Hot Shots 3 PS2
Review by Matt Paprocki SCEA Sports
Graphics: 9 Sound: 5 Gameplay: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Aren't video games meant to relieve stress? I mean, you come home from a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is force yourself to play a golf game of all things. The missed 1 ft. putts, water hazards, sand traps, roughs, and moronic caddies. Is there anything to like? As long as the game is Hot Shots Golf 3, then yeah, a whole lotta things.

Just in case you're - uh - "golf-impaired," the game is played with a little ball that needs to go into a little hole, usually around 400 yards away. Being that this is the only true golf game for impaired golfers, anyone can pick up and play a quick 18. A majority of the time, simply hitting the ball straight off the tee is enough to get it on the green without much challenge. The greens can be difficult to read since the grid is presented by moving dots that indicate slopes and crevices, making this part of the game guess work for the first few holes. Obstacles can hinder the balls line of flight, but blasting it past these usually opens up a direct line to the hole, making the game somewhat more strategic than the first two games in the series.

The meat of the game is the one-player mode which allows players to enter tournaments, challenge other golfers, earn experience, points (used to buy items), and also attempt to beat your own records. Instead of a true "career" mode per se, the game lets potential Tiger Woods wannabe's pick any golfer they choose each time they step on the course. Unlocking these golfers proves to be only a mild challenge until much later in the game, a disappointment that limits the replay value, but could increase the enjoyment of multi-player wars. Some of the items included in the games golf shop are meaningless and only add more things to the courses backgrounds.

Fully polygonal golfers tackle the beautifully rendered courses with ugly looking sprite-based crowds. Guess you can't have everything....Nevertheless, the game is still littered with special effects, most of them have never looked so good on the PS2. The particle effect when hitting a ball out of a deep sand trap is outstanding, the water looks crystal clear, and your caddies animations are hilarious. For a game that doesn't take itself so seriously, the courses look incredibly realistic.

Annoying is the only word that comes to mind when thinking of the games sounds. The ambient sounds are fine (birds singing, crickets chirping, wind blowing, etc.), but the voices simply repeat too many times. With only 6 caddies available, turning off the voices would be highly beneficial. The first few times they're fine, but repeated plays will simply irritate the player. Keeping the music on reveals that only one music track is available while on the course and it repeats whenever a new hole is started. Another feature to turn off when first booting the game up.

The combination of the fast gameplay (18 holes could be completed in 10 minutes!), strategic courses, and likeable characters make this the only golf game that PS2 owners need. The replay value is high enough to warrant a purchase and golf fans have no reason not to pick this one up. Fans of more realistic golf games may not be thrilled, but find me a hardcore basketball fan who didn't like NBA Jam in it's heyday. This is truly "golf for the people" (no, I can't believe I just used a tagline to end a review either).


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Sunday, June 08, 2003 12:00 AM