Review by SArmstr0ng

Reviewed: 09/07/04

A Surprisingly Fun Game

Okay look, a lot of people have been comparing this game to EA Sports' Tiger Woods series, so I'll say this: It's no Tiger Woods Golf, but there are some points of Hot Shots Golf: Fore! that are equal to or even BETTER than EA's contribution to the golf world. I'll explain.

The graphics in HSG: Fore! are pretty simplistic. Cartoon-styled characters, big heads with big eyes, big feet, big hands. It's cutsie stuff, not too complicated. The courses are uninspired, none of them really look too different from the next, but they're pleasantly colorful and bright.

If there were one major complaint I'd have with this game, it'd be the sound. This is one of the few games where I suggest turning the lame music off altogether, but the trouble is that when you get rid of the music, the game is eerily silent. You don't have the interesting and often hilarious commentators from Tiger Woods Golf, so all you get is a little bit of a breeze going through the trees, and maybe an errant bird or insect noise. That is, until you hit the ball, and you hear your character and caddy utter about 8 phrases in a 5 second span. Of course, this means the words run over each other...plus, they pretty much say the same thing every hole.

Speaking of which, just what in the WORLD are these people talking about anyway? I'm not sure if the game is poorly translated, or if it was MEANT to be this bad..with characters uttering non-sensical things like:

"Let's drink some ketchup!"

"That's a clean bill of health."

"Balls!"

"Put your left hand on your right knee."

The characters are all pretty much stereotypes of all walks of life. The two asian characters are a Tai Chi instructor and a Samurai (both do flips when excited), the black heavy-set lady caddie talks of "cooking you soul food" and calls you "sugar," but these stereotypes are done poorly at best. If you're going to be offensive, at least do a good job of it.

As for the gameplay (I hate that word, it's so generic), HSG uses the standard 3-click swing. Press X to start the meter, press X again at the desired power, and X one more time to set the impact. And if you find you've over or under-shot your power, you can increase or decrease your power setting by pressing the triangle or circle button (respectively) to set the impact. Plus, you add your spin to the ball before you hit it, and you cannot change the spin once the ball is in mid flight. These areas are what I believe make HSG more challenging a game than Tiger Woods.

In Tiger Woods, you can hit the ball 300 yards with every swing easily, and you also can add your spin in whatever direction you like as long as the ball is in flight. So if you know the ball is sailing 15 feet past the hole, just add backspin moments before it hits the green and the ball will spin back. This takes out all the challenge and guess work of actual golf. HSG: Fore is more like real golf, in that if you make a mistake with your swing, there's no way to affect the ball in mid-flight. You just watch where it goes, and chalk it up as a learning experience. So in HSG, you actually feel accomplished if you hit an approach shot within a foot of the hole, whereas in Tiger Woods, it's pretty commonplace.

Finally, the online mode sounds pretty cool (although I have not had a chance to try it out yet), but it's pretty much the only thing discerning this game from Hot Shots Golf 3. Everything else is basically the same. Good game, but not incredibly imaginative.

Let's hope in the future of golf games, we can find a happy medium between the 3-click and analog swings.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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