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The game’s light-hearted charm continues online, where you can mix with other players in a palatial virtual clubhouse using a range of cute little customisable avatars (with more that can be unlocked in the single-player game). You can hang out and shoot the breeze, but there are plenty of eight-player matches going on, plus a selection of larger 50-player tournaments with in-game prizes. Even in the eight-player matches, the game flies. Rather than wait for each player to take their turn, you all play simultaneously with ‘ghost players’ overlaid on each screen.
The game also shines as an old-school multiplayer experience, even if you have the nuisance factor of sharing one joypad. World Tour’s easy to pick up gameplay, short matches and cartoon charm makes it a winner with a wide range of friends and family members, and there’s something about playing with people you know on the same sofa that gives the game that little extra pull. Like Wii Sports Tennis, I’ve yet to find anyone who doesn’t like the game – though I’ll admit that I’ve yet to try it with anyone I’d consider a serious golfer.
And it’s with this last group that World Tour might fall flat. It doesn’t even attempt to rival Tiger Woods when it comes to real courses, real golfers or an accurate golf simulation, and there are some people who won’t be satisfied with anything less. In fact, those same people are the people most likely to be annoyed by World Tour’s deliberate silliness and lack of respect for the noble Scottish sport. If you really, really can’t stand chirpy voices, cheery muzak and silly flaming strike effects, it’s also probably not for you.
That’s fine, and you’re perfectly free to enjoy Tiger Woods ’08 instead. For the rest of us, however, I’d recommend Everybody’s Golf World Tour any day. Even though it only has six courses, it’s more immediately entertaining, more enjoyably paced and just more fun – and that goes whether you play alone, online or with friends. Even if you’re not a fan of golf, consider at least renting it and giving it a try. If you like it and buy it, it’s the sort of game you’ll still be coming back to you in a year or even two year’s time.
In terms of gameplay, World Tour is not a huge advance on earlier titles in the series. That said, the shiny new 3D engine and the great course selection make the people’s golf game even more irresistible than ever.