crush or be crushed. As a kid I remember my grandfather spending all day playing golf. I never understood why anybody would want to hit a little ball from hole to hole. But when the original PlayStation released Hot Shots Golf about 10 years ago, I gave it a swing, and it turned out to be great fun.
Hot Shots Golf is back in the console realm once again with Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds. With revamped single player content and improved online play, Out of Bounds brings the series' signature style to the PlayStation 3 quite well.
Out of Bounds biggest addition to the Hot Shots Golf series has to be the new advanced shot. Instead of watching a line move from one end of a meter and back to determine your swing's power and accuracy, you use your character's swing motion as your guide. To determine the power of your shot, you watch your character's upward swing. Players can determine the shot distance by pressing a button when the club glows yellow (for 50%) or red (for 100%). As you swing the club downward, you'll see a circle around the ball. To execute the most accurate shot, players press the X button when the circle is as close to the circumference of the ball as it can get. It'll take a few holes to get used to this new control scheme, but it doesn't take long before you're nailing it and sinking putts with ease.
Out of Bounds offers stroke and practice mode for single players and stroke and match play for up to four players. There's also an online mode where gamers can spend a lot of time. You get to create a virtual avatar character that roams around a 3D clubhouse while waiting for your game with seven other friends, or you can play a tournament with up to 50 players at once. Online play runs smoothly, with every player under a time limit to finish the hole. It also has a feature that allows players to text-chat between holes. The ability to bring your single-player characters online ads to the sleek online game play, allowing gamers show off their maxed-out skills.
Out of Bounds looks better than its Hot Shots predecessors. The characters no longer resemble big headed cartoons. They feel more natural and realistic. But there's still a touch of cartoon style for which Hot Shots Golf is well known. The courses feature wildlife and reactive spectators and look like real layouts instead of levitating chunks of land. There are some occasional bits of slowdown, but they never interrupt important moments in a round.
Out of Bounds aduio track is the same relaxing music that fans have been listening to for years. The classic sound effects for great power shots and great putts are all still here, covering the small details that you'd expect.
While Out of Bounds doesn't really do anything that will change anyone's opinion about the series, it does feature enough improvements in game play and online play that hardcore and casual fans will find a lot to like about the game. As someone who really doesn't like to play "real" golf, I found this game to be a blast.
Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds ★★★★✩
Rated- E for Everyone. Publisher- Sony
Platform- PlayStation 3. Retail- $59.99