Everybody's Golf PSP
Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Clap Hanz
Release Date: Out Now
Everybody's Golf, an introduction.
With the impending launch of a new console everybody identifies games that they think will be the must own launch titles. With the Sony PSP many will have picked games such as Metal Gear Acid, Wipeout Pure, Ridge Racer and so forth but few would have picked out a golf game that has a slightly cartoon appearance to it.
What's the game about?
Everybody’s Golf is an arcade golf game with enough realism to keep everyone happy. Whilst the game does contain single player and multiplayer elements, for many people the game will be a single player affair only. The single player game offers Stroke Play, Challenge Mode, Training and Putt Golf. Stroke Play is a mode for a one-off round of golf. Challenge Mode is the heart of the game and where you’ll unlock all the items, caddies, characters and courses that the game has to offer (we’ll talk a little more about Challenge Mode in a moment). Training mode allows you to practice more fully in that you can redo your shots and select which hole to play on. Finally there’s Putt Golf which as the name suggests is a putting game. The idea is to obtain the required amount of putting points over the course of nine holes. Successfully doing so will earn you some items with which you can customise your characters.
What's good about the game?
Out of the dozen or so games that we’ve been fortunate enough to play on the PSP during its launch period, no other game manages to utilise the console so well. Everybody’s Golf has small load times and during a round of golf the transition from shot to shot and from hole to hole is virtually seamless which is very impressive indeed. Aside from the technical aspects of the game being superb, the game itself is top quality. The developers have eschewed the current trend to use the analogue stick to simulate a golf swing and have instead kept faith with the classic swing method that requires three presses of a button. This was a great decision because it’s a method that suits everyone and also because it would have been fiddly using the analogue stick on the PSP. The best part about the game though is the Challenge Mode.
Challenge Mode is basically an arcade style career mode where you’ll progress through the multitude of levels and ranks unlocking all sorts of goodies on the way. Initially you only have 1 of the available six courses to play on and there are only 2 out of 10 golfers that you can play as. To progress you’ll have to take part in many tournaments and match play games. Some of these will earn you a gold star and it’s these stars that help you to progress through the levels. For instance you’ll need 6 stars at Junior level before you can progress to the Beginner level. Even when a tournament or match play game doesn’t earn you a star there’s usually a worthwhile item to be won. Each golfer can be equipped with various items and some of these items have attribute enhancing effects that are very useful. It’s not just the Challenge Mode where the game shines. The control system works like a dream and the putting system works superbly. It’s not dumbed down like in most games these days and you’ll really have to learn to read the lie of the green if you’re to become a successful player. The learning curve is also pitched just right with the difficulty increasing at a rate that gives you plenty of time to master the various techniques of the game.
What's not so good about the game?
Whilst Everybody's Gold is a top class single player game, it's pretty poor when it comes to providing fun as a multiplayer game unless you have friends who own a PSP and a copy of the game. Basically the game supports multiplayer gaming in a wireless mode only. There’s no Internet play and there’s no option to have a 2 player game on the same console which seems crazy seeing as this has to be one of the few sports where it would be easy to pass the console back and forth and take turns. You can’t have more than one save slot on a memory stick which means if you a friend or relative who wanted to have their own challenge mode game they would have to use a different memory stick, if you try to create a new game it warns you that your current data will be deleted.
How does it look?
If you’ve played other golf games from Clap Hanz you’ll know exactly what to expect from the graphics. The characters are in a disproportionate anime style in that their heads are much larger than they should be making them look like bobble head figures. This may seem comical but it helps to give the players a certain charm that works really well. The courses are nicely detailed and you’ll see rain and snow whilst playing along with the sunshine. White wisps in the air give the illusion of wind blowing quite nicely and further add to the stylish look of the game. As we said earlier, the load times are superb and the presentation of the game is first rate. It’s also worth mentioning that the game automatically records all your best shots such as hole-in-ones and eagles etc. that you can watch again and again.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Deaf gamers will have no problems at all with Everybody’s Golf. All the information and objectives are given in text. There’s no commentary during games, although you do have the odd comment from your golfer as well as your AI opponent and these comments are not subtitled. When you select your golfer and caddie they will also make a comment and again these comments are not subtitled. None of this is really important though. What I like is the way various sounds appear in text. When you putt the ball you’ll see ‘KPLUNK’ appear over the hole and if your ball clips a tree you’ll see the word ‘PFFT’. Should you swing your club just right you’ll see a treble clef appear by your golfer and likewise you’ll also see an exclamation mark appear by the golfer if you’ve made a complete mess of the shot. This is a great way of letting you know visually whether your golfer is happy or disappointed with the shot.
As we said in the introduction, most gamers would choose one of the more illustrious titles to pick up with their new PSP. However, no other game is better in showing you just how good the PSP can really be than Everybody’s Golf. Great presentation, slick loading times and good graphics combined with first rate golfing action make for one heck of a product. It’s also worth noting that Everybody’s Golf is economical in its use of the PSP’s battery and the game seems to last at least an hour extra than most games on the system. However, it’s so addictive that you’ll be playing for hours on end. Only on the multiplayer side of things does the game fall short. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that a sequel will put this right because with a game this good we desperately want one.
Overall Game Rating: 9.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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Without a doubt Everybody's Golf is our current PSP game of choice. The game should have let you have 2 player games on the one PSP but unfortunately it doesn't. Multiplayer niggles aside though, this one's a cracker.