In the past couple of years, console golf games have taken encouraging strides in competing with their PC cousins. The latest version of Links 2003, bragging rights may once again belong to PC owners.for the PS2 for example, closes the gap considerably with beautiful graphics and realistic game play. But with the recent release of Microsoft's
Last year's Links Championship Golf was more of an expansion pack than a full-fledged upgrade to Links 2001. But this year, it's a whole new ball game. Among other things, the newest version of the best-selling golf simulator comes packed with six brand new championship courses, a 'Dynamic Camera,'? improved putting, double the resolution graphics ' including new 3D characters, a new 3D green analyzer, and of course, a 3D course architecture tool that enables you to create the course of your dreams. In addition, Links 2003 allows you to create customizable players in which to challenge a stable of pro golfers including cover boy Sergio Garcia. There's even a new Practice Mode, which allows you to practice your driving (it's about time!). And if you're new to the Links series, there's an excellent interactive tutorial that covers everything from ball drops and putting to wedge shots and power drives. Several different swing mechanisms are available, including a new real-time mouse swing. Rounding out the features is a revamped online Tour Mode that allows you to compete against players from around the globe and a new solo Career Mode that's spread over three different 12-week seasons. All this is capped off with the best damn ball physics ever' case closed!
The graphics in this year's version are jaw dropping to say the least. Photo realistic courses will grace your monitor like never before ' even you Links old-timers will be impressed. Somewhat disappointing are the static environments that lack moving clouds and flying birds, but you'll be too busy negotiating that next crucial shot to really notice anyway. The sound effects are equally impressive, from the realistic roars of the gallery to the customizable player commentary.
If you have even a passing interest in golf games and your computer has the horsepower (I wrote this review after playin' the game on my new Pentium 4, 2.4 GHZ. And despite Microsoft's hardware recommendations, I imagine owners of anything less than a Pentium 3 need not apply), you owe it to yourself to buy this game and buy it now! And if your computer doesn't cut it, you won't find a better reason to upgrade than Links 2003.