SONY PSP REVIEW: HOT SHOTS GOLF OPEN TEE
I'm sorry but I just find the game of golf boring. I can't think of anything more boring, except perhaps fishing or watching wrestling. I really don't care if you're a golf fanatic, it won't change my opinion. I'll show Von for making me review this game.

Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee must be a pretty good golf game because it also bores the $#!+ out of me. There's just no way this game is going to appeal to me and I can't pretend to like it. Some gamers may be able to extract some fun out of it but I can't. I doubt very much that non-golfers would find this game interesting. I could see playing this as part of a mini-game but I just don't find it very challenging to do something virtually that I wouldn't be interested in doing in real life.

I realize that Open Tee is an arcade-style game and not a sim, which in my opinion would probably be less appealing to the hardcore golfer as well. It's the video equivalent of miniature golf. Having said that I can also appreciate the fact that Open Tee is a solid game with plenty of features including a training mode, multi-player mode and a putt challenge that lets you get some practice putting on various greens. If you're predisposed to liking this kind of game, which I think went out of styles ten years ago, then you'll probably get along well with it.

Control of the ball is regulated by a meter which determines the force and accuracy of your shot. You can also add some spin to it by pressing the D pad to get the ball to roll where you want it. Once you learn the control system, which isn't difficult, the biggest challenge is calculating how to navigate the terrain which typically consists of irregular slopes. This is the crux of the game. Everything boils down to knowing your angles. If this appeals to you then be my guest.

A Challenge mode lets you play various tournaments where you can unlock some new characters and upgrades in terms of clothing, clubs and balls. It a decent diversion that gives some depth to the game. The characters are quirky and provide the most fun for me. The cutscenes are entertaining and if they were made into a full-length animated feature I would consider sitting through it rather than playing this game. These are some of the least annoying anime characters that I've ever seen.

Unlocking these characters takes a lot of gameplay. It's just not worth the effort. It's a small return on your investment since these characters don't have any significant effect on the gameplay. If you're an average gamer you might spend a few hours or days trying to win tournaments just to unlock one character.

There is no online mode but if you can find a few golfing buddies that have this game and a PSP you can play against seven other gamers using the wireless network. While I was unable to find seven other PSP machines I was able to try it out with one and I can tell you that the game worked fine with two players. It should be fine with eight but what do I care? I'll never play it again.

Open Tee looks good but most of the screen is static. It's like looking at a cartoon postcard. There is some background animation such as waterfalls and moving clouds as well as the sounds of bird chirping which gives the game some ambience. It does look relaxing, and once you mix in the boring gameplay I can't think of a better place to take a nap.

I'm not saying that I'm very good at this game, in fact I would probably lose against a blind man but I just don't care to spend the time necessary to become Zen-like with a few simple control commands. It's just not worth the payoff for me anymore than beating my buddies at a real game of golf is.

PReview by Vaughn

It doesn't take a Harvard graduate to realize that Sony is going to entice developers to bring their most popular games to the PSP. With the comparisons in quality between the PSP and the PS2 however, a fine line is drawn between purchasing almost the identical game for the handheld system or just hunkering down with the faithful PS2 version.

Case in point - Hot Shots Golf (working title) for the PSP is currently under development and it looks every bit as good as the PSone and PS2 versions. Will this version have enough under the hood to entice owners of Fore! to shell out more hard earned cash? Sorry, that was a rhetorical question which no one can answer right now.

HSG will feature the same superdeformed visual flair as its console brethren and will also maintain the competent 3 button press control scheme gamers have grown to love. While it appears that the PSP won't be as over the top as Fore! in terms of characters, we have been assured that the sheer number of cosmetic alterations one can perform will be impressive.

No word on a release date but while we won't expect it at launch, Spring is right around the corner (once the PSP is finally released in February). Stay tuned golf fans.

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System: PSP
Dev: Clap Handz
Pub: Sony
Released: May 2005
Players: 1 - 8
Review by Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
2.5
GRAPHICS
3.5
CONTROL
2.0
MUSIC/FX
2.5
VALUE
2.0