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Review: Everybody's Golf VR

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It's all in the hips

The PlayStation 5 may be looming on the horizon, but that doesn't mean Sony is done supporting PlayStation VR. Even as someone who bought the headset at launch, I'm as surprised as anyone to see new games continue to pop up. The 2019 release schedule is fuller than I ever would've imagined.

One title I've been eager to try out for myself this year is Everybody's Golf VR, a slightly more realistic first-person take on the classic arcade golf series. It's not a one-to-one literal translation of Hot Shots Golf into the realm of virtual reality, and for the most part, that's a good thing. The experience feels comfortably on-brand yet distinct enough to justify its existence as a smaller-scale standalone project.

After running through the tutorials in Everybody's Golf VR, my first mental note for this review was a phrase to sum up how it felt to smack golf balls in VR: "satisfying as shit." They sure nailed it.

Everybody's Golf VR review

Everybody's Golf VR (PlayStation VR [reviewed with a PS4 Pro])
Developer: Clap Hanz, Smile Connect E!, Japan Studio
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Released: May 21, 2019
MSRP: $29.99

And really, that's the most important part of this upbeat golf game: that feeling when you do your due diligence, line up your ideal angle, swing just hard enough that you don't quite lose control, and watch in mild dread until you can confirm that the ball landed more or less where you intended. While Everybody's Golf VR has a few setbacks, the act of golfing isn't one of them. It's wonderfully cathartic.

Instead of the traditional multi-click swinging where you time button presses to get the ball across the course, here, you're dealing with physicality. Whether you play with a DualShock 4 (better suited for seated play) or a single PlayStation Move (ideal for standing), you'll rely on motion controls. Imagine a club extending out of your controller of choice and you've pretty much got the idea. Posture matters, as does the speed and angle of your swing. There's more of a learning curve, but the system works as you'd expect, and given the controller-tracking hardware involved, I mean that as a big compliment.

Much like in real life, I'm consistent enough with drivers and putters, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around wedges. Part of it stems from impatience. If I took my time, I'd do a hell of a lot better. Everybody's Golf VR wants to help; it cleverly leans into practice runs. You can take as many test swings as you'd like to get your form down pat, and the game will show you not only when and where your swing deviated, but how the point of impact will affect the ball's flight plan. It's never a mystery.

There's a balance to strike between going all out with your entire body (especially with a PlayStation Move) versus taking a safer, more measured stroke mainly using your wrists. Everybody's Golf VR is at its most enjoyable when you're essentially recreating real-world maneuvers, but that approach isn't always conducive to topping the scoreboard. I'd rather play like a bit of a madman, personally.

Everybody's Golf VR review

Then there's the caddies. They mean well I'm sure they do but they tend to talk your ear off. At best, they're vaguely helpful background noise to keep you company while you do your thing. At worst, they'll spout off the same reassuring lines even when your ball is clearly destined to go out of bounds and take you on little mid-course excursions that are more like cutscenes than anything else. (Graciously, you can skip these segments.) I get what Clap Hanz was going for chilling with your caddie in virtual reality sounds entertaining on paper but the characters are uncannily one-dimensional. It's a shame.

I wasn't expecting that to be my main complaint given that Everybody's Golf VR only has three full courses, a number that would feel sparse in any other golf game. Another mid-tier course would've been appreciated, don't get me wrong, but three feels like enough. The slower pace of the game and its up-close-and-personal nature make that work, plus there's a driving range and putting green. It's something you're meant to keep coming back to rather than zip through just the once. As an added incentive, there's a basic unlock system for attaining new outfits, clubs, and course options.

In other words, the price is about right. You can get a feel for Everybody's Golf VR in a few short hours, but if you're anything like me, you won't want to move on quite so fast. It's an earworm of a game. Just thinking about it makes me want to dig out my PlayStation VR and clear the room. That's no small feat.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Everybody's Golf VR reviewed by Jordan Devore

8

GREAT

Impressive effort with a few noticeable problems holding it back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.
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Jordan Devore
Jordan DevoreCo-EIC   gamer profile

Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random. Disclosure: I backed Double Fine Adventure and Awesomenauts: Starstorm on Kickst... more + disclosures


 


 


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