The GameXplain folks were privy to a Zoom-based preview event. I wanted to share that video here with you all.
It's quite promising and I am really excited for this one. We're only three weeks away now!
However I find that the lack of Mario-themed courses to be incredibly disappointing. I've dreamed ever since Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour that they would take the concept found within Peach's Castle Grounds and expand it to the whole game. Imagine a Mario Golf game where each world revolved around the aesthetic of each Super Mario Bros. 3 world. It would be incredible and it would work so well with the Mario Golf genre.
Yet,... this appears not to do that. Sure, we've seen Pokeys in the desert. Maybe there's more to that kind of thing. However I doubt we'll be looking to bank our shots into giant warp pipes in this entry. I hope to eat my words.
Plus, why hasn't mini-golf made a return? Man that was fun in the original. They could make a whole game of Mini golf challenges and I'd probably buy it.
I'm crazy excited for this game, too! The multiplayer features seem hella robust. Speed Golf and Battle Golf are only 2-player local, but you can also jump online with 2 players on one system, a la Mario Kart, which is awesome. I'm going to buy digital, so that I can play 4p Speed/Battle with one digital purchase and 2 Switches.
I thought Mario Tennis Aces really rejuvenated the Mario Tennis gameplay, so I'm looking forward to trying both Speed and Battle Golf. I have an idea about how Speed Golf plays, but Battle Golf is kind of a question mark at this point. I hope that it plays like that oddly addictive GCN Tiger Woods minigame, where you also competed to claim holes in real-time. I think...?
Optional motion controls also beef up the competitive permutations. Hoping for the best regarding their implementation. Ideally, we can get some Wii Sports-ish action.
I'm enjoying it this far. The main criticism I've seen for it so far is that it lacks Mushroom Kingdom personality on courses. I wish for that too. The DLC may help that later on, and it's free though.
I like how they've handled the core mechanics of gameplay with this one.
Alright, I played a few hours last night, so here goes.
Overall, it's Mario Golf, so of course I enjoy it. But they made some core changes and I'm not sure they are all for the better. Keep in mind I'm still relatively new to the game so there might be stuff I missed.
The main change is the swing. You no longer need to hit a button on the way back to determine your slice or hook. As far as I can tell, it's just randomized now, which is actually... kind of annoying? It's not totally random though, the way it works is each shot has a little (or bigger, depending on club / context) section near the high end of the power that the deeper in you go, the wider your range of random slice / hook will be. So if you use less power on a shot, you're less likely to slice / hook. I guess that is a fair trade-off and maybe even realistic, but it's also a bit weird, because it makes it so that you can get more precise shots by using slightly less power, but that just doesn't feel as good to play as going all out on your shots. Hmm, plus the slice / hook has seemed relatively minor, so there doesn't seem like any real way to totally chunk a shot, which means playing against my cousin, for instance, might be less interesting since we'll both be nailing most of our shots. Usually it is some big shot fuck up or two on some very risky island shots or something that determines the winner of our games, but it feels like it will be easier to hit a tight spot now.
WITH THAT SAID, maybe it won't be so easy, especially on later courses with more obstacles and such, because it seems like the way you can view the surrounding land / your shot's potential trajectory has changed. Unless I'm missing something, you can't really see the entire shot arc anymore? I mean, you kind of can, but you're seeing it from one position, you can't zoom forward along the arc the way that you could in the last few games? What you can do is zoom in on a specific spot, but more to see the ground, so it's tough to get a sense of where exactly your arc is. But yeah, in the past it was easy to line up a shot right in between a bunch of trees or something (not counting wind, etc.), now it seems tougher to know exactly where your shot should go. In some ways this is more realistic (it's not like real golfers get to see an exact shot arc) but when you had it before, not having it feels like a step back.
Finally, a minor change that I'm not sure how I feel about. In the past you needed to do the power of your shot, the slice / hook, where you hit on the ball (which also could slice / hook it as well as give it a higher or lower arc), and the spin all in one go... admittedly it felt a bit like too much at times. So now there are two passes of the power meter, the first time you get the power and spin (the slice / hook is randomized, as stated above) and the second time you do what is the equivalent of where you hit on the ball (though it doesn't seem to say that is what it represents anymore?) It's nice to not have to do it all at once anymore, but it also just feels... weird... having the meter move twice? Maybe I'll get used to it, but since they randomized slice / hook anyway, feels like they could have just kept the power, spin, and position all in one and it would feel simplified next to the past. I dunno.
My THEORY is that a lot of these changes were built to "simplify" the core controls to make it work better for speed golf, and I'm probably right, but I'm not sure how I feel about this.
Ok, on to adventure mode, which I spent an hour or so with. It's interesting. But man does it start in a not ideal way. So many of the early challenges are "here is a target, take 10 shots and try to get to X score." Nothing wrong with this per se, but because slice / hook is randomized now and it is before you start learning about / need to use any of the more complex shot mechanics, you're basically just doing the exact same shot over and over and over. At one point I got like 4 chip-ins in a row, because you don't really have to change anything so it's just a matter of hitting roughly the same power you hit the shot before. I think when things get tougher / more complicated having to hit the same golf shot over and over might make sense, but at the start it just feels way too repetitive. It's hard to put into words exactly but I definitely feel like this mode could have been designed better, at least at the start. We'll see where it goes.
I know this all sounds negative and I feel like I am a tad bit disappointed, but I also think once I get used to the new mechanics more and get into it, it'll probably click a bit better. Some of it might just be UG, CHANGE BAD without really letting the full effects of the change hit yet. We'll see.
Also, I still need to try the speed mode and battle mode and online and all of that.
I'm with Zero on this one. I was put off by the changes to the swing mechanics. Previous games were actually deeper.
Adventure mode starts painfully slow and doesn't get interesting until the end game. The practice areas are super unforgiving for some challenges, that I've ended up skipping some because it's not worth the aggravation. It took me forever to figure out where to buy new outfits and clubs, which are relatively only specific to the course/world you find them at.
The visuals are very lacking as well. I'm just not impressed so far.
Another small but maybe big? issue is that because you're running to your ball right away each shot, at least in the modes where you do that, the camera doesn't follow your shot, so you can't really tell how you did and how exactly you messed up (if you messed up) and such, so you don't really learn anything from your mistakes. Also, even in the modes where the camera does follow your shot, your ball doesn't seem to cast a shadow, so it's tough to even tell exactly where it is until it hits the ground. I actually went back to watch a video of Toadstool Tour to confirm that yes, the ball does cast a shadow, but moreso the way the camera moves with the ball makes it more clear where it is going to land as well. For some reason in this game the combo of lack of shadow + far back camera angles means you're watching your ball go while not even really being sure where exactly it is in the air at any given moment. It's a bit odd.
As for the speed golf, if it were just a completely separate mode I think it would be cool, but at least so far, so much of adventure mode seems to rely on it, except like not even really since your time doesn't matter (yet?) it's all stroke-based, but you still HAVE a time and a countdown timer (not sure what happens if it runs out) and have to run to your ball each time, which honestly just feels like useless time-wasting fluff at the moment. If I want to play speed golf I will play speed golf! But I guess in a game called "Super Rush" you can expect it to be at the core of the adventure mode as well.
/EDIT Oh, another issue. Feels like I do some dialog in Adventure mode, they tell me I need to go do a thing, I decide to do it later, turn the game off, come back... and have to do all of the dialog over again. It's not super clear to me when it saves and doesn't but it needs to save more! I've repeated dialog a bunch of times already!
On the plus side this game loads so fast! You start it and bam, you're in. Too bad you then have to repeat dialog and such.
I'm still actually really enjoying playing, I've already put like 4 or 5 hours into the game, but it feels like a game that is still fun DESPITE a lot of the changes, not BECAUSE of them. And I think, as OMZ says above, the shot meter lacking a bit of depth + the way you line up shots lacking a bit as well means it will be hard to get to that point where you're setting up and executing super complex shots, which to me is a lot of the fun of these games. I feel like I'll probably get bored of this one faster than previous Mario Golf games, but I guess that remains to be seen. But for the first console Mario Golf since the Gamecube I wanted more!
It did seem like everything was put into adventure mode. When I first started playing I went to start a normal game and was kind of like... confused by how open it was. No "cups" or anything like that, just golf. So I just jumped into adventure mode right away.
On the plus side, maybe I'll get sick of it later, but cross country golf is a pretty neat idea?! Though it took me awhile to realize I got to choose the order I did the holes in. And I like all of the odd clubs you can buy in adventure mode, though I wonder how useful they will actually be.