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Review: Hot Shots Golf: Out Of Bounds

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Hot Shots Golf has always been the gaming gift that keeps on giving. It’s transcended many systems from PS1, PS2, PSP and now has arrived on PS3. I can’t call it the perfect golf game because I consider it a serious parody of golf. What I can say however, is it’s the absolute best Hot Shots Golf game in the series.

Graphically the game has not really changed much. The textures are better, the animation is the same and there’s some more detail in the courses themselves. There’s also some HDR lighting that was added to the game for that extra touch but it’s still the same old HSG that we are all used to.

Gameplay in HSGOOB is just as fun as it ever was. Nothing has really changed. If you’ve played either version of the game you’ll notice that you can pick this one up and start hitting the ball like a pro. There is a new swing mode called Advanced Swing Mode. Instead of the rainbow color bar, everything is done by watching the golfer swing and clicking the button at the right points during the swing. You have to eyeball it more but it’s really not hard at all. The ball accuracy is judged by a tiny circle that contracts to a point and then expands. The closer the circle is to the point, the more accurate the shot is.  I did find that putting was a little harder using the Advanced Swing but I got used to it after a game or two.

You can still collect a bunch of items to outfit your characters. There’s everything from sun glasses to cowboy hats. I’m still a little disappointed with the fact that you can’t create your own character from scratch. You are always left with a standard template that can only be changed using accessories. This is one thing that I hope they’ll change in future versions of HSG.

Online play is surprisingly fun. When you go online you have to create an avatar. The avatar, not unlike your golf character, can be modified with different faces, hair, clothing and accessories. The selection is slim pickings but the avatar is just there for you to run around and access online games. The avatar customization is actually deeper than the character customization. Once your avatar is created, you can go online and join one of the many lobbies that are available. Each lobby is a different theme and has different golf games that are being played. When your in the lobby, it’s like a micro version of Playstation Home. You can run your little avatar around and meet up with people and then create a golf game and play together.

When you play online, everyone goes at their own pace. You don’t have to wait to take turns, you just play golf. You can see the others hitting their balls around you as you make your way to the putting green. After everyone finishes the hole, there is a recap showing the current scores. It’s really simple and fast paced. I think HSGOOB will get more online play than any other PSN game of this nature. It’s just a blast to play.

Hot Shots Golf:  Out Of Bounds is a must have for any fan of the series.  It still has the same great gameplay that it’s always had and that’s what makes it such a fun game.  I think if they concentrate on character customization options, downloadable content and maybe Playstation Eye inclusion in the next game, it can only get better.

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