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XBox Reviews: Links 2004


Links 2004 Screenshots


The Final Say!


Links 2004 - reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: December 2003
Review Score: 8.5/10 
Distributed By: Microsoft

"One of the most realistic golfing games has landed on the XBox and delivers more than just a birdie!"

The acclaimed PC golfing game called Links has finally hit a hole in one on the XBox that promises to deliver everything the PC version offered and more.


I haven't played a golfing sports game for quite some time now and when I originally played Links of the PC, it was just a matter of pointing where you wanted your ball to go and then awkwardly moving your character in a direction. Once this was all figured out (including the wind), you had to push the space bar down for power and then release it in time so you didn't slice it. Obviously I have been in hiding because that antiquated gameplay has now been replaced with a thoroughly sturdy and enjoyable control system.


Although there is no golfer character generation per se, the game does allow you to select a pre-generated characters where you can slightly change their appearance. Another unusual thing of this system is that you must also select a golfer's "nickname" that is used while you are playing the game so that the golfing commentator can call your shots. A pretty damn cool feature.


The gameplay has been totally revamped and I must admit that I was extremely frustrated at first but after a few abysmal games, I soon became a golfing master that could probably give Tiger Woods a run for his money... provided he was playing the XBox version of Links.


The XBox version uses the left analog stick to control the power and speed of your swing, where the right analog stick is used to control the ball spin. Although this control system may seem a little difficult to some gamers, it is pure ingenious as it gives you total control over your swings and where you want the ball to go.


Links 2004 overs also offers gamers a variety of gameplay modes with the basics being match play, skins game &  standard stroke and with the more professional games being the Nassau game and the Stableford game. The Nassau mode of play is similar to the match play but the holes are tallied differently, whereas the Stableford game scores you on birdies, eagles, pars and bogies. Links 2004 also includes a career mode that lets you slowly build your way from the basic tournaments to the professional golfing tournaments with the world's bests.


The game also supports XBox Live that lets you play against golfers... err.. gamers around the world. Apart from playing other gamers online, Links 2004 also allows you to download online content such as players and courses that are stored on your hard drive. Those that don't have XBox Live (you are probably missing out on one of the most entertaining online systems around) can also play Links 2004 with up to four gamers locally.


Graphically, Links 2004 is a "very" PC looking game and doesn't look quite as sharp or smooth as Tiger Woods 2004. The characters themselves are extremely well modelled and feature some very nice looking textures for that realistic feel. The developers have also used real-golfers to perfect the characters in the game that move with human like grace and fluidity. The backgrounds of Links 2004 look nice and colourful featuring the usual stock standard golfing backgrounds that include trees, grass, clouds, castles, buildings and of course other golfers.


The commentary of Links 2004 is handled by PGA great Ken Venturi with co-commentators Jim Nelford, Jeff Waters and Rod Zundel that unfortunately sounds a little cut and pasted. The courses also features various background sounds such as the sounds of nature, crowds and of course the golfers themselves. The musical score of Links 2004 is soothing and relaxing but is only used in the menu screens and introduction.


Links 2004 is a refreshing change from Tiger Woods 2004 and offers gamer a more realistic golfing game than its competitors. With a strong gaming engine, some extremely nice graphics and sound, Links 2004 is only recommended to gamers who enjoy sporting simulations. Check it out!

- Andrew B

Copyright 2003 www.impulsegamer.com