The Hot Shots Golf series is one of the most iconic sports gaming franchises of all-time. Now it has returned as Everybody’s Golf, which it has famously been known as in Japan.
What’s different about this year’s game is that there’s a heavy emphasis on customization and golfing without limits. In previous installments, you played the game using a roster of cool, quirky characters.
Now, you create players from scratch for the first time in the series’ history. Right off the bat (or club head), the player customization is awesome and fairly deep.
It’s deep enough without being complicated and that’s probably the unique aspect. They were able to create a wonderful player customization system without overdoing the options.
You can choose from everything including height, weight, head size, shirts, pants, hats and even swing styles and player movements. You can unlock more gear throughout the game and it makes customizing your character that much more fun and addicting.
This is the initial thing you do when you fire up EG for the first time. Create your golfing legend your way, and you are off on your journey to world golf domination.
You are teleported to “Golf Island” which serves as your career hub and it’s pretty dope. The island is littered with statues of Suzuki, arguably the series’ most iconic character and it features numerous little areas where you can explore.
The game features more than just golf, and the island tells you this with a couple of neat little options. There’s a road overlooking the ocean, where you can take your golf cart(s) for a test drive, and there are also two spots where you can go fishing as well.
As mentioned, yes, you can drive golf carts around, with different colors and styles available to suit your need for speed on the course. After you finish exploring your new home base, it’s time to start your career.
The career works very similarly to previous installments, as you work your way through different tournaments to build your rank. Yes, there are boss battles (“VS Characters” as they are called) with numerous different characters just like in previous games.
The cool thing is that, when you defeat a boss, you can make that character your own, by using their player model in the golfer customization section. The game will ask you if you’d like to create a character from scratch, or if you’d like to use a VS Character that you defeated.
Select the character of your choice, change his or her clothing if you’d like and voila, you now can play as a VS Character. This is a nice feature, considering fans were upset that there may not be any characters they can unlock and use.
You can customize your defeated foe to your heart’s content. There are numerous creation slots too, so you can still use a defeated boss while still having access to your original player.
Once you’ve taken a break from career mode, you can visit the Open Course for a unique online sports gaming experience. The Open Course is the juice of Everybody’s Golf. After choosing a course, you can freely explore the course at your leisure, where you can ride golf carts, fish, and of course, play golf.
One of the cool things is that there will be items laying around the course for you to snatch. It can be coins, which you can use to purchase items in the shop, gems which can be used towards customizing your clubs and even golf balls and character items (beards, hats, etc).
This open-world environment is something new in golf games or any other sports game. It goes by nine holes, so you can choose to either travel to the front or back nine of a course. From there, it’s all fun.
The only flaw is that you need to progress through the career mode in order to unlock courses for online play. Once you make some moves, you have a solid collection of nines to explore and play.
Furthermore, if you want immediate options, you can purchase the Green Country Club (the very first course to appear in the game’s history back in 1997) and Balatta Country from the 1999 game. These two tracks can coincide with Eagle City Golf Club, which is the first available course in the game.
With that, you’ll have six nine hole courses to play online. Otherwise, you’ll have to grind through career mode to unlock the other courses, but it may be worth it in the end. However, it still would have been nice if all courses were available for online play immediately.
You can participate in daily online tournaments on the courses as well. You’ll be playing alongside other players who are also on the open course with you. When you complete a full, nine-hole round, you’ll receive a reward the following day.
There are also “Lucky Chance” opportunities which pop up at random. When you complete your round before the 20-minute deadline is up, you’ll receive a special reward if you’re lucky. If not, then you’re guaranteed to get gems.
There’s also a fun online mode called “Turf Wars” where the goal is complete each hole on the course as quickly as possible, and it’s played in teams. The teams with the most points by the end of the match win.
On to the golf courses themselves, and there are six of them you can play (after unlocking). Two of them are inspired by world famous courses. Eagle City takes place in EG’s own version of Los Angeles and the course is based on L.A. Country Club which recently hosted the Walker Cup.
Probably my favorite course in the game is the Imperial Garden, which was inspired by the Old Course at St. Andrews. The course is very charming and is a lot of fun to play online while also featuring some of the prettiest fishing spots in the game.
Essentially, each course has a unique setting to suit one’s mood. One course takes place on an island that could be in a place like Hawaii, while there is a desert style course that has some quirky design features similarly to Wolf Creek in Nevada. Finally, there is a beautiful alpine themed course that could take place near the French Alps or in Switzerland.
The two DLC courses bring the course total to eight. Although there aren’t a lot of courses in the game, separating each Open Course by nine holes helps extends the experience. So really, you have 10 courses to explore and play (minus DLC). Plus, with each course being so large, the experience never gets boring.
I personally have logged in quite a bit of hours in the game, particularly on the Open Course. It’s quite an addicting experience, especially when trying to get high scores on each hole. Plus, the golfing mechanics are terrific which is what made the Hot Shots/Everybody’s Golf so popular.
Each course looks very beautiful, and with evening or dawn settings. The shining of the sun is realistic and really adds to each course’s beauty.
The design of each course greatly fit the game, with both quirky and realistic elements to give you a little bit of both, arcade and authentic golf. The challenge of each location also fits the game big personality, with some courses featuring tight, sloping fairways, and intimidating bunker placement.
Overall, Everybody’s Golf is an excellent follow-up from the fantastic Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational. Its rich customization, deep career mode, and addicting online Open Course mode instantly make Everybody’s Golf an amazing game.
The Open Course feature alone will get anyone coming back for more and is a feature that should have been featured on console golf years ago. The legendary franchise has always had fun games, but Everybody’s Golf on the PS4 may be one of the best golf games of all-time and with some more post-release updates, it’ll just add to its greatness.
Final Score: 9/10
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Colin GP Mieczkowski
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