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PC Reviews: Links 2003


Links 2003 Screenshots

The Final Say!


Links 2003 - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 15 October 2002
Review Score: 8.6/10 
Distributor: Microsoft

Links 2003 is the latest incarnation of the golf game for the hardcore, Links. There are many golf games out there and primarily the two to look out for are those that  are made by either Microsoft or Electronic Arts as these are the heavy hitters in this genre.


What sets Links apart from the field is that the focus is more on a full golf simulation rather than a watered down action packed affair like you would see with a Tiger Woods title. This game is a simulation in it's purist form and will appeal to the fanatics of the sport with it's attention to detail and all things golf.


The 2003 version is greatly improved graphically and looks fantastic. Player models and ball physics have had a lot of work done to them and the hills and traps work together seamlessly. The sense of realism is fantastic until you notice one little thing.... nothing is moving other than you and the ball. The wind doesn't blow, trees don't move, it is very uncanny to behold.


Real time swing can be achieved by moving your mouse which in turn effects a side swing as opposed to the tradition up and down motion. Using your mouse translates to the computer the other moves which will affect the way the ball strikes the club. It's just another part of this game that ups the ante in terms of golfing realism. A fair degree of control over the mouse is required and also I'd advise adjusting the mouse sensitivity if you are going to use this method.


Asides from using the pros included with the package, there is also a quite limited create a golfer option. It doesn't get wild as some of the extreme sports create a player modes can get but still does the trick more or less. A nice touch is the animations that your player undertakes when successful or when goofing up. It gives more character to them in my opinion.


There are six courses available to the player and an immediate nine players to get the ball rolling. It is somewhat limited however I haven't found a game yet that is fully licensed for a PGA tour, which would be sensational with all courses and players. It would be easy enough to do, although time consuming.


There are a number of online options supported in gameplay as well with even an email tourney available that will log your place in the field and upon opening the attachment in your email, will take you to the appropriate place in the game. Links matchmaker also enables players from all over the world to play against each other with player stats and message boards for the enthusiasts in us all.

The title also provides a comprehensive verbal and written help section to get you through that initial learning period. I found it easy to understand and the advice given did not get on my nerves as is the case with other golfing games I have played (Swing Away Golf on PS2 being a prime example of good times gone bad with crappy and repetitive advice).


Sound on this title will not set the world on fire, however everything that is featured sounds perfect. Make sense? No? Well basically there is not a lot to the title sound-wise. Clubs make the right sound as does the crowd but there is nothing truly innovative about it all. In short sound gets a thumbs up.


In essence, there is a lot to admire and enjoy about Links 2003. It looks good, plays beautifully and with the online element, practically guarantees a long life on your PC. The only thing that you really need is to get used to the eerie stillness of your surroundings. Who knows? Maybe, just maybe a patch could be made down the track to address this.


If you like your golf like I do, then Links 2003 is worth the price of admission.

- Tory Favro

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com