At TGS, we checked out We Love Golf. While the game looked nice, putting was a mess. At the Games Festa, we checked out the latest playable build. Since no one was waiting in line, the Capcom person at the demo kiosk told me I could play as long as I wanted. That, for me, was about twenty minutes or so — long enough to get a decent feel for the basic mechanics. The Capcom rep. was quick to point out that I should approach the game was playing actual golf, but rather, just a video game. So all natural instincts about using the Wii-mote to swing and smash golf balls went out the window.
Instead, the swing mechanic, as we've previously mentioned, is based on timing. You are trying to line up various gauges at the correct time. The part that does feel golf-like is that the angle you hold the Wii-mote corresponds to the on-screen golf club. Thus, you can hold it with an open or closed face. After a fair bit of trial-and-error, I was able to get the timing down. Putting was a totally different matter.
At TGS, whenever we putted, we kept coming up short. The controls felt buggy, and Capcom was quick to point out that the developers were still working out the kinks. Fair enough. The Capcom rep at the Games Festa mentioned that they have tightened up putting and made it easier. Still, it was necessary to take an non-intuitive control scheme to get it to work. From the conversation I had with the Capcom rep at the Games Festa:
ME: "Isn't it really difficult to do putting with the Wii-mote?" CAPCOM GUY: "Yes, it's been challenging." ME: "And isn't that because the Wii-mote isn't striking anything? I don't mean striking for like feedback, but when you put a ball, you hit something." CG: "Right. And when you swing the Wii-mote, you aren't hitting anything." ME: "Isn't that what makes it hard? It's difficult to register that moment when you hit the golf ball?" CG: "Yes." ME: "I've heard that it's difficult to mimic drumming with a Wii-mote for that reason. That it's very difficult to register when a drum is hit because the Wii-mote isn't actually hitting anything."
How have they overcome this? The Capcom Guy offered this advice while putting in We Love Golf: Hold up your arm slowly and wait until your club reaches the Target Marker on the gauge. Leave your arm there, but release the A button. The putter will automatically hit the ball. My success rate using this method was actually pretty high! And all the previous frustration we encountered with We Love Golf putting at TGS was gone. Thing is, the Wii-mote seems to have made things unnecessarily complicated...