Sidebar Games developer’s second attempt, Sports story, builds on the successes of its golf-focused RPG predecessor by adding more sports to participate in and additional considerations to the golf experience. However, these efforts have gone too far beyond what has produced. Golf Story especially so, creating a sometimes claustrophobic experience under the bloat of too many unwanted fetching tasks and flawed mechanics. A weak story and numerous technical issues also hampered the experience, making Sports Story a disappointment overall.
The Sports Story begins a little after the events of Golf Story. After proving himself to be a capable golfer, the unnamed protagonist is now preparing to sign a contract and turn pro. After checking in at your hotel, finding a new golf club and applying for a permit, you head out into the countryside for a little practice. Upon reaching your destination, you find the area under the abuse of bat-wielding Iron Dragons and decide to take on the role of detective to find out what’s going on and stop this gang from ruining everyone’s lives. People.
The story suddenly changes around this initial moment. You are no longer an aspiring golfer trying your best to solve other people’s problems through your golf skills; Instead, you start jumping from location to location as a freelance investigator, assisting people in the struggles they are facing and gathering clues regarding Iron Dragon’s ongoing threat. It’s not a compelling story to follow, especially with many of Golf Story’s funny and memorable characters either appearing in limited numbers or being removed entirely from the plot to focus on. simple minded people are bland and annoying. protagonist.
From the outset, the plot suggests that every problem you face is somehow related to a larger plot, but even that storyline isn’t very interesting, largely because there’s not enough reason. do to care about the main character and what might happen to him. The few characters that make the transition from Golf Story to Sports Story – like Coach and Lara – are written as either completely useless or strongly offensive. While they already have these traits in Golf Story, the plot deftly subverts these archetypes to both humanize and amuse their roles in the story, while also transforming them into the people that they are. you want to get to know over time. No such transformation happens here, leaving the cast full of nasty people you don’t really want to help.
This story change also introduces the main game loop of Sports Story, which is a series of fetch quests for the underdogs around you. To progress in the story, you often have to find things for someone. Sometimes it’s finding a bunch of fishermen to learn how to catch different types of fish so you can prove yourself capable of helping someone in need, or finding a bunch of keys to open a bunch of cages and free them. birds inside. that they open a gate for you. It’s not always immediately obvious where you have to go or what you have to do to progress, so a lot of Sports Stories are spent running around to see who you can interact with and them. want, like a point and click adventure.
However, it’s all pretty dull. The sports story lacks much of the appeal and quick-witted jokes of its predecessor, so there aren’t many fun ways to embellish the tedium of completing different flavors of the same quest. The sports story on the surface seems more varied with the addition of more sports outside of golf, but the structure of the overall game loop is pretty rigid, so the experience starts to feel rote and boring. pretty fast at runtime.
At the end of each chapter you can play a round of golf and this is where the game shines. Like its predecessor, Sports Story uses a three-click system for golf, meaning that after you choose the club you’re using, you click once to align your shot, a second time to align your shot. Set the strike force and the third to determine how you hit the ball straight. The system takes a mechanical approach and is simple to pick up, but still manages to manage the exciting complexity and strategic feel to the sport by adding elements such as bunkers and wind speed.
In addition to this winning formula, Sports Story adds a variety of balls for you to switch between, creating even more opportunities to execute complex shots and win over your opponents. your. For example, the captain’s ball can be pushed through bodies of water, while the vector ball automatically redirects toward the hole on the first bounce regardless of where or how it lands. These balls are limited in number–you find them in chests scattered across the map–meaning there’s a sense of strategy both in what you use and when you decide to use it. . Like it or not, using them isn’t in your best interest, meaning you’ll still make most shots with a standard golf ball.
The variety of locations is also used to great effect, creating a wide variety of golf courses that each present different types of challenges. The mountains and tunnels of Britannia Station, for example, are surprisingly windy, forcing you to account for gusts of wind in every shot. Meanwhile, PureStrike Links have a lot of slopes and grooves, meaning it can sometimes be difficult to roll the ball along the grass with your putter. I love that each location has a theme attached to it, encouraging you to continue to grow throughout the game and develop skills beyond hitting the ball the best you can.
When you’re not picking up someone’s stuff or playing golf, Sports Story tries to break up its tedious repetitive structure with a bunch of new sports to play and activities to participate in like volleyball , tennis, cycling and fishing. However, there’s nothing quite like golf, and some – especially volleyball and cycling – are really frustrating because they are activities created to reward agility and positioning, at the same time, the Sports Story movement is not designed for anything more physically strenuous than swinging a golf club at a stationary ball.
You’d think, with Golf Story’s dramatic change to Sports Story, that the new sports would play a big part in the sequel, but they’re mostly spinoffs to the quests. fetch. In the scope of the main story, you only play most non-golf sports once or twice with optional opportunities to play them again, which allows you to earn extra money to buy new clubs as well as Experience points help improve aspects of your golf swing. However, the monetary benefits and experience points you gain from replaying these activities are not necessary, as you gain a lot of money and experience through the main quests to continue progressing at a steady rate. determined. Given how broken or uncomfortable each new sport is and how little you engage with them, most of them feel stuck and unfinished, especially compared to golf. An exception is fishing, which plays an important role in one of the areas and operates as intended. However, fishing is boring and repetitive, as it requires very little skill–all you need to know is what kind of bait the fish likes to catch it.
Sports Story also suffered from technical issues that resulted in the game crashing frequently, the protagonist being stuck in the environment, or the game not allowing you to open the menu and save the game. I had to restart missions dozens of times and replay entire parts of the game after a crash took me almost half an hour of progress. These problems make the already annoying repetitive fetch cycle all the more frustrating, as it’s possible that all your efforts will be dissipated at any point. Of course, making sure to continuously save manually reduces the problem, but it’s still annoying when you even have to do it due to how often these issues appear. Several updates since the game’s launch have helped reduce the frequency of these issues, but they persist.
Every now and then, a hint of something special flashes in the Sports Story’s bulky design. For example, one or two jokes that succeed and make me smile, or a sense of victory welling up within me after a little inspiration form the basis of a strategy that turns a seemingly impossible shot into a hit. something is possible. But these moments are too rare to adequately address the game’s numerous shortcomings, all plagued by the usual technical problems. Golf Story deserves a better sequel than this.