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Everybody’s Golf 5 Demo Impressions

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When I picked up my PlayStation 3 in Spring of 2007, one of the first demos I tried for the content starved Sony console was the Japanese demo of Minna No Golf 5. Also known as Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds for North America, this easily accessible, cutsey anime styled golf game was, for me, one of the surprise highlights for the console at the time. (It was also the first golf game I had played since Kirby’s Dreamcourse for the Super Nintendo.) It wasn’t revolutionary, nor mind blowing visually, but it was a ton of bite sized fun — I was looking forward to its release.The game was released in Japan on July 26th, 2007 and with no North American release in sight, my interest in this game waned considerably.

Hoping to stir up interest, this past Thursday, the European PSN store received an exclusive gift in the form of an English demo of Everybody’s Golf 5. A significant time has passed and the PlayStation 3 is not as content starved as it was 8 months ago. Standards have changed and Everybody’s Golf 5 would have to be really impressive to squeeze out $59.99 CAD from me. Does it? Not quite and here’s why.

At first glance, the presentation of this golf game is a wee bit rustic. I love the light hearted anime aesthetic, but on a technical level — they could have done a lot more to flex the PS3’s power. Anti-aliasing could have been cranked up a bit to smooth out the jaggies and the greens could have used a bump in texture quality. I am sure the full game will feature a plethora of courses, characters, funky locales and other quirks, but I don’t know if that could make up for it.

The gameplay is extremely simple to pick up with its use of the three click shot with the power meter (start, set swing power and finish). If you wanted to forego the power meter and amp the difficulty a bit, you could use the new swing system which relies watching the player’s swing animation to determine the amount of power a swing needs. Everything from selecting clubs, camera angles to fine tuning your putts were very easy to use. As far as gameplay goes, I could not be more pleased.

The demo was limited to offline competitive play, but just like any other sports game out there, it is better against others. The opposing player would be able to taunt the player in an effort to distract them, but other than that there wasn’t enough differentiating factors

I look forward to this game’s retail release in North America because it would be very interesting to see how consumers would react to a product like this — especially if it retails for $59.99 CAD. With the existence of PSN and “full” games such as WarHawk and Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection; I believe that Everybody’s Golf 5 would be better off as a PSN title for approximately $34.99 – $39.99 CAD. They could strip it down a tad and then bolster the game through optional paid downloadable content such as new courses and characters.

For more information, check out the official website.

Thanks to GameWatch and Watch.Impress for the screenshot.

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