Developer: Clap Hanz
Release Date: 2/15/2012
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The Good: Beautiful visuals, great ball physics, lots to unlock and plenty of courses, easy to pick up and play
The Bad: Shot meter is overly sensitive, courses are extremely difficult from the start, no way to restart holes, requires a lot of grinding to unlock items
Hot Shots Golf has always been a solid golf series for PlayStation owners since the wee days of the PS1. While it provides cartoony visuals the game is very close to a real golf simulator as you can get. The game has easy controls, fun gameplay, and amazing original courses.
World Invitational doesn’t deviate too far from the already familiar formula. You can create a character and customize every aspect from hair decorations to shoes. Unlocking new items requires meetings certain conditions during the career mode and it gives you something to do and shoot for. Once you get out onto the course things are still quite familiar, and you start to realize why this is the best golf game on the Vita.
The standard golf game affair is here from zooming to the hole, seeing wind speed, checking your lie, and even changing your swing and clubs. Controls are very easy and the swing meter is actually customizable. There are several different types of various different players. You have unlock swing meters, which is strange, but my favorite is the three-step meter. Set your power and then your accuracy is the easiest way to go. I found that this game has an overly sensitive swing meter no matter which you use and it’s very hard to get a perfect swing, more so than most golf games. Courses are also very difficult right off the bat with crazy doglegs, narrow greens, and crazy wind conditions. This is actually the hardest Hot Shots Golf game I have played and it will turn casual players off due to the difficulty.
The game is also grind heavy and unlocking items takes forever, I actually couldn’t advance very far in the career because of the difficulty and unlocking new clubs and earning enough coins just becomes discouraging. There’s no way to restart holes or courses as you have to quit and go back in which is a huge downer. I would start out poorly and by the 5th hole I would want to restart but you have to lose all your progress. This grind heavy playstyle is just a huge turn-off and acquiring trophies in the game is nigh impossible without having a high-level character.
The graphics are amazing with awesome ball physics, beautiful lighting, and great models. All this is nothing if you get frustrated early on in the game, and it’s not just me. I had a friend buy the game shortly after me and even playing online is quite hard and we quickly got frustrated with the game. Occasionally I would go back and try again, but getting to the 15th hole and screwing up big time sucks as you have to quit and start over. There’s not point in finishing because you know you’re going to lose. If you could restart holes this alleviates a majority of the frustration from the game.
As it is, the game is nice to look at, easy and fun to play. Grinding to unlock new items, upgrade your character, and not being able to restart holes makes this quite a frustrating game. The overly sensitive shot meter takes away from pure skill and the courses are extremely hard to play right from the start. I can only recommend this to hardcore golf players despite the audience this series normally aims for.