As a long-running fan of the Everybody's Golf series, or Hot Shots Golf for those US readers out there, I was concerned when Sony first announced the long-awaited sequel to the series. We have not had a current-gen Everybody's Golf title up to now, and we know Sony love releasing one or two every generation. I play the PS Vita version quite often, and the PS3 version was awesome. This time around Clap Hands Studios have removed the set characters that we all loved so much in turn for a character creation model and opened the game to a more MMO feel. Well, I have to just say that all doubt I had in the game's new modern approach vanished after playing the beta this past weekend. I am now counting down the days until I can play the full game on 30 August, and so is a bunch of friends of mine who joined me in the beta.
Everybody's Golf feels like it has moved into the modern gaming age but has kept it flair intact during the process. Gone are the massive roster of cute characters, and instead you get to create your own the way you want to. Various faces and body types to choose from, and of course the facial enhancements of note. I, of course, wanted to create a character that would stand out in the crowd, so I naturally made sure my eyes were huge, as well as my mouth. Some of my friends loved the look, while others ran in fear.
After creating my character, I was dropped off in the game's social hub. Now this, according to my understanding, will act as a place for you and your friends to join when the final game releases. There are some hints that your social hub will be customizable, with various activities like fishing and golf cart racing to participate in while you and your friends hang out. Unfortunately, we were unable to join up with each other in the beta but it was not a train smash as we planned to land in the same golf course as each other.
Instead of the typical course selection mode we are so used to in the series, the latest game has kept the entire experience social. From your home hub, you teleport to a course that has a set amount of players roaming around in it playing golf. Your character can now walk around the course and travel to each hole at your will. You can meet up with friends and play together, or just run around and jump in every pond (no really, it is a load of fun). The open world feel of the game just works somehow, and if you think about it, all you are doing is walking around a golf course. When I wanted to play golf all I did was walk up to one of the nine holes on the course I was on, press X and then T-off. No loading times, nothing. Each hole is built into the golf course that you are walking around in and you can just start playing as you wish.
In the final game, there is said to be more activities to participate in on these courses, like fishing, and the ability to drive a golf cart around the course with your friends inside. The idea of it all sounds too epic as who would not want to spend time with their best friends on a golf course? While I was playing all the holes, there was a small leaderboard for the server I was on too, which kept track of my best plays on each hole and placed me among the thousands of players in the world who were playing the game. I could see who got the best play and who simply sucked at life.
My character also increased in skill while I played the game which saw his stats like power shot and accuracy increase. This was a cool way to keep playing as it meant that my character was forever evolving as I replayed the same hole repeatedly for a better score. Some holes even rewarded me with gold which I could then use to buy limited-timed clothing in the store. The clothing feature is pretty cool too as it will see different outfits rotate every week or so, which in the end will force you to play the game more to buy that one hat that goes perfectly with that pair of heels.
Yes, I know my character looks strange.
After I exhausted all the features in the main course I entered a game mode called “Turf War”. To get placed with my friends, I had to make sure we entered the game mode together, and it worked. Please, Clap Hands, make sure you have a friend feature in the final release, that is all I am saying. Turf War was a fast-paced multiplayer mode that sees to teams of players fight it out against each other in a massive golf tournament. You would represent a different team and go to one of three holes and try to get the best score and par. The better you play, the more points your get which is all totalled up against the other team. If your team’s overall score is under par then you will hold that hole (like a control zone) until the team is able to beat your score. Everyone is constantly running around trying to beat everyone’s score. It is awesome.
In the end, the beta just proved how much we have missed the series on PS4, and it still plays as great as all the past games and has all the personality we love from the series. Sure, it has gone in a more social direction, but it totally works. I am so keen to get my hands on the final game come 30 August 2017. Take a look at some gameplay from the beta where myself and my friends mess around.