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[Vita Review] Everybody’s Golf / Hot Shots Golf

With such a strong following, since the franchise was released back in 1997 on the very first PlayStation (PSOne), Everybody’s Golf has kept to the same mix of ingredients and released yet again another iteration of this highly popular golfing simulation/game – but does it live up to its reputation? Does it ‘still’ cut the mustard? We’re going to find out just that!

The game itself is made up of 3 main gaming modes – the Single Player mode, Multiplayer mode & the Online mode. We’ll delve further into these modes in just a second, but for someone who hasn’t played this since it’s outing on the PS2, I was looking forward to playing Everybody’s Golf and getting my clubs out to see if I still had it on the green, and more so to put this title through it’s paces to see if it is every bit as good as it used to be.

Now, let’s take a look at the different modes of play that are available to you to grind through:

Single Player Mode

– Challenge

This particular mode consists of a series of mixed 9 or 18 hole courses, where you essentially have to achieve a better score than the 20 other virtual golfers in order to win a cash prize. These virtual golfers are no more than names on a list/table, but the game updates you on their progress after each round. The aim of each round is to master the course/challenge, and unlock a star, which allows you to progress further through the game. Once you’ve attained victory on the majority of the challenges (normally 4+), you’re faced with a one-on-one against a special character in the game, whom you have to beat in order to complete the overall course.

As you’d expect – the further you progress into the game, the harder the courses are, and of course, the challengers get harder to beat. With a mass number of rewards available to unlock in the single player mode, and with cash prizes available to win, you’re going to spend some quality time in the shop. Here, you can unlock many golf related goodies such as characters, DVDs, golf balls, features, golf clubs and much more.

Due to the flexibility of this mode, you’re going to find yourself picking up your Vita every time you find yourself with a few minutes to spare.

– Stroke

This game mode allows you to take on the courses available in the game and see how many strokes it takes you to get the putt – thus making it the perfect environment where you can practice the courses before you tackle them in the Challenge, or Multiplayer/Online modes.

Multiplayer / Online Modes

Before we look into the available game modes here, I’d like to just explain that there are 2 different types of ‘online activity’ available. The first being a Multiplayer mode, with the second noted as an Online mode. It does sound rather confusing (2 modes doing practically the same thing), however you’ll see that they in fact serve 2 different purposes, hence, they’re separated into 2 different modes.

– Multiplayer

The Multiplayer mode is meant to serve a purpose where 2 or more friends (max. 8) can play together wirelessly. However, when you launch this mode and proceed to create a room, you are advised that your WiFi* will be disconnected and the adhoc mode will be enabled before you can continue. If you disagree with this, then you’re back to square one.

This confused me slightly; if the WiFi* was going to be disconnected, and the adhoc mode was to be enabled, was it strong enough for me to play against my friends whom are scattered around a 20-30 mile radius, from where I live? Surprisingly not. Therefore, if you’ve got friends who also have a PlayStation Vita and a copy of this game, and you occasionally look forward to playing with them online, then you are going to be bitterly disappointed.

With this mode severely restricted to the adhoc mode, you can only play with your friends if they’re within so many feet near you. These days, playing online with friends is something that should be a standard feature of a game and should be included as part of the overall package from day 0. With this title missing what can be seen as a huge element, gamers may hold off buying this title until a patch is released updating the game with this much needed feature.

Once you manage to get an adhoc game running, you can setup a room with 2 different game formats; namely the New Real Mode, and the Match Play.

The New Real mode allows a total of 8 players to play simultaneously, with the best score winning the game. See it more as a local tournament which has been setup for you and your friends only.

The Match Play mode simply allows a 1v1 game where the player that achieves a putt with a better score wins the round, with an option of 3, 6 9 or 18 holes.

– Online Mode

The Online mode is somewhat a little different. You can either hang around a lobby where you meet players from around the globe, chat and challenge them to a round of golf, or enter into any of the tournaments currently setup by these other players. There is one down side to entering these tournaments as you may find yourself hanging around the lobby waiting for the clock to run down until the tournament starts. This can be anything from a couple of minutes to 15 – 20+ minutes at a time.

This mode does allow you and your friends to meet in a lobby and enter tournaments together, however, you still cannot play that 1v1 game. You and your friends are limited to simply taking part in tournaments via the Online mode where you simply work your way through the course and see other players results via a league table.

A huge plus point for the Online mode is the Daily International Tournament. Official tournaments are setup daily for you to enter, with most tournaments consisting of either a 9 hole or 18 hole course. This is your chance to pit your skills against the world, and see where you rank in the global rankings. I’ve been shocked at how good some of these players are – with a few players achieving a score of 22 under par on some courses! It’s not impossible to do, but you have to be very good at the game to achieve it!

If you’re a serious gamer/golfer and have the patience of a saint then this is just the place for you!

*This game was tested using a WiFI model of the PlayStation Vita, hence I cannot confirm whether you experience the same issues with a 3G model or not.

Last but not least, this isn’t related to any mode in particular, but rather than go into detail on this, just a little hint (which kept me busy for the best part of an hour): play around with the camera. You’ll find some rather neat things you can do with your Vita!

Overall Summary

Everybody’s Golf is one of those games which you can just pick up and play, but it will take you quite some time to master! You can easily coast through the holes, as long as you don’t scuff your shots. If you’re well into your golf games, you’re obviously going to take into account all the factors, such as wind, distance, club type etc, which will hopefully help you achieve a birdie, eagle, albatross – or even a hole in one!

Although you can’t play with your friends directly over PSN/SEN (unless they’re under the same roof as such), there is a lot of addictive gameplay to keep you busy for a good few months, with the replayability value standing the game in good stead. There is still plenty the developers can do to this title to extend it’s longevity; i.e. add a true multiplayer 1v1 game mode which you can play with friends over WiFi/3G and allow players to forms teams who can take on other teams in mini tournaments (just like clan matches or even add a career mode); why not?

Even though there’s plenty said in this summary, it still is a must have title for any keen gamer.It’s certainly fun, it’s exciting and, moreso, it’s extremely addictive!

[review pros=”Great game modes
Replayability value
Perfect for portable gaming
Plenty of content to unlock and customize” cons=”1v1 Multiplayer via PSN/SEN missing
Multiplayer lobby tournaments can take a while to start” score=”85″]

*A review copy was provided to by SCEE for reviewing purposes.