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Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee
  opened by paleface at 04:16:04 10/12/05  
  last modified by paleface at 03:42:46 10/14/05  
  paleface [sys=PSP; cat=Sports; loc=NA]
I don't remember the console version (see entry 379) all that well, but from what I've seen, the PSP version is a pretty close approximation of this somewhat traditional but very precise golf game with cutesy characters. It's particularly impressive how the game models ball physics; you have to be careful where your shot first hits, because if it hits the side of a slope, it will careen off to the side, throwing the end of your shot off. You've really got to watch the wind and the lie and the surface and everything here. This game gets you thinking about how to approach every single shot, and that seems like a good thing to me, at least for a golf game.
Greens are particularly brutal. Even on the very first course, the greens will take your slightest mistake and whip the ball away from the hole, just making you look stupid. Fortunately, the putting interface shows you the lie of the green perfectly; if it didn't, putting would be damn near impossible.
The game seems to have a lot of unlockables, including clothes and accessories for your character that are mostly just for looks, as well as additional courses, characters, clubs and balls. You open these up by, I think, completing putting challenges and tournaments. This gives you a nice feeling of progress, I suppose, but it kind of sucks when, starting the game, you only have one course available until you complete several challenges.
The UI is a little confusing, what with multicolored fields and buttons scattered around the screen, and lots of bright charts and control schemes packed into the PSP's small screen and button layout; it's cheerful, but seems a little ditsy. You could say the same for the voice clips scattered about (did they really need to make the caddy voices so annoying), and for the low-key but repetitive music. Fortunately, the course itself looks quite lovely, and it is a joy to watch replays of your shot arcing like a meteor over the lush fairways. The UI will take some getting used to, but eventually you'll find a wealth of useful information and control at your fingertips. You can even delve into detailed stat histories, replay your best shots, and get into things like super sidespins on your shots, but I'm not really good enough to do that stuff yet.
The game offers Ad-hoc multiplayer action, and the two-player match I played was pretty tense--right down to the last hole, actually. Yes, it is nail-biting golf action. I'm not kidding!
This is a powerful little simulator. It isn't quite as easy to get into as I'd have liked (just give me another frickin' course to look at already!!), and the presentation could certainly be better, but it plays a mean game of golf.
· map.jpg
· pow.jpg
· whiff.jpg
· yuck.jpg
· Hot Shots Golf 3 (PS2)

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