Few franchises last as long as Everybody’s Golf, but it’s celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The arcade sports series has been a staple on every single PlayStation platform to date, and its latest edition is by far its most ambitious yet. But after a protracted production cycle, has veteran developer Clap-Hanz managed to sink an albatross with its online-focused open world swing sim?
The triple-clicking action will be familiar to anyone who’s picked up a Hot Shots over the past 20 years, but it’s the wrapping that’s changed. As already alluded, the chirpy title puts a heavy emphasis on multiplayer, with MMO-esque instanced courses open for exploration with up to 50 other players. There are treasure hunts to engage in, fish to catch, and – of course – Par 5s to master.
While the change in focus may frighten single player fans, it actually breathes new life into the brand. You’re still free to navigate the colourful environments on your lonesome if you like, but the game feels busier when there are other people milling around while you tee off. Daily leaderboards are integrated into everything you do, from drives to points tallies to nine hole rounds.
Frankly, even if you resist the urge to communicate with other players entirely, it feels like you’re part of a larger community, which is nice. The open world format also adds cohesion to the courses: holes no longer look and feel like self-contained islands, as there’s a structure to the way everything slots together – you can even career off course, and still land on the fairway of a different hole.
This unique structure is best leveraged by the new Turf War mode, a team-based multiplayer option that sees you working in groups to conquer courses. A kind of Team Deathmatch for folk who prefer flat caps over firearms, you’ll need to work against the clock to rack up as many points as possible by putting pars – or better.
The twist is that you need to manually navigate the greens between shots, so it becomes both tactical and frantic as you attempt to coordinate with your team in order to take on the correct holes in the optimal order. You’ll eventually unlock golf carts which help you to move even faster, and it’s extremely entertaining racing from hole to hole, seguing seamlessly from foot to fore.
But unfortunately, this mode accentuates the title’s head-scratching balancing issues. Simply playing the game increases your efficiency with each club, enhancing your shot distance and control. This means that anyone who’s played the title longer than you have is given an instant advantage, and while it won’t make up for sloppy play, it’s a bit strange that the playing field isn’t even.
More bizarrely, there are many smartphone-esque currencies that litter the entire game. In the Turf War mode, for example, there are warp points which instantly transport you to a hole of your choice. You can teleport three times by default, which in isolation would add an extra dimension, but those willing to spend tokens can warp indefinitely – almost breaking an otherwise ace mode.
To be fair, you collect these tokens around courses, and while we admire Clap-Hanz’s decision not to offer them as paid microtransactions, we still feel that their existence unnecessarily detracts from the mode, as it's clearly intended to be as much about navigation as it is hitting the links. What's the point in running, though, when you can just build up a collection of Warp Tokens and teleport around?
To be fair, any frustration you experience will depend upon the spirit in which you play the game. Despite its cute and colourful exterior, there’s always been a bag of depth to Everybody’s Golf, and that’s definitely true with this instalment again. But it is, by its very nature, light-hearted entertainment – and we found it difficult to get massively irate over any perceived injustices caused by the imbalance of the game.
But if you are feeling hard done by, then you’ll be relieved to learn there’s a single player campaign. This sees you taking on tournaments to earn XP, which in turn unlocks bosses for you to take on. Beating the bosses will not only unlock tons of cosmetic items which can be used on your own character, but will also open up access to other courses in the game.
Unfortunately, this highlights another bizarre issue with the title: you need to grind in solo play in order to open up the courses for multiplayer – both offline and online. We’re 15 hours and some 50 (!!!) rounds in, and we can still only access two of the five courses in the game. This also means we’ve missed out on some of the Daily Challenge bonuses, which is insane.
Essentially, the game holds a new tournament every day, and participating in it unlocks items. These goodies rotate every month, and are perhaps justification for some of the extraneous add-ons available on the PlayStation Store, as it’s clear that Clap-Hanz aims to constantly update the title with new content. But while grinding through single player tournaments to access all of the content is good incentive, the curve seems too steep.
In fact, we’d wager that most people won’t even unlock the final course, which means that its lobby is likely to be pretty empty indeed. And that kind of defeats the spirit of a game that’s clearly designed to be community focused first and foremost. Is it a complete deal-breaker? Well, no, we wouldn’t go that far – but it all just seems strange.
Speaking of strange, the character models are sure to divide. To be fair, the game has a very impressive character creator that effortlessly marries a variety of art styles, from the chibi heroes of the PlayStation Portable days to the more realistic proportions of the Vita. As a whole, it definitely has its moments visually, but aliasing issues and some awful textures make it look dated overall.
Everybody’s Golf reaches the green at eagle pace and then proceeds to ever-so slightly duff the green. Don’t get us wrong, this is still an extremely enjoyable arcade golf game with some brilliantly original ideas, but there are some bizarre design errors which seem to weirdly imbalance the game. Pair that with an unreasonable progression system and you’re left with a title that needlessly undoes a lot of its own hard work. At the end of the day, you’re still going to extract hundreds of hours of top-notch entertainment from this title – but save for a few silly oversights it could have been essential, and that’s a damn shame.
I gonna get the game anyway i love the series.
Destructoid is raving over it
I don't get it. Why not wait until everything is sorted out and then post the review?
I know Sammy was hugely hyped for this so its sad he had minor troubles with the game. That being said still sounds like fun and if one of my friends buys it ill gladly give them a game. For me though Golf seems like a very sexually deviant sport ala Tiger Woods. I am a wholesome kinda guy. Ill watch adults punch and kick each other in the face thank you very much.
If it still has all the charm and cheeriness of classic Everybody's Golf then I'm all in.
Mine arrived this morning. I'll get onto in in a couple of hours. Since Solo play was pretty much the default, I'm not overtly worried about the long wait / grind for the mp. Though it would be a frustration and disappointment if it takes too long
After the last Everybody's Golf each Gen I say 'Never again' But always get the next one. I only say Never again because it gets really hard the courses near the end. Which drive me NUTS
Got it last Friday , it's fabulous.
@Flaming_Kaiser Definitely get it. It's a great one, just some oversights.
@naruball Well, I could have awarded a score and felt I've played more than enough to review it. But given the nature of the game and particularly the microtransactions not being available while I was writing, I decided to hold back the score.
I sure wish they could spread out some of these releases. I definitely want to play this game.
@get2sammyb Yeah, I get that and I appreciate it (IGN and the like annoy me with their factually incorrect reviews), I just think that posting it a few days later wouldn't change much (other than traffic, I guess).
I mean, weren't there hands-on articles for games that the team hasn't finished yet but wanted to give an update before the final review?
It looks beautiful in the aerial view screenshots, I'll definitely be playing this at some point. 'Flat Caps Over Firearms' sounds like a northern folk singer's anti-war protest album.
I've been playing this since Saturday and have been enjoying it so far (btw it's my first EG/Hot Shots game). Have only been playing single player so can't comment on MP yet, will give it a go tomorrow when there are more players online. Be warned - there's a 7gb day 1 patch for it.
@naruball @get2sammyb I think it's a great review. At least he's honest about what he's seen so far in the game. The score isn't that important anyway, the viewpoint is what counts.
Any Pushsquare visitors (regulars or not) can make their own minds up after reading that if they are desperate to pick the game up.
I'll probably pick this up, answered most of my questions I asked in a previous article. For $30 not bad.
Never played a Hot Shots golf game. Heck, I've never played any Hot Shot games. I'm glad I finally get the chance.
Hate you all. Still waiting for it to allow me to start the game as I preordered from the PlayStation Store.
This could be great with motion controls.
@get2sammyb Can you unlock different swing meters like in the Vita game?
Only ever played a bit of Mario Golf so this may be right up my street.
8.7gb to load then 7.5gb update file. zzzzzz
@ApostateMage No, just the triple-click.
Added a video review. Enjoy!
@get2sammyb Thanks for all of the hard work you do for us.
Something I noticed on PRO is that the 4K and HDR options are turned off by default. I played all weekend before finding out accidentally that there were extra options.
Game overall is awesome, but the progression is a little plodding I feel. My main gripe is with the dumb rules it applies to some of the character matches where, for example, you are forced to use megacups so the scores you achieve don't count as 'official' scores.
The worst one by far was a round where I was forced to use the automatic hit method of play. It was so stupid as I had already beaten maybe 6 opponents by that point so I clearly didn't need my shots being taken automatically for me.....really frustrating design choices at times in this title.
Bah. Always been a big fan of the series (the Vita version is perfection) but the balancing issues do sound very off-putting (wahey!) to me.
@ericflapjack Haha, no problem.
what's with the weird naming of the series? it's a complete mess.
@manu0: Hardly. Its only just had 2 names; Hot Shots Golf from the West, from back in the day when localizers didn't care as much as they do now, and Everybody's Golf. Its now known in ALL regions as Everybody's Golf, that's all.
Sony united the brand under the name they feel represents it better, and since its casual, colorful, charming and accessible - a game literally for every demographic - its hard to argue that Everybody's Golf isn't a much better name than Hot Shots.
Its the same kind of thing as Princess Peach changing from Princess Toadstool, or Eggman changing from Dr. Robotnik (though, his official name is still Dr. Ivo Robotnik. No one just feels like addressing him as such)
Its not that big a deal, man
@TruthfulVoice i wasn't actually referring to the US/EU name difference (that happens with a number of games!) but to the weird naming of the games in the series..ESPECIALLY in Europe (to a lesser extent also in the US). Everything is fine up until the third entry...but then they named the fourth entry just Everybody's Golf, the fifth Everybody's Golf: World Tour and then BACK to Everybody's Golf (for PS3 AND Vita) and now the seventh is also named that. So you've got FIVE games that are named just "Everybody's Golf". That IS a complete mess!
edit: just saw that you're from the US and thought that it was named Hot Shots in the west. It was only named that in the US, it was always Everybody's Golf in Europe (but in contrast to Japan with the completely messed up naming as explained above!)
@manu0: Ah, I get ya - was unaware of that. I've heard alot of people on sites complain about the name change lately and I guess I'm just queued up to explain that by default at this point
I also do say West when I mean North America a lot, I guess. Don't like to ignore Canada and go too big, perhaps?
Yeah, now that you've explained the EU situation, that is kind of a mess and I can see what you're saying, lol
This sounds great despite the minor flaws!
I'm not interested in the multiplayer too much. If it has the same challenge mode in single player as the previous titles I'll be happy. I don't really like the RPG elements though; leveling up a club seems weird. You should just get better naturally from practice not be rewarded for grinding.
@Lovespuds PS4 Pro settings were on by default on mine. Weird.
I couldn't resist launching it before the update had finished, maybe that had effected it? No biggy any way, the game is awesome fun.
Updated review text and added score.
I had a weird thing happen today, when I first popped the disc in, it started downloading the update and the disc. I left it on and walked away, only to come back 15 minutes later and it was completely gone. I moved the icon to a folder beforehand, it was gone, no mention of the update, gone in storage. So i popped the disc out and back in, and it started the whole thing over again. Very weird. Or I'm hallucinating.
You guys seen abit harsh with reviews lately compared to other reviewers.
Had my first go of the game last night, the gameplay is still as solid as ever which is the main thing, so pleased about that.
However, I really do miss the higher quality looking characters from previous games in the series, these new looking characters just look so poor IMO.
In fact I seem to remember the last PS3 version (the one that had a trophy list) was a better looking title all round than this PS4 version and I'm even playing on a Pro with all the best possible settings, so that's a bit of a let down.
Getting back to the characters looks, I think the trouble is that the fun characters have always been a major part of the series so seeing them look so MEH! in this PS4 version is a bit of a shock to the system.
Top Tip: If ya smashing the tournaments, play on "Serious Mode", it doubles winnings and XP, which helps push progression quicker
Played it most of the evening last nite and I have to say, once you get past the grindy nature, its a fun game.
The core machanics are spot on and the levelling of clubs is a neat idea. However I would agree with the review. This is not as fun as the last Vita version I played for instance.
The multiplayer could do with a bit more to it and despite the Turf Wars being a decent idea, its a little meh, after a few games and despite there being plenty of people around, the "interaction" is a little limited.
The core single player game is something I am gonna persevere with, just for the gameplay alone, as I am personally enjoying it, but I can see how the slow progression, especially early on, could put newer players off.
Also I have to say, I have beaten five sets of bosses (3 per level) so far and I have only failed to beat one, once, which is a little disappointing...
@naruball - unfortunately this site no longer posts articles that are prescient and on the money, and this Editor is happy to just do as he feels re clivkbait articles and posting of reviews minus a score then posting another review...with a score. Or worse, screwing over his colleagues with vain, irrelevant "I don't like this game" articles a day before his colleague posts a review.......RIP Push Square.
The review itself is poor, but keep an eye out for his petulant retaliations which are a blatant abuse of being an 'Editor'....
....it must be the thought process he had every time Taylor Swift successfully sues for 'unwanted advances', thinking 'I'm next' 😬😬😬
@Galvatron You used to be fun
@kyleforrester87 - Galvatron is still an arbiter of fun, he just loses patience with arrogant, flawed Reviewers who abuse their position and insult our intelligence.......
...rest assured, I'm still fun, just wrangles my circuits is all 😏
It's so not a 7 dude.
Anyway, I'd like to see a more in depth guide. Where's the hybrid clubs for hitting out of the rough? How do you tap in when you're close to the hole? How many different clubs and ball sets are there? Etc etc.
@Galvatron your intelligence is artificial
Curious if anyone can tell me if I get this game 3 to 6 months from now, if you think I will be in too much of a hole to compete with others. And yes I know the object is to get the ball in the hole .
@kyleforrester87 - I successfully passed the Turing test, so reject your claim.
Given that I've been posting on this site for 5 years, your deduction is not only incorrect, it is in defence of the indefensible 😬
I'd buy it now personally
@get2sammyb Sammy you can buy Warp Tokens from the store. You buy a Special Ticket and exchange that for 10 Warp Tokens.
I have been a fan of the series and for me the PS Vita version was the best. As for this version I find it appalling that a game dev will leave content out that could and should have been included in the finished game, just to sell them as DLC. I also find appalling that on the 20th anniversary, instead of thanking fans of the series with a complete package Clap Hanz force feed us with micro-transactions. €5 and €6.5 for an extra course (there are two available), €2 for a character expansion slot, between €3 and €5 for a buggy and €1 per Special tickets (10 Warp Tokens)? This is how Clap Hanz repays loyalty? Sure you can enjoy the game as is, but for ethical reasons I will not be buying it. I don't want to reward Clap Hanz for choosing this "pay to win" model, especially on the anniversary of the series. A shame because I was really looking forward for this one.
How come on everybodys golf when triple hitting the X button I have to hit it early to get it to stop where I want. If I hit it on the spot I want the bar goes way by all the time. Is it my controller or is it a stupid game flaw.
Tap here to load 53 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...