Two of the five new courses are from St. Andrews, the New and Jubilee Courses (the Old Course was already available to Links LS owners). The other three include two from Hawaii (Hapuna and Mauna Kea) and Covered Bridge in Indiana. Though the three locations are definitely unique in appearance and in the challenges they offer, this variety can't quite match PGA Championship Golf's array of eight courses. Furthermore, the LS 2000 graphics engine looks to be the spitting image of LS 1999 (which was an awful lot like 1998); about the only major difference is an option that lets you choose a "skyscape" - which basically means you can set how cloudy it is when you play.
Of course, the graphics in the Links LS series have usually been highly regarded by fans, so it's not that much of a slam to say things haven't changed between this version and the one before. But compared with the beautifully rendered 3D landscapes of PGA Championship Golf or Jack Nicklaus 6, the digitized images of LS 2000 are starting to look dated even at a high resolution. There's just not much sense of depth when you're standing at the tee looking down the fairway - it simply looks like a photo and doesn't feel like a golf course.
Aside from the courses, about the only other additions as far as offline play goes are a scant four additional golfer animations and commentary from CBS golf analyst David Feherty and CBS sports announcer Craig Bolerjack. The golfer animations are fine - Fuzzy Zoeller's one of the new computer players, replacing Arnold Palmer as "king of the impossible birdie putts" - but the commentary is a different matter altogether. At first, I wondered why Microsoft chose to not make the sound script with the two broadcasters' dialogue the default choice for both tourneys and single games. But after hearing the so-called commentary - complete with huge gaps of silence followed by failed attempts at humor or insipid post-shot observations - it's not surprising that it's buried in the game's labyrinthine setup menus. Someone let me know when a golf game gets audio analysis right.