We’ve been struggling against the current of our desires for a long time. I don’t mean to say our desires for each other, which are nonexistent. This isn’t that post.
It may be best just to come out with it: Penny Arcade is now Bogey Golf. We’re finalizing the new site, which should be up next week. We want to explore what happens when a policeman goes golfing, or a zookeeper. Did you know that golf is difficult? That’s something else we want to talk about. We’ve already done thirty of them, and they’ll all be going up here, at Bogey Golf. Fore!
The Tiger Woods demo is up on both next-generational systems, and I’m wondering if they’ve finally gotten their shit together.
They’ve had a pretty good game going for many years now, so good that there was almost no reason to purchase the next one - I had a guy on my friends list that played the 2006 version for two and a half years. The jump to next-gen saw its catalogue of courses diminished substantially, the older iterations having been flush with legacy courses, but the selection has grown.
It did (or, did not do) several things that were inexplicable or simply unfortunate, but when they give you nine months to develop a game I wonder how much is actually possible. If you like a Tiger game you already own, the RPG metaphor they’ve been using for player progression means that you’re actively being punished for keeping up with the franchise. Also, while it had many styles of online play, the now ancient Links 2004 was still outthinking the EA product by virtue of its slick matchmaking and a method for managing simultaneous turns that brought sanity to a world engulfed in chaos. It was convenient, at any rate.
I don’t want to jinx it, but the changes to this year’s version are so in tune with our own desires (and, indeed, our fierce commentary) that I wonder if the changes taking place elsewhere in the company aren’t now roosting in the golf team. Reasonable, manageable multiplayer rounds that fit soundly into actual human lives, stats based on performance, and instant feedback on swings? They’ve developed it as though the franchise had an actual competitor. That might be a compliment? I don’t know.
The biggest problem the game had - aside from just raw inertia - was that the online portions were unreliable. I have tried to phrase that in the most reasonable way I can, but even now I can feel an oily black rage ascending from my gut. The 2007 version did not work correctly, and when the 2008 version came out, I said to myself “There is absolutely no way they could pull that shit again” and bought it, the way a steelhead might swallow a dancing lure. The new Photo Gameface and online matchmaking were both incredibly fucked. You can’t read a review and know if the new one is going to be better, because (and remember this) reviewers are playing the game on empty servers, with each other. Bad Company proves that they can deliver uptime when they want to. This ought to be interesting.