Review by Frowdo

Reviewed: 09/08/04

+12 I Win!

Long considered one of the most boring sports in the world, Golf has recently made a big push for gamers lately. With the series’ Tiger Wood Golf, Hot Shots Golf, and Outlaw golf it is by far one of the fastest growing sports on the Playstation. Hot Shots Golf tries to continue this push with it’s latest title, Hot Shots Golf Fore!

Hot Shots Golf Fore! Is the fourth installment in the series. The game uses bright colors, silly characters, and solid gameplay to bring the sport of golf to the masses.

GRAPHICS

First, the courses. They are absolutely beautiful and that might even be an understatement. The fairway and greens are bright green with the rough being a bit darker. The sky is a bright, sunny blue and the trees not only are well made, but actually react to the elements. The major reason in my mind why the graphics are well done is the ambience. Dragonflies fly around, butterfly’s glide around, jet airplanes soar in the sky, and even ants walk around the holes on the courses. Each of these adds life to the game and look great. Even better though is there absolutely no slow down in the game at all. At no time will get you get a feeling of emptiness. Another important part about course graphics would be the water. It is absolutely magnificent. It really looks like real water, very smooth, glassy, and reflective. Every course will be breathtaking and every course is different. You’ll have noticeable changes on each course and won’t have that feeling like you’ve already played the course.

Second, would have to be the golfers and caddies. Every golfer and caddy is really well done and are all very different. The colors of their clothes are vivid and go well with their personality. Each golfer and caddy have a bunch of different outfits and unlocking the new ones is actually rewarding since they are so amazing. Every golfer is very smooth and has great facial expressions. Their look is more Jap Anima Manga style, so if you are into the big eyes and small features you’ll feel right at home.

SOUND

This is the only fault I can really see with this game. Although the ambient sounds are very well done and keep this category from being a total wash out, the character’s themselves really bring this category down. Each character has the exact same reaction when they do the same thing. Get a Birdie with the cheerleader and every time she’ll say, “How do you like me now.” And After a while you might feel the need to actually answer her that you don’t really care that much for her. It can get annoying, but popping in a good CD to listen to and muting the TV might make up for that. Also the Caddies have a few issues of their own, as they also feel the need to put in their 2 cents. However instead of just making comments for your play, they also make the same comments about your opponent. UGH! There is only so many times I can stand listening to the nurse caddy say, “It’s going up like your heart rate.” At least the dog caddy only barks, I can deal with that.

The music for the game is extremely well done, which is another saving grace for this category. Each area has it’s own little musically diddy and is upbeat which fits the game perfectly. On a beach course you’ll get a happy go lucky type of song, while on the Silk Road course you’ll get an oriental type mood. They music isn’t overbearing either so it’s really easy to handle.

GAMEPLAY

From a game that looks so kiddy you might think that this game is overly easy as well. That’s not entirely the case. There is an easy mode that is great for beginners, but the game has realistic physics Wind, elevation, and how you hit the ball all effect it’s movement and make for some fun in the windier courses.

Driving the ball is extremely easy to do. It uses a power meter that you must use the X button to decide how hard you’ll hit it and you’ll need to press it again to make sure you kick it straight. It’s much like a kicking meter in a football game. Some might have issues at first if they are use to using the analog sticks to hit the ball. Putting is also well done. Your caddy will give you tips, you’ll have a grid down that shows you the way and how much the ball will roll, and there is a VERY light line that shows you how your ball will roll.

Of course playing is great, but people like to play for something. In Hot Shots Golf Fore! You are playing for $$$$. The more money you have the more things you can buy from the Golf Store. As you complete more of the game you’ll have more things to buy from the store which includes better clubs, balls, character’s clothes, and hints.

OVERALL

This game is best described as Mario Golf meets Tiger Woods. It takes from Mario character and graphics as for Tiger Woods it takes realism and physics. The marriage between the two is perfect and is a great game for anyone not just golf fans. The gameplay is absolutely addictive. New clothes might not be a big draw for some to unlock, but the gameplay will keep you in. With the 2 mini golf courses you’ll even find something fun to do between trips to the 18 hole courses. Buy this game!

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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