiger Woods franchise, you'd have to either be on to something great, or offer a suitable budget alternative to be in with a chance. 505 Gamestreet's Eagle Eye Golf certainly seems to fall into the second category, but its budget stylings don't actually come at much of a budget price.
Anyone who can't play a golf game without the trappings of real golf pros, licensed courses and official golfing gear should look away now. This is fictional stuff through and through, but that does ensure that you won't be playing any courses you've seen elsewhere. It also means that the courses and players are a little more diverse than usual, making Eagle Eye Golf more Everybody's Golf than Tiger Woods in terms of presentation.
Your swing uses the now obligatory right analogue stick control method, with the pull back controlling power and the push forward controlling the swing's quality. If you veer off slightly your shot will hook or slice, or scuff along the ground. Rather than simply judge the shot on the length of your back swing, a power meter increases as you swing, and a handy flag symbol shows you how much power you need to reach the hole.
Unlike the Tiger Woods games, which feature adjustable shot spin and the much maligned Gamebreaker mode, all you can do in Eagle Eye Golf is add top spin or back spin, play a fade or a draw, and chose between a normal stroke and a punch shot. This actually makes the game exceedingly simple to get into, but to continuously play well you'll need to focus on every shot.
'Eagle Eye Golf actually offers an awful lot for the player to do.'
Eagle Eye Golf actually offers an awful lot for the player to do. As well as the standard tournament, practice, stroke play and multiplayer modes with seven courses to play through, there's a mission mode. This collection of challenges isn't exactly awe inspiring, with little originality going in to their design, but it's something extra to work through for the lone player. You also unlock numerous items as you play the game, which can be added to your bag.
Character customisation is limited to a few pre-set outfits and body types, but rather surprisingly the game includes a course designer. It takes a little while to get the hang of, but with care and lots of patience you can have some good results. There's a limit to how much you can lay down, presumably so the game engine can handle the course, but all the tools a novice would want are included. It doesn't compete with some of the best tools available for some PC golf games, but on a console it's not bad at all.
Eagle Eye Golf is far from an ugly game, but it doesn't push the limit of the PlayStation 2 either. Player models and courses are functional, but lacking in detail, and rather than being part of a whole course, each hole is rendered on its own, so you don't get the sense of being there like you do in other titles. Audio isn't the game's strongpoint either, as players will often shout out odd little things and the background music isn't exactly fitting.
505 Gamestreet's golf title is no challenge to EA's throne, but as a simple, fun little golf game, it's not bad at all. You get a lot for your money, whether you plan to play alone or with friends, and the course creator will keep you tinkering for hours if that's your kind of thing, but priced outside of the budget range, it'll struggle to find an audience. Eagle Eye Golf has about as much style as Napoleon Dynamite, but at its core it's a very solid, albeit slightly too expensive, little game.
VideoGamer.com Score6 Score out of 10
- Course designer is an unexpected bonus
- Plenty to do
- Just outside the budget price zone
- Mediocre presentation