The Golf Activity in Grand Theft Auto V Is Pretty Awesome
Grand Theft Auto V is known for being violent and over-the-top, but there are moments when all the violence disappears. One of those moments is while playing golf at the Los Santos Golf Club, and it is a nice way to get away from it all. They actually don't allow violence on the golf course, which gives a nice break from the mainstream game.
Rockstar Games did a great job when they developed the golf mini game and it's actually a legitimate golf game in its own right. I compare the golf in Grand Theft Auto V to that of an older Tiger Woods PGA Tour golf game, and that is a compliment. The Tiger Woods PGA Tour games have been good over the years and the golf in Grand Theft Auto V is only a mini game.
The big question with a golf mini game is going to be: how is the gameplay, being that it is not a major gameplay element? I was a little skeptical about Grand Theft Auto V having golf as an activity because sometimes mini games can feel like they are "fillers". However, Rockstar Games developed solid controls that react well to player input and make you feel in control.
Pulling back on the left stick will start the swing and from there it is just simple timing. Push forward on the left stick when the shot is in the yellow area to achieve the best shot possible, and watch as the golf ball goes flying. Players use the right stick to control where the shot will land and that allows players to play whichever way they want.
You can also choose either a "bigger" or "smaller" club depending on where you want the ball to land, and that also helps players choose their approach. Another big help for that is that the player can zoom in to where they are aiming to see where the ball will land.
The control scheme is similar to controls of Tiger Woods PGA Tour, but are not quite as refined. They function just the way they should but they are not perfect.
One of my favorite things about playing golf in Grand Theft Auto V is that Rockstar Games brought their humor to this portion of the game as well. After a bad shot, your player will likely say something negative that might include some "unpleasant language," and I cannot help but laugh.
From working at a golf course, there are typical sayings like "I need new clubs!" or "The wind got that one!", and Rockstar Games included similar sayings in the game. So from where I work, I can relate to these sayings and it makes it all the funnier. Sometimes I hit a bad shot just to hear what the character has to say afterwards.
Also, the golf clubs make a satisfying "whack!" when you hit the ball and the sounds are similar to the Tiger Woods PGA Tour games. When the ball hits the ground, it makes the same earthly "punch" sound that it does in real-life, and helps the game feel authentic. Overall, the sound is everything that it should be for a golf game with added humor from Rockstar Games.
The graphics of Grand Theft Auto V already look great and the golf side gets the same beautiful detail. The course looks great and was designed really well being that the golf portion is only a side activity. Golf course features include anything from the various trees on the course as well as a couple of lakes that look really life-like.
Seriously, for a minigame...this looks really good!
Another portion of the golf mini game that shows that Rockstar Games really took their time to develop it right versus rushing it just to have it in the game. In all, there is nothing to complain about with how the game looks in this section.
The golf activity in Grand Theft Auto V is very good and is a fun way to spend time while roaming Los Santos. The only problem I have with it is that it does not feel like your character gets any better as you play. In Tiger Woods PGA Tour, your character will increase in skill the more you play, and it is rewarding to watch as your character continues to get better.
While I play golf in Grand Theft Auto V, the feeling of getting better just does not seem to ever kick in. Playing as Michael, I feel like he is already good at golf and my input doesn't really affect him all that much. Another problem with this is that you will always be playing the same way because your character's stats never change.
Another lesser gripe I have is with the Los Santos Golf Club itself. The course only features nine holes and you will always play those same holes again and again, and it's going to get old. The golf mini game is a good bit of fun while it lasts.
To end on a bright note, Grand Theft Auto Online will feature golf that you can play with your friends and that might help re-ignite the spark that the golf offers. To be able to play with a group of friends should help make the golf more fun, and is something I look forward to trying out when Grand Theft Auto Online releases on October 1, 2013.