Always a fun time, Sony’s Hot Shots Golf is the only annual competition for EA’s superlative Tiger Woods series. While aiming at different audiences, both games nail their golfing mechanics soundly. This PS3 version of now 10 year old Hot Shots series doesn’t revolutionize anything, but this is still excellent golf.
The beauty of this PS3 upgrade is striking. The way light affects objects at a distance and the subtle changes in shading on the character models is stunning. For a series never bound in realism, Out of Bounds produces courses that look better than the real ones in Tiger Woods.
The change to the gameplay is a new swing system. Most player will choose to leave it, and thankfully, the traditional three click swing is still an option. The new option eliminates the power meter, instead using the back swing to determine how hard of a shot you hit. The second step involves hitting X the moment the club makes contact with the ball, determining the hook or slice. It’s definitely more realistic, but you don’t come into Hot Shots for its deep, involving golf. You come for light, casual play.
The standard array of clubs, balls, and characters are unlocked through the single player. Special rules, from a larger cup, special weather conditions, or even forcing the user to use the new swing system keeps the available challenges varied. You’ll rarely be bored on your quest to unlock everything.
Unlocking in single player means you can take your powered up golfer into a unique online scenario. Each lobby is inhabited by mini-avatars. After you create your own, you can walk around the multitude of levels/lobbies chatting with fellow players, setting up a game room, or just wander around the environment. It can be argued this is all overkill, but it gives Out of Bounds its own charm.
There are few surprises here for veteran Hot Shots players. Almost all modern gamers have been here before. However, there’s still life in this formula, with its addictive mechanics that keep you coming back. This is a relaxing and simply fun golf title.