Hot Shots Golf 3
Game Info
Platform(s)
Playstation 2
Publisher
SCEA
Developer
Clap Hanz
Genre
Sports
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Everyone
 
Grade
The Good

• Easy and fun to pick up
• Lots of perks to unlock/purchase
• Tournament Mode will keep you going for some time

The Bad

• Audio portion is limited
• You have to really screw up to do poorly

 
Grade
A-

Hot Shots Golf 3 is the first PS2 sequel to the fun, arcadish golf games from the Playstation. You can play as one of a number of goofy-looking golfers (three to start off with and more to unlock) in a variety of modes, including Stroke Play, Tournament Mode, Vs Mode and the Short Course. Finish a round of golf to earn points based on your play. Those points can be used to buy various items, including new clubs, wallpapers for the menus and even new caddies and golfers that you'll need to unlock. Perform well in the Tournament Mode to unlock new courses and win similar items that can buy in the shop.

Visually, the game is built and laid out with a simple, yet effective design. None of the character models nor courses are going to wow you with their "uber-detail", but they extremely effective in not getting in the way of the rather enjoyable gameplay. Course design is based on more realistic golf courses and each course looks pretty good. While playing the game, you won't notice much that will take you out of the "golfing mode". The character models for the golfers and caddies are goofy, but effective. The crowd seems to be the least polished, but since you see very little of them in any up-close fashion, it doesn't matter much.

The gameplay mechanics are established around golfing basics. To be successful, you'll need to pay attention to the crossbreeze and the layout of the course and their effects on your shots. To swing, players hit the X button to start the swing, hit X to set the swing intensity and hit X a third time for accuracy. Picking up the mechanics of the basic swing takes very little time and after a few courses, you should be able to fare well on the course. Putting, on the other hand, takes some time to fully grasp as you have to contend with the curves and slopes of the green while trying not to hit the ball too hard or too soft. If you have any concept of golf, the gameplay will be easy to learn in no time.

The audio portion of the game is adequate, but I would have to say that it may been the weakest part of the game. Caddy and crowd commentary gets repetitive quickly. After the third or fourth course, you'll be tired of the chatter and be looking for the mute button. The music is mostly The Price Is Right bubble-gum pop that doesn't really add much. The ambient sound effects are nice, but the whole audio package just tends to be forgettable.

The only real flaw I found with the gameplay is that the game seems fairly forgiving with mistakes. Unless you royally screw-up your golf swing, you're going to land on the green more than often. After a few hours with the game, most of the mechanics will become second nature. Only the putting portion of the game may provide some learning.

On the whole, Hot Shots Golf 3 is a great game that is fun to play. Casual fans of golfing will want to give this game some serious time as it's easy to pick up and run with. More hardcore, sim-type players may find it too easy. Personally, it was the best time I'd had with a set of virtual clubs in a long time.

- - Kinderfeld

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