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Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational
Platform: PlayStation VitaChange
Price:$12.49+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2012
There's nothing like unwinding with a game of virtual golf, and there's nothing like having it on a portable device so you can fling the handheld at your cat when you miss the winning putt because this game, this game, urg, it makes me so damn mad!

And then I'll play another round.

Hot Shots courts you initially with its whimsical charm, easy-breezy graphics, and pick up and play accessibility; however, once you slip the ring on, forget about it. It starts demanding impossibilities; it wants you to wear clothes that are unreasonably expensive, it wants you to buy the newest clubs, even though you don't need them -- I don't need them, why do you want me to buy them?? And before you know it, you're buying pictures of people you don't even care about; music you can't listen to because it's been disabled, and time spent you'll never get back ... you'll never get any of this time back.

Hot Shots doesn't care.

In short, do you like addictive games? Are you the person that needs to own every outfit, even if you don't play the character? Do you like mastering gameplay mechanics that are affected by variables outside of your control? Me too! You'll love Hot Shots golf, even if you don't like watching golf, or playing Tiger Woods. It's more Golden Tee and Neo Turf Masters, which is a good thing.

They're seven ranks to climb, match play, training, and my favorite, online play, where you can doll up your avatar with goofy nonsense no one should care about, or hop right into the daily tournament and see how you fair against the world's top players. If you're anything like me, the answer is poorly.

Anyway, you want to buy a new game for your beautiful Vita, don't you? I know you do. That's why you're reading this, justifying the purchase. Do it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2012
For a little perspective, the first iteration I played of Hot Shots Golf was `Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee,' and since then I have gone back and played a few of the PS One Classics and have purchased every version of the game since. I feel this is important for you to know where I am coming from so you know where I am coming from and if my likes are similar to your own.

For my money, up until this version of Hot Shots Golf, I have to say that Open Tee 2 was probably my favorite, because it was the largest and had the greatest level of customization and the largest number of different courses to play. This game is an arcade-realism golf game, and the series has never come too close to taking itself too seriously. A great deal of the fun is found in absurd challenges and often silly visual customization.

GRAPHICS *****
Now I have heard a lot of people say that looking at a Vita is like looking at a PS3 in the palm of your hand. While this is not exactly true, this game does look between 80 and 90% as beautiful as the PS3 version (which was stunningly the only PS3 version so far). The characters are beautifully rendered and their outfit/costumes have a good deal of detail to them and beautiful textures. This game has pretty, soft lighting and decent shadows. If would have to really look for something to complain about. The game is pretty and it runs like a dream.

CONTROLS *****
The controls in this game are pretty basic, as they always have been, but however you want to arrange it or look at it, I can say "Remember the control style from that other Hot Shots game that you liked; its in here." The designers do a good job making sure you have everything that you liked from the other games, not that I ever thought it made too much of a difference. I think the navigation, club selection, etc was always done in a pretty intuitive fashion, so there isn't really much to say on this other than the game handles well and predictably.

SIZE/SCOPE/DESIGN ****
There are almost a dozen characters in the game and almost half a dozen courses. As far as the scope of content that is given to you in this game, it is actually towards the lower end for most Hot Shots Golf games. I have to believe this is, in part, so they can sell you more stuff through DLC--a subject a lot of gamers have mixed feelings about, myself included. That said, the gameplay that is included is going to give you quite a lot of replayability. The courses all have their typical mirror/long-tee variants, and there are lots of things to do. The challenges will likely take you well over 100 hours to complete, and none of the courses that were included in this version were the type that just annoyed the heck out of me--typically there would be 1 or 2 courses I did not enjoy in previous versions--and there is enough content here that I can't say they are holding back the full product just so they can nickle-and-dime you to death on the PSN. Long and short of it, the size of this game is certainly acceptable, nice even, but I feel like there should have been just a little more.

VITA-ISMS *****
Whenever a new system comes out and people start making games for it, I personally worry that the new toys are going to get in the way of the fun factor. As a simple example, I like the 6-AXIS controller in theory, but most of the time, I really don't want to tilt my controller this way and that way for things I feel like I should be able to just do by pressing, possibly repeatedly, or holding a button. For instance, turning valves in Killzone 2 did not enhance my enjoyment of that game, although shooting arrows Matrix-style in Heavenly Sword was neat. I would characterize myself as an often 'stoic' gamer. I don't want to wave my hands around if I don't have to. Just let me stare at the screen like a marbles statue, and if I want to do that stuff, I will load up something on the Playstation Move.

What does Hot Shots Golf do with the Vita's gyroscopes, accellerometers, and touch screens? Surprisingly very little or nothing that will annoy anyone. I would say in almost every case, the controls they added for the Vita actually enhance your experience. Dragging your finger across the back will put a pointer out on the course. A line will measure back to your ball placement and give you the yardage to that point, and another line will extend towards the hole and give your yardage to the pin. Very neat. Rubbing your finger along the front face doesn't usually do much other than make your character wave at you or rustle trees. You can pinch the character--using front and back touch pads--lift them and drop them left or right in tee box. This is actually really nice because sometimes that few feet right or left changes the way you would want to play your tee shot and it is a first for the series. As far as the motion sensing, you can use this to give the ball a push when using a power-stroke and it might add a few yards to your drive.

ONLINE
Last but not least, Hot Shots Golf can be played online. They have a lobby system and a few different types of games, including daily online tournaments. Its pretty neat, and a little different than it was before. I can't say this is much of a draw for me, so I won't judge how well I think they did with its implementation, but it does add hours of potential fun for people who want to see how their skills match up to people all over the world. The only thing really worth adding is that if you don't buy this game first hand, you will need to buy an online pass that is $9.99 from the PSN.

CLOSING THOUGHTS
I have to say that I can't stop playing this game. For me, Hot Shots Golf is a perfect on-the-go sort of game. It is not overly complicated, and it has good stop-and-go functionality with the Vita system, as well as being the type of game that you really only need about 10 minutes to play something. The game is beautifully rendered and has all the functionality that you would hope for in a Hot Shots Golf game. With the added functionality of the Vita controls, I have to say this is probably my favorite rendition of the game yet and I would encourage anyone who is at least a passing fan of golf to take a look at this game.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2012
Perfect for the vita. I have a hard time putting this game down. I bought 3 games at launch Uncharted, little deviants, and Hot shots. I like them all but this is the one I just can't put down. Loads of fun and a perfect portable game. I would hate to pay 40 bucks for it but I feel it's worth the 29.95 I paid..
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2012
I've always been a fan of the Hot Shots Golf series, and this game doesn't disappoint. It's one of my favorite games on the PS Vita so far, and I've definitely gotten more than my money's worth.

If you're unfamiliar with the Hot Shots Golf series, it's been around for more than a decade. Unlike the Tiger Woods series of golf games, Hot Shots Golf goes for a deliberately cartoony, over-the-top visual presentation. Don't let initial impressions fool you, though - the underlying gameplay is deep and can be very challenging. This game still sticks with the old-fashioned three button press system for hitting golf shots (push once to start swing, push again to set power, push once more to hit accurately), with the usual additions of allowing you to impart spin and extra power. The single-player part of the game primarily consists of a series of 40-something 9 or 18 hole events across the game's 6 different courses. A good portion of the events have modified rules to keep things interesting (maybe you get extra strokes if you hit in bunkers, maybe it's windy and rainy, etc.), and all the events have an optional bonus objective which usually is considerably more challenging than just winning the event.

The game starts easy enough, but near the end both the courses and the scores you need to shoot on those courses become very challenging. Some of the optional objectives are even harder. If you read mainstream reviews of this game, many critics have negative opinions about the game's difficulty, but I think a lot of those critiques are off-base. The difficulty ramps up slowly, so you have plenty of time to master the more advanced techniques you need to finish the latter stages of the game. If you are skilled, you can win all events without luck - just like in real golf - although luck at certain key moments doesn't hurt. There's certainly no luck involved in hitting good shots: if you have good timing, the ball goes where you ask it to go. Most importantly, the game provides all the tools necessary to help you improve and overcome the most difficult courses. There's a practice mode which allows you to play any hole an indefinite number of times with any conditions you like, so if certain holes (or even certain shots on certain holes) are giving you a lot of trouble, just experiment and practice to your heart's content until you figure out how to best approach that hole. Good shot selection becomes as important as execution by the end of the game, so don't be surprised if you have to experiment with different shot shapes and clubs to figure out how to play the hard courses (especially the final course) in a reasonable manner. Every time I failed to win a tournament, there was always something I could improve on.

I wouldn't say that any of the touch-screen or gyroscopic capabilities of the PS Vita add anything useful to the gameplay, but they don't detract from the game either. The graphics are fantastic, and the audio is, for the most part, well done. Each character only has a small number of catchphrases, so it can get a bit repetitive to hear them saying the same things over and over, but that's just a minor quibble. A 9 hole round only takes about 10 minutes to play, so you can get a quick session in while on a car (if you're not driving!) or during a lunch break. In any case, if you need to stop playing immediately, you can always put the PS Vita to sleep in the middle of the round and then wake up the PS Vita later.

Considering how few courses there are, the game lasts for a surprisingly long time. If you want to 100% complete the single-player and unlock all of the items in the game's shop (there's equipment, music selections, art, additional outfits for characters, etc.), expect to put in at least 40 hours. The game does a good job of constantly providing you with rewards, so you always feel a sense of progression, even if you're having difficulty winning events. There's also a multi-player component, although it basically consists of playing a round by yourself and then posting your scores to a global server. You can also play with friends locally, although I never had the opportunity to try this feature out. Then again, in real life golf is ultimately a solo game, so it's not too surprising that the multiplayer is a lot like the single player.

Are there any negatives to the game? There are a few minor improvements which I think would make the game more enjoyable. It'd be nice if there were more courses - 6 isn't really very many, although fortunately none of them are similar to each other. And if you've played a lot of Hot Shots Golf in the past, don't expect anything dramatically new here. Nevertheless, on balance, Hot Shots Golf is a lot of fun. It's a polished, deep, challenging game with a good amount of content. If you enjoy playing golf in video games, definitely give this game a try.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2012
Gameplay 5/5
While I do enjoy a game of Golf in real life here and there, I am by no means even remotely close to good at it. I much prefer to play my golf indoors in the electronic format, and as silly as some of this game is it really captures the spirit of a good golf game. You don't play as known pros or even on real courses instead you have 14+ different players each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Some can hit really far but end up slicing or hooking the ball too much while others have a much easier time hitting the fairway, just not very far.

The game is easy to learn and difficult to master (Hey just like Real golf!). You start out with only basic Clubs, Balls, Characters etc... and as you play through the games challenge mode you get points you can then use as currency to buy things at the shop as they unlock. The bought items can change how your play style works from adding more shot distance at the cost of control, or giving you better control over the spin of your ball over impact etc... As you play through the Challenge mode you eventually unlock a vs. match with another character, beating them unlocks the next level of challenges as well as the ability to purchase that character from the shop.

As for the actual game of golf itself, I feel this game has really brought together all that makes golf great (And yet EXTREMELY frustrating). You can be having a great round but one bad shot and you can end up aging 5 strokes to your score you didn't intend to and ruin your entire round. But this is not the games fault; if you hit the ball poorly it's because you the player messed up or used the wrong club. Not once has the game lagged and caused me to fail, or done something it shouldn't to mess my ball up. Golf is a sport of patience and accuracy, set up your shot and takes your time or you will end up in the sand. As you progress you will learn how to put spin on the ball to manipulate it to go around trees or stop rolling once it hits the green etc...

Multiplayer 5/5

I don't normally play multiplayer anything, but this game has done something quite magical with it's online play. There are two ways to play the game online, there are daily tournaments and lobby mode.

Daily Tournaments
These are basically exactly like the challenge modes in Single player accept you are against other players. You play alone and your score is uploaded to a server, at the end of the day you get a rank based on your score in comparison to the others, and you get Tournament points based on the rank. Those points are turned into curreny points to buy things at the shop, and your online rank will change. There are three tournaments every day, A Front nine, a Back Nine, and a full 18 hole tournament.

Lobby Mode
This works slightly differently. You enter the lobby and you can see other players walking around. Here you set up a tee time (say 8:15pm) you then log into the game at 8:10pm to prepare for your match. Then each player (up to 30) all play the hole at once. You are given 3 minutes to finish each hole. Once your done you wait until the time is up and can talk with the other players, congratulate (or berate) others for their play and continue on to the next hole. Obviously the player with the lowest score wins. These tournaments also come with sets of rules, some have unlimited Power shots, some say using a power shot adds 2 strokes, and others limit the level of player your allowed to use (novice only for example). All of these combine to create an enjoyable and so far friendly atmosphere in the game, I really enjoyed my time playing online.

Graphics 5/5
The Courses are custom built, meaning that they don't exist in reality and were designed by the game makers. They are beautifully made and while the avatars are cartoon-ish, they also look very well done, along with an array of different outfits and unlockables to go with them.

Vita based Controls:
This game uses the touch screen and rear touch screen but very rarely. The touch screen can only be used to... rather dully navigate the main menu (I just use the buttons not the screen). The Rear touch pad actually is far more useful, and one of the better uses of that technology. As your aiming your shot you can rub your finger along the back of the PSV and you can see where the ball would land if you shot it to the spot where your finger is at the time, as well as the distance of the next shot you will need to hit, it has become quite useful in determining where I want to drive the ball. I don't like using the front touch screen for anything in a game apart from basic menu navigation so this works really well for me.

Final Thoughts:
I love golf, and I love how this game's multiplayer works as well as the ability to buy and unlock more things as you progress in the game. It's a fantastic addition to the PSV lineup and I have found myself playing this game more than any other I have for the Vita so far.

Overall Score 5/5
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2012
I love Hot Shot Golf ever since the first PSP version came out. The PS3 one was okay but it had no customization with the character's look to make them unique. Now the latest one for the PS Vita; it plays the same but with some touch screen features. From beautiful graphics to challenging courses this game is a must buy. The customization is not as vast as the PSP one because the character model are more "proportional" (i think that's the word to describe it). Every character has their own clothing. Things you unlock are not available until you spends some points for it: such as clubs, golf balls, clothing, new caddies, and even character.
The only thing that bothers me is the "crown" achievements. I am not sure if there are instructions somewhere in the game that tells you how to get them but it seems very frustrating to get a -10 game and no crown for working so hard. Also, there is no booklet of the game when you buy the physical copy, but all the instructions are in the game (eh....).
Overall, a very fun and addicting game. If you though golf was boring, this will make you think otherwise because once you start playing it you don't want to put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2012
excellent sound, graphics and game play. I paid $30 from Amazon and now see its $40 so I'm glad I picked it up when I did. The game feels like the psp version on steriods, bigger, brighter and better. The difficulty is good as it gets harder as you go further. So far the Harvest course is where i'm at and is more challenging than the first two courses you'll come across. Well worth the price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2013
This is a fun game. You shouldn't have too much trouble obtaining starts. But if you want to obtain all the crowns, good luck. It's almost next to impossible. It's very difficult and requires precision to obtain crowns for courses. So if you are the type that likes to achieve everything in a video game, be warned.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2014
NUTSHELL: As beautiful as the game is (probably the best yet), the frustration might outweigh the fun for non-fans, and the Hot Shots faithful will have to put up with a lot to get what good there is in this installment.

I've played Hot Shots since the PS2 games, so I'm not a novice to the game. There's never a shortage of frustration in these games when you get to the more difficult stages, but this one seems to have more than its share. That is in part due to the shortage of content, and seems clearly designed for mobile market, not consoles. Significantly fewer characters and courses than past installments made for consoles.

UNLOCKABLE CONTENT is relatively limited compared to past games, with essentially two outfits in a selection of very similar colors for everyone. Still, there are some unique and great combinations to be found, just would have wished for more (again, a little more like Pangya did it.)

"Easy" mode is poorly conceived and executed. All it does is reduce the difficulty of the opponents, and even that is often not to such a great degree. In tournaments, that's not much of an issue, as those tend to be easier anyway. But enough of the character versus matches or certain rule restrictions can get frustrating. Better would have been to make some of the mechanics easier, i.e. a boost in selected or all stats (something the deep content PSP golf game from South Korea, Pangya, did well). The mode will make some of the "crowns" more accessible, but still will not be "easy" for many players.

The COURSE DESIGN has always gotten steadily more difficult in a very forced kind of way through the series, and they follow suit here, making it some of the most frustrating golf yet. Presumably to try to get courses to challenge the best players out there, they've made some annoying choices in course design that makes some holes just plain no fun. With online play so common now, there shouldn't be a need to try and make the offline/single-player experience SO challenging.

On the plus side, after having put in many enjoyable hours on Open Tee 2 on PSP (as well as previous Hot Shots games), the GRAPHICS are impressive, not only in quality, but in certain presentation styles and much more natural lighting. Definitely a beauty of a game. This was where I was underwhelmed with Open Tee as compared to Pangya. Open Tee had prettier courses, but Pangya had much better looking and more interesting characters.

Also welcome is much more choice in shot style, with four different meter styles to choose from, including the classic bar gauge.

The CHARACTERS for Wold Inv'l are just as stereotypical (bordering on offensive) as the series seems stuck in portraying as ever, the caddies worse than the golfers. A few of the voices are pleasant enough, if not really entertaining, but too many are either irritating (most of the caddies) or just inexplicable (Xiao Ling's quite un-Chinese non-accent). Notable exceptions are the Aussie(ish) Grace, Native American caddie Langundo; all other caddies are too annoying, and only a few other golfers are at least endurable.

PLUSES:
+ Probably the most beautiful Hot Shots yet
+ Should be some golfers and courses for just about anyone to enjoy
+ Classic Hot Shots style play and presentation
+ Best variety of shot mechanic style of any arcade golfer game
+ Some (even if not enough) nice outfits and costumes

MINUSES:
- Light on content
- Course design continues to get more unnecessarily challenging, as does some AI and rule restrictions
- Might only be one or two golfers/caddies and two or three courses that many players will *really* enjoy
- "Easy" mode not as helpful as it should be
- Character design still so stereotypical that some might almost call it racist
- Stereotypes aside, the voice choice and acting is still mostly not as enjoyable as it has been in the past
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2012
World Invitational is just what you'd expect from a Hot Shots Golf title. It has the character, gear, outfit & course unlocks that we all expect from the series. It has interesting courses that draw you in with good design, challenging alternate shot options and plenty of themed scenery. The characters are the usual spread of skill mix to let you find the one that fits your game. So while it is exactly what I expected after Open Tee and Open Tee 2, that is also the problem that faces the game; there just isn't much that is new. It doesn't make it a bad game and I have dropped hours into it since the Vita's launch, but it suffers much like each new incarnation of Madden NFL or MLB the Show does; it may be new but it is mostly just more of the same. The saving grace for World Invitational isn't the game play, as good as that is, but the leveraging of the Vita's new features. In particular, trophy support and the connectivity make the title something you'll always want to carry with you in case you get the urge to compete in the online tournaments and try to crash the leaderboards.

If you are expecting something significantly different from previous Hot Shots Golf titles, you won't find it here. But if you loved the previous titles, or if you're just looking for a quality golf experience for your Vita, this game holds up its end of the bargain.
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