Hot Shots Golf Vita Hands-On Impressions -- Par for the Course...But in a Good WayBy Sinan Kubba - Posted Sep 12, 2011
For those who love their golfing simulations mashed together with provocatively dressed anime characters, look no further than Hot Shots Golf Vita. Wacky aesthetics aside, the Hot Shots Golf series has long been an unusual but more than worthy alternative to EA’s straight-laced offerings. Scratch beneath the surface and you’ll be surprised by the series’ depth, challenge, and charm.
While the PSP Hot Shots Golf games were fun distractions, they always felt like rather condensed versions of the PS3 game. Not so Hot Shots Golf Vita. From my brief hands-on with it in Cologne, it was clear that with the Vita’s enhanced graphical and processing power the series’ latest entry will demand as much precision and timing as Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds did on the PS3. Yes, while all that graphical power is being used to make ladies’ short skirts flutter naughtily in the wind, Hot Shots Golf Vita still features dazzling courses that look as attractively bright and colorful as the ones in its PS3 sibling.
Yet when it comes to using Vita’s touch controls, I was left a little unimpressed. While the game is all about a sense of fun, some the additions that were shown off to me seemed, while impressive from a technical standpoint, a shade too gimmicky. Let’s start off with some of the less gimmicky ones.
From a birds-eye view of the course you can touch on-screen where you want to hit the ball and this will automatically select the club you need. Meanwhile, rubbing anywhere on-screen will bring up how many yards it is from where you’re hitting. Simple and smart enough, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Less impressive was being able to pick up my character and position him or her on-screen with a drag and release. It was put forward as a way of getting a better angle for shots, but it looked flashier than it did useful. Also, tilting the Vita to manipulate the camera into a first-person perspective just seemed awkward. I was assured by the Sony rep that these features are works-in-progress, but I think the best approach will be to stick with the series’ traditional button controls. It’s not likely Hot Shots Golf Vita will be receiving the full touch-controls treatment anyway.
Also being promised are new courses, characters, costumes, and of course online multiplayer, which will take advantage of the Vita’s 3G features. Hopefully that means a tournament and lobby system that will rival the PS3 game’s vastly underrated online play. Either way, we’ll know all the details by the time the Vita hits, because the game is currently marked as a launch title. If developer Clap Hanz can focus more on enhancing the already wild shot-making while really taking advantage of the Vita’s online capabilities, then I think Hot Shots Golf Vita will do very well. It might even prove to be an unlikely must-have game for the console’s early adopters, be they golf fans or not.