Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds
Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Genre: Sports
Hot Shots Golf is one of my favorite golf franchises on any console. I have fond memories flying to and from E3 and playing Hot Shots Golf on my PSP and playing all the different versions throughout the life of the PlayStation 2. But even with how great and polished the gameplay is, the next-generation version of the title is getting a ton of new features and gameplay.
The most exciting change is the inclusion of online play. Players can join in games with up to eight people in them for a fast and furious round of golf. Unlike other titles that have online play, all players will swing their clubs at the same time. There are various timers to ensure the game keeps moving fast. However, strokes are not the only thing that will make a player win a hole. For example, if players tie with 5 strokes to hole out, whoever has the highest score on the hole will win it. The score is given to players for accurately hitting the ball. So even if you get yourself out of a bad shot, you may still lose the round if others around you are hitting the ball better.
This fresh take the multiplayer mode for a golf game is a refreshing change. Another great feature of the online mode is the lobby system before playing a game. Players create an avatar that looks an awful lot like a heavily customized Mii and allows the player to walk around and interact with others before joining a match. If this is an indication where Sony is headed with their upcoming Home service, online play may become a lot more friendly to the mass market.
Besides the new online mode, the gameplay is receiving a new coat of paint as well. Gone are the meters we have grown accustomed to in the series. Instead, Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds introduces a new system. Players begin to swing their club and when the club head flashes yellow--they are at 50 percent power. When the club head flashes red, it is a full power shot. Depending on where you stop your swing will determine the amount of force you hit the ball with. However, you have to be careful when the club heads back down towards the ball. A circle will appear around your ball and the closer the circle ends up around the ball, the more accurate your shot will be. If you do not time the downswing correctly, players will find their shot will go wide of their intended target.
As with all Hot Shots Golf titles, players will be able to choose from a wide variety of wacky characters. This combined with the same single player modes we have all come to know and love, the new swing mechanics, and online play should take this series to the next level. In fact, I fully expect Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds to be the best golf game I have ever played. And from what I have seen, this title should live up to that. We are eagerly anticipating this PlayStation 3 exclusive and will be bringing you a full review when the title ships in March 2008.