We Love Golf suffers from being too easy. We know that sounds a bit odd given that the game is a Wii exclusive, but when I, a man who's sole experience of swinging a real life golf club ended when I was told to go home after hitting the ball 20 yards in 10 shots, can play an 18 hole course and never get anything worse than a birdie, you know something is wrong.
We know We Love Golf isn't trying to be a golf simulation, and that's fine by us. But you'd have to be so bad at games that you find jumping in Super Mario Galaxy a head wreck not to beat the computer every single time.
It's down to the assists. When moving the Wii Remote up and to your side as if performing a back swing, a ghostly Wii Remote image moves along the power bar displayed at the bottom of the screen. The idea is to match the position of the Wii Remote image with a moving golf club image that also moves along the bar so that they both meet at the exact same time in an assist circle. Then, the club face moves back down the power bar, requiring you to swing the Wii Remote just when it hits a second assist circle. Nail both assist circles and you'll get the perfectly weighted shot for any given situation. Sounds like a neat way of making a golf game accessible doesn't it? It is in a way, but after a while you'll find We Love Golf degenerates into a rhythm action game, with only timing, the direction of your shot and easily applied back spin and top spin a concern.
It's a crying shame, because if Capcom had made it possible to remove all assists in We Love Golf then we would have loved We Love Golf much more. The trademark Capcom polish is there, the cutesy graphics, helpful assistants Chip (an anthropomorphic Wii Remote who's reactions to shots tell you how good they are) and Birdie (a detached female voice emanating from the Wii Remote speaker that constantly tells you to point the thing down to take a shot), well designed courses (Skull Island's nice to look at) unlockable cult video game characters (Jill Valentine, Dante, Ryu etc) and, well, just solid gameplay, show that there's a tremendous golf game underneath all the assists and shot guides. If only we were able to release it.
Still though, there's fun to be had, especially in the multiplayer. As Wii Sports Golf is a great game to whip out when the casuals come for dinner, so is We Love Golf. As long as someone explains what everything on screen does (there's a lot on screen at any one time) and basics of taking shots it's a guaranteed hit. Beyond that though there isn't much here to keep you interested.
This is especially true of the single-player experience. While there's loads of shot options available in any given situation, including the ability to add draw and fade shots (twist the Wii Remote left and right) and add spin (1 or 2 button), because you can adjust the target of the ball, and because hitting a perfect shot is so easy, you'll win every time. Putting is especially easy. The computer is generally rubbish too, so it's not even a case of Tiger Woods going up against himself. It's more like Tiger Woods going up against a donkey.
Without a proper challenge there can be little satisfaction in winning. Motivation then comes from unlocking the game's many courses and playable characters. Tournament mode sees you compete for the number one position against a large number of computer controlled opponents in an 18-hole match. Win it and you'll unlock a new course. Character match mode is a one on one match against a computer controlled opponent. Win and you'll unlock your opponent.
Because cartoon versions of characters from classic Capcom series like Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and Street Fighter are unlockable I inexplicably found myself unable to resist the urge to trudge through endless tournament and character matches, winning by a country mile every time, just to get a look at Chun Li and the like. But then I'm a pathetic Capcom fanboy. But for most people, people far more rational than I am, hitting a golf club with Zack and Wiki is more a case of 'am I bovverred?' than 'yes, thank you, I'll have some of that'.
There are plenty of multiplayer modes, and it's here that the game excels. We Love Golf caters for up to four players, either using one Wii Remote or four (thank God). There's a ring shot mode, which does what you'd expect it to, a target golf mode, which, again, does what you'd expect it to and a near pin contest mode, which we quite liked in the office. You can even heckle by mashing buttons as your opponent lines up their shot, causing speech bubbles to fill the screen and your character's voice to boom from the Wii Remote speaker. This is more fun than it sounds.
Online play, a feature added to the Western release of the game, is an added bonus. Here you can play as your Mii (you have to unlock playing as Miis for single-player, which is frankly ridiculous) or as one of the in-game characters in world play (against anyone from around the world) or friend play (with friend codes). This works, is stable and, on the whole, as good as you'd expect We Love Golf to be online. There's even the option of seeing world play records and the number of medals you've accumulated while playing against real world opponents, which is a nice touch.
Ultimately We Love Golf is better than Wii Sports Golf but it could be so much more. While it's good fun in multiplayer and perfectly charming, it's pretty boring played on your own. We'd say give it a miss if you're not online with your Wii, or you're unlikely to have friends over who might be interested. The biggest challenge facing the game in the UK is that everyone who owns a Wii is guaranteed to own Wii Sports. Does We Love Golf, then, justify a purchase? For the multiplayer, we'll say yes. Just.