Game Reviews

Ernie Els Golf 2008 (iPhone)

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Ernie Els Golf 2008 (iPhone)

A question, before we begin, one that may have golf enthusiasts cringing a little: who the hell is Ernie Els? The Internets reliably inform me that he is one of the top pro golfers in the world and that he is very tall.

It's confession time: I know very little about golf. The three things I do know about golf: (1) apparently Tiger Woods is a very good golfer, (2) the real thing is harder than it looks on TV, (3) Volkswagen make a type of car called Golf.

I only know that number two is true because my Dad once took me to the driving range for a few swings and, frankly, I'm not even sure that number three should really be in the list. I do, however, adore golf video games; a good golf game can be terribly relaxing with just the right blend of in-game technique mixed with simplicity of controls.

The controls in Ernie Els Golf 2008 (we've previously reviewed Ernie Els on mobile) specifically taking a swing, are indeed simple. Instead of a sliding power-scale as in most golf games, you actually pull the club back and then swing it forward to hit the ball. It takes a little getting used to but, with practice it works surprisingly well. In no time, you'll find yourself whacking the ball across the course effortlessly.

The game opens with a tutorial from Els himself, guiding you through the interface, range of clubs and different shot styles. The amount of information you're required to take in is somewhat daunting. There's a massive selection of clubs to choose from, which, when combined with different styles of shot, is somewhat intimidating for the beginner.

Nevertheless, with the aid of a range of disconcerting photos of the golf legend himself, Els will goad you in to action. By the time you've finished the tutorial and are back at the clubhouse, you'll be rearing to start playing in a proper competition.

Whilst you're at the clubhouse, you can visit the pro shop and purchase a better club and some shiny new balls, or drop by the lounge or trophy room to check your stats and achievements respectively. There's also a reception area where you'll find invites to compete in various competitions.

Back on the course, the controls in Ernie Els Golf 2008 are solid and well designed, if a little complex at first, and the sound effects are wonderfully tactile. With these two elements combined, whacking the ball a couple of hundred yards across the course feels fantastic.

With solid controls, great graphics and sound, it's a shame that the difficulty curve isn't a smooth as Ernie's swing. Even seasoned golf game players will find themselves teeing off on the same event repeatedly because of a few botched strokes. Getting past some of the events takes practice and a relaxed temperament.

Ernie Els Golf 2008 satisfies with its wealth of stats and depth of play. It's not a simple game by any means, but it's fun and jam-packed full of details, so it'll have no problems sustaining long-term interest.

Ernie Els Golf 2008 (iPhone)

A steep difficulty curve indeed, but it's good fun and more polished than a brand new Majesty Prestigio golf club.