FirstCuts: Hot Shots Golf Is a Hit

Editor's note: Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds released way back on March 18, but Brian's PlayStation 3 suffered through a meltdown, so here's his slightly delayed review. ↵

↵In the age of extremely realistic sports video games, you need a game that is just goofy and fun every once and awhile. Hot Shots Golf has always been one of those games and the newest edition, Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds is no different. ↵

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↵The first edition of Hot Shots came out for the PlayStation back in 1997 and the game has gotten even wackier over the years. The crazy characters and caddies (15 to choose from) are all back for this edition but compared to other years the rest of the game is completely different (and more fun). ↵

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↵The first thing you notice about the game is the amazing amount of time it takes the game to load onto the PS3 hard drive, but once you see the new layout of the courses it's well worth the wait. Everything still has a cartoonish look to it, but the arrangement is more majestic than in previous years. There are six new courses to play in Out of Bounds, ranging everywhere from the coast and desert to the woods and mountains. The playing environment is so large that you can even use other holes as shortcuts to get to greens in fewer strokes (hence the games' title). ↵

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↵Another new feature and interesting wrinkle of the game is an advanced shot system that focuses on the accuracy of the swing as opposed to the player's power. You have to closely monitor the takeaway and impact zone. While it's tough to gauge the strength needed at first you quickly get the feel of it. The traditional three button swing is available as well, but the new swing is not only challenging but much more fun. Putting and chipping are also based more on feel than power and the layout of the greens punish you for mistakes with sweeping bunkers and beautiful water hazards. ↵

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↵You can still play in Versus, Training, Stroke, Match, and Tournament modes, but the true genius of the game lies in its online stat tracking and tournament community. The game tracks everything from driving distance, accuracy to greens in regulation and putting accuracy. Online tournaments against players around the country are readily available for up to 50 of your closest friends. You can even send messages and/or talk to opponents before, during, and after tournaments. ↵

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↵While the game isn't as realistic as EA's Tiger Woods it's just as fun and sometime even more so. It's a welcome change to play a game that's not only enjoyable and challenging but one that doesn't take itself too seriously. ↵

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↵Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds is now available for the PlayStation 3 for $59.99. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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