Everybody’s Golf Review
Game: Everybody’s Golf
Developer: Clap Hanz
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Available on: PlayStation Vita only
When it comes to Golf games, the dominant force is most definitely Electronic Arts’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise. With yearly updates that push how realistic a Golf game can be to the limits, there’s little room for competition. However, Clap Hanz’s Everybody’s Golf series (perhaps better known as Hot Shots Golf) takes a different route when it comes to the sport, but is it a worthy addition to the Vita catalogue on launch?
GRAPHICS: The first thing noticeable about the PlayStation Vita version of Everybody’s Golf is that you could easily mistake it for the PlayStation 3 versions; the visuals are a near-perfect copy. Aside from the fact that you are holding a hand-held device, you really wouldn’t know you weren’t playing it on a PlayStation 3.
The Vita’s incredible OLED screen makes the visuals pop out more than ever, which is fantastic as one of Everybody’s Golf’s biggest appeals is that it offers a more visually interesting – perhaps even more stimulating – representation of the sport than other Golfing titles.
SOUND: In a similar manner to the visuals, Everybody’s Golf for PS Vita sounds exactly like the PlayStation 3 titles, which is to say that it sounds upbeat and vaguely Muzak-oriented. The character’s have voice-acting at key moments, but there’s no telling if you’ll find them funny or extremely irritating.
GAMEPLAY: If you’ve ever played an Everybody’s Golf game before, you’ll be right at home here. As usual you will be able to take part in challenge mode, where you will go through the courses trying to score well, which in turn rewards you with all manner of things. If you stick with a given character you will be rewarded loyalty points as well as general points which you can use to unlock items from the in-game store.
Everybody’s Golf relies fairly heavily on progression and unlockables, meaning that you are constantly unlocking new items and changing the way the actual golf plays out. For example, finish a course and you may unlock a new driver, or new golf balls, which will affect how strong your swing is and in turn, the distance you can drive the ball.
The way the actual golf plays out is via the – perhaps – old school method of three clicks. After you have set your shot up, you click the X button to launch the power meter, hit it again to mark the power, then one more time for accuracy. Holding any direction on the D-Pad will change the way the ball lands, be it backspin, topspin or just putting draw or fade on the ball. If you don’t fancy the three click method, there are other methods such as the Circle Shot, which is similar but you have a small circle that draws closer to the ball to set the impact level.
If you get bored of the levelling up, there is always Stroke Play mode or the training options to offer more ways to play the game, but after a while, multiplayer will the main draw to the title.
Bringing the online feature set in-line with the likes of Tiger Woods, new Real mode allows up to 8 players to play any course simultaneously, whilst the stroke play featuring 2 players competing for score also returns. Daily international tournaments allow players one chance per day to take a stab at topping the leaderboards, and you can also set up or join lobbies for you and your friends to meet up in.
LONGEVITY: There’s plenty to see and unlock in Everybody’s Golf; characters, clubs, balls, you name it, it’s in there. A completionist will have a field day here, that’s for sure. Add into the mix a plethora of trophies to achieve via the PlayStation Network, and there’s definite depth available.
If supported long-term, the daily international leaderboards could provide some real legs for Everybody’s Golf on PlayStation Vita. The idea of this quick-fire, almost arcade, style of golf having a daily tournament could have people coming back for more for a long time to come. However, like with any sports title, the true longevity is measured by having a good stable of regular friends to play with, and Everybody’s Golf is no different, despite the assuring fact that plenty of courses will be coming via the PlayStation Store in the future.
VERDICT: Everybody’s Golf is very much a case of Clap Hanz bringing their tried and tested, entertaining take on Golf to the PlayStation Vita. Just like the PSP versions before, this is a highly playable and enjoyable experience throughout. The trouble is however, that aside from taking the visuals up a notch and adding a new multiplayer mode, it doesn’t really do much to justify itself as a brand new Vita title. If you love Everybody’s Golf then this version could end up being definitive, otherwise, you might want to try the demo first.