- Lacks touch mechanics
- Character design can grate
Final score: 8 / 10
A working PlayStation Vita
Golf can bring out the worst and the best in a man. This sport is a true judge of character and given the high costs associated with playing the game in the real world, the Everybody’s Gold series has since 1997 allowed anyone interested to simply hop into a cartoonish virtual world and reveal their true nature.
The most recent installment of the series is the PlayStation Vita incarnation, which launches at the same time as the new Sony handheld and uses most of the abilities of the new device to breathe some new life into the franchise.
Development duty has been handled by Clap Hanz, the company that also handled the more recent PSP releases.
I tend to be ultra-cool when it comes to long-range shots, carefully weighting the distances and positioning of obstacles like the bunkers, selecting appropriate clubs and shot power.
As I move closer to the hole without messing up I tend to grow anxious, palms get a little sweaty and I struggle to control my emotions and rarely manage to calibrate my shots well enough.
... and not so good
This means that after quite a few hours of Everybody’s Gold play, I struggle to get above Birdie and more often than not even slump to a Bogey.
This is not in any way the fault of the Sony published game, or of golf in general, it’s just a clear issue with my own personality that emerges as the stress of golfing washes over me.
Judging the wind
Everybody’s Golf is deceptively simple. The player gets to choose a course he would like to play on (the game unlocks more options based on gamer performance for all classes of content), a character to use, a set of clubs and a set of mechanics for the actual drive.
Then it’s only a matter of looking at the course, planning a route to the hole and then executing a number of strokes to reach that point without any incidents.
It is much harder than it looks at first glance. I don’t know how real golf players feel about the level of simulation that Clap Hanz offers, but I have a newfound respect for those who can calibrate a good shot in real life.
There are two ways of hitting included in Everybody’s Golf and both of them require a lot of hours to master, even if the basic system is simple and the game explains it easily.
I had the most trouble with the medium range putting, where I feel like a little more information on where I can place my shot would be welcomed.
When it comes to graphics, Everybody’s Golf clearly isn’t designed for the typical Western gamer. The characters that the player gets to control and the entire look is very Japanese.
After a few hours of play I was growing tired of looking at big round eyes and incredibly green fairways. The cartoon style managed to, oddly, mix well with the very strict gameplay, but the very Eastern design is sometimes hard to stomach.
The voice work can be equally endearing at first and grating in the long term as the various avatars cheer up loudly when I managed to hit a good shot only to audibly gasp every time I manage to screw up an approach shot.
There’s also the option to turn the volume down, but then I am left to hear my own curses generated by hitting another Double Bogey.
One of the more puzzling decisions when it comes to Everybody Golf is its lack of touch screen use. After being well accustomed to its use from both Reality Fighters and Unit 13, the fact that I had to actively use the buttons rather than touch the screen was a little annoying.
Despite this shortcoming Everybody’s Golf might just be the most addictive single-player game for the PlayStation Vita and, together with Wipeout 2048, it makes a perfect pair of titles for the gamer who wants to see what the new Sony handheld has to offer on launch.