Golf is one of those sports I just can’t imagine enjoying. While I’ve had a bit of fun playing Putt-Putt or adventure Golf, Golf has never appealed to me. Not only is it a sport that requires a fair bit of skill, but it also usually involves carrying heavy bags, walking all over, socialising with others and being outdoors. No thank you.
Still, I’ve had an odd, wavering fascination with Golf videogames. It all started in the ’80s when I was stuck at my dad’s office one afternoon and found EA’s World Tour Golf one of the office machines. I spent the entire day playing what to me seemed a realistic representation of the sport, despite being an odd combination of cyan, magenta, white and black. It fostered a long relationship with games about a sport I could not care less about in the real world.
My favourite series of golf games, without question, has been Sony’s Everybody’s Golf (once known as Hot Shots Golf in the West). It’s an unusual blend of cartoony graphics and mostly realistic physics that’s made Everybody’s Golf so compelling. The series now makes its way to VR, in a package that – like the unusual combination of its disparate graphics and physics – seems a little at odds with itself.
We’ll start with the good though! Everybody’s Golf transfers beautifully to VR, bringing its brand of bright, cartoon golfing to life in a way we’ve not really seen before. It’s also quite cleverly done. It supports the PlayStation Move controller, making it one of the most natural feeling ways to play digital Golf. Instead of there being a risk of your TV being destroyed by a wayward Move controller, you actually play perpendicular to your TV screen, looking to the left if you’re right-handed, and right if you’re left-handed.
It obviously uses just about every gyroscope and accelerometer the controller has to offer, because it’s exceedingly accurate, picking up the angle, inclination and speed of each shot, usually sending the ball in the direction you’re intending it to go. I have a natural tendency to curve my swings to the left, sending the ball spinning right, and you can see that in effect in the game. I can mitigate that by playing the game without doing massive swings, using my momentum at the moment of impact to drive the ball. Before teeing off, you can practise your shot a few times, seeing the angle and inclination of your shots, before “addressing” the ball and hitting it for real. You could use a regular DualShock as well, but that’s a little pedestrian, and you’d lose the magic.
All the different clubs feel and behave differently, as they should. Woods are great for driving the ball for long distances, you can deftly chip the ball with the right club, and the putter is great for straight, soft shots. It’s still every bit as delightful when you manage to send the ball hurtling through the air, and the game rewards you with a “NICE SHOT!” It feels really, really good to play.
There are some nice touches that elevate it beyond just being cute golf, but in VR. Instead of having to look at overt information on the screen, you can press the trigger button to let loose a handful of leaves, showing the direction the wind is blowing. If you’re not up for a serious round of golf, or just want to play an easier, more accessible game then you cans enable tornado mode, which increases the cup size and creates a swirling vortex around the cup that draws the ball in.
Unfortunately, there’s really not a lot of content. There’s no single player campaign mode or even an arcade mode. All there is for you to do is practice your swings and putts on the practice course, or take to the courses for randomised 3 hole, 9 holes in and out and 18 hole games. That’s really it. There are three different courses: a forest, a seaside and one with dinosaurs, and you’ can mirror them and also tee off from further out, but that’s really it. To pad things out, you have to play through each course a few times before ranking up enough to unlock the next one. There is a range of club sets to unlock (As a note, your clubs don’t level up alongside you in this, they’re static sets), along with different caddies and colours for them that you can use as you progress.
There are also little events that happen during play, like your caddie suggesting you take a short cut to the next hole, or your caddie sitting next to you in a golf cart talking about your score, but they’re pointless little bits of fluff that add nothing to the game.
It’s a little disappointing, especially if you were expecting the same wealth of stuff to do you’d find in the regular games. This, really, is all about playing a decent game of golf. I can’t say I mind though; it’s been a blast jumping into Everybody’s Golf for quick 3 and 9 hole sessions, I just wish there was a little more driving me to do so.
Last Updated: May 20, 2019