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Thursday | December 8, 2016
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Hot Shots Golf: Out Of Bounds

Hot Shots Golf: Out Of Bounds


This is the first title in the long standing Clap Hanz’s franchise to hit the Playstation 3 console and many gamers will be expecting the same accessible yet deep gameplay the prior titles have delivered.
Out Of Bounds brings all the fun parts of the previous titles, yet introduces a new mechanic to play the game as well as obligatory high resolution graphics. Advanced Shot mechanics lets you concentrate on your golfer’s body movements instead of judging your swing with a plain horizontal bar. This adds a certain level of realism to the game, however it is still firmly routed in the arcade genre. This new system involves a three click method. Press X to start your swing then observe your golfers backswing and hit X again when ready to set the power of the stroke. There is a help system in place, a ghosted image of a full power backstroke helps you to decide when you will strike top power. The final stage is when a circle appears and encloses on the golf ball, you then press X again when its fully shut to get an accurate shot.

Those of you who don’t like the sound of this new system will be pleased to hear the old style traditional stroke is still available. I feel the new system works better and it isn’t dramatically different, it just seems more intuitive to be looking at your golfer rather than a bar on the screen.

As I said earlier this game benefits from considerably deep game play yet remains immediately accessible to complete novices. Simply hitting the X button lets you shoot quite well. Advanced players will be able to use the D pad with the button presses to apply backspin, topspin, hook and slice shots. These "aftershot" options are implemented in a straightforward manner, these don’t need to be timed , you just basically move the button with the corresponding option and the game does the rest. Interestingly, each character in the game has different abilities, some will be better with the slice shot for example.

Additionally as you progress through the game the amount of shot options you have at your disposal increases and you can upgrade your characters abilities as well as equipment. You receive new clubs, balls and each has a different positive and negative aspects. Weaker clubs have more accuracy, so it is a case of mixing and matching specific clubs and balls to get a configuration you like the most while remaining competitive with the other players.

There are some RPG elements in the game and for every session you increase a Loyalty bonus. Each additional loyalty level increases character attributes, such as shot power or accuracy. I feel it is a very pleasant aspect to the game and adds considerable depth to the long term playability of the title. Strangely enough while the character prowess in all key areas can be adjusted and improved, there are no real options for tailoring how the character looks. This seems a strange omission and apart from buying a few costumes or adding a caddy to help you, it is limited.

Graphically these characters are well created from the ground up with extremely smooth animations and some fine attention to detail. Equally so, the courses are beautifully designed and while I personally would have liked a higher level of anti aliasing on the courses it isn’t really that noticeable. The courses get gradually more difficult and some of the holes are simply devious in nature! Thankfully the level of difficulty has been well researched and each course gets gradually more difficult as you progress rather than stumping you mid progression. There is also plenty of variety in design which makes the whole game a great, fun experience. The only downside is the fact there are a mere 6 courses, however the variety somewhat makes up for this. Surely they should be able to fit more than 6 course designs onto a bluray disc?

The online aspects of Hot Shots are impressive, you can play up to 50 players in a tournament or 8 in a single game. When you log online you are placed into a 3d lobby style interface and you walk around with your custom avatar and can chat to other human players. The online options are quite varied, with different hairstyles, clothes and accessories, and more. Some of these are unlocked as you play through the single player game.

You can plug in a standard PC style USB keyboard to chat with other people if you wish, however there is no support for voice over microphone which is a shame.

As an online game starts everyone plays at the same time. Not to say its a mad free for all rush for the ball, but everyone is ghosted as they play. You can turn other players off if you find it distracting with the analog stick. Everyone has a time limit for each hole which is a good thing as someone might intentionally just try to hold a game up if they were so inclined. The system works very well and eliminates the need for everyone to watch 7 other players take turns. Surprised I haven’t seen this used before in an online environment.

Recently we have seen some great games being released for the Playstation 3, and it is long overdue. Hot Shots Golf: Out Of Bounds continues the 2008 PS3 success story with another top quality game. Sure it is an arcade style golf game but there is some depth for players who persevere with the mechanics and the system is wide open to allow novices to compete with experts. The strong points far outweigh the negatives and if they had managed to fit double the supplied courses on the bluray disc it would have scored even higher.

Gameplay
92/100

Building on a strong foundation, the latest title in the franchise brings high definition graphics and a new swing mechanic to the table. Great playablity and online options.
Graphics
88/100

Superb character rendering and design with smooth animation and marvellous course design.

Sound
75/100

Quite basic, but a pumping rock soundtrack really isn’t needed for a round of golf.

Value
83/100
This would have scored higher if there were more than six courses with the game. That said, they are varied in design and offer decent long time playability.
Overall
(not an average)
88/100

A strong title, very polished, fun to play with a great deal of options to appeal to both beginners and experts alike.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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