Sports. The actual thing and the video game genre go way back with me. Some of my fondest moments come from the mid-2000s. Both real and virtual. That was the time of such great modes, features, and possibilities added to hockey, football, golf, and baseball titles. Since then developers have either stuck to the same formula or tried to go in a completely different direction that never worked out. As such I’ve been sparse with my digital sport pickings these past seven years. Where Everybody’s Golf got me however, (besides the catchy Clap Your Hands number by Owl City in the announcement trailer) was the introduction of an open world atmosphere where players could golf, among other things, in a way never seen before. Did this feature pay off? Kind of.
The story or single player mode to Everybody’s Golf is more or less what’s expected from golf games, although you do have a nice, beach front property on a tiny island to call your home. You arrive as a newcomer to the world and have to compete in tournaments and VS. matches in order to rank up. The tutorial is more than generous and will continue throughout the entire game with some cringy dialogue. Clap Handz really tried to shoehorn tips and guides into casual conversations with other characters. Doesn’t really go down smooth, but at least you’ll be aware of how everything works ten fold.
Basics consist of nine or eighteen hole events that you complete to gain XP. Obviously the higher you finish the more experience you acquire. Once you complete enough of them you’ll be able to level up and face “bosses” in a one on one matchup. These will predominately follow match play rules with certain aspects changed every time. It’s nothing major but it does shake things up a little bit. As you climb the ranks your little island will attract more people and unlock abilities, such as swimming and riding a golf cart. Beyond that there’s not too much else to do offline.
Online modes are a little shallower than I was hoping, but they are still incredibly fun the first few times around and with friends. First and foremost, is the open world aesthetic. Essentially you can load up into an entire nine-hole course on different maps. You are not restricted in anywhere you can go except outside the level of course. It’s a neat feature for sure, although it doesn’t have much structure. There’s nothing that exciting to do in just exploring the courses or driving carts. However, there are daily challenges that you can participate in such as golfing on all nine holes or any singular one to your liking. Meanwhile you will easily be able to see other players scamper about in real-time and can pull up a map of the area by pushing the touchpad.
The rest of the multiplayer options are pretty typical (ex: up to four player matches in a round of golf) except for Turf War. This interesting mode has up to twenty players, ten on each side, competing for the best score on a select set of holes. Every player can actively run/drive to whichever one they want and play a round on it. The better you do on each hole will net you more points which contribute to the total on said hole. Whichever team has the higher score will “win” that particular hole. Although until the end of the match’s time limit, you can replay any one in hopes of doing better and getting more points. Naturally this opens up some strategies and a different way of going about things.
Now the most important part of a golf game is the core gameplay. I can tell you that Everybody’s Golf succeeds with flying colors on this part. If you’ve ever played a golf game in your entire life, then you know what to expect. There’s a meter that you’ll use to gauge the power and accuracy of your shots, different clubs to use for different situations, and obstacles in your way on any given hole (wind, bunkers, water, etc). What Everybody’s Golf does differently however, is making everything crisp and lively. NPC and player reactions to plays make you feel apart of something greater and sound effects are astounding. Hell, even the wacky text that will appear on your screen will be appreciated.
Graphics are pretty impressive as well. The characters within the game are purposely animated and a little blocky, but the areas and levels are beautifully brought to life. Although some will be prettier than others like the course surrounded by mountains. A nice complement should also go to the soundtrack. It can really catch that serene or enjoyable moment one can only experience on the golf course. You won’t have to worry about this one being a disappointment in the looks and sounds departments.
You can probably guess, but Everybody’s Golf also has decently deep customization options. You’ll be able to equip many different colors and styles for every part of your character’s wardrobe. Some you can buy with in-game currency, real currency, or the ones you earn from winning. The first few hours saw myself switching every clothing item available quite a bit. There’s also different clubs and balls you can choose before each round, but it’s limited compared to what I’ve mentioned already.
Lastly, the user interface for nearly everything is very easy to understand and grasp. I haven’t had one problem with the camera, club selection, figuring out where to go, where things are on menus, overly complicated controls, and more. Everything here is very intuitive and once again makes basic golf gameplay more fun than it should. Sadly, while entertaining, Everybody’s Golf suffers from replayability problems. Now this shouldn’t mean terribly much considering most sports games are like this, but it’s not something this title escapes.
Additionally, this could use a few more multiplayer modes. I touched upon this earlier, and I know I praised what was there, but I can only play the same three things over again with people before getting bored. Not to mention that I can’t play a basic multiplayer round without waiting for each and every person to take their next shot. It’s still fun to play on a daily basis, but I’m finding the game doesn’t take up more than an hour or two.
Everybody's Golf PS4 Review
Overall - Fantastic - 8.0/10
Everybody’s Golf isn’t going to disappoint any fan of the series or the sport in general. It offers enough life and good ol’ golf fun that you’ll be more than happy with your purchase into this particular genre. It’s just that the open world mechanic that was advertised doesn’t really do anything and this effort could have been used to add more modes or online options. The repetitiveness will break through after a while and may make this title one that will take a backseat to other video games.
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Reviewed using base PS4.