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Everybody's Golf VR

Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Genre: Sports
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Clap Hanz
Release Date: May 21, 2019

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PS4 VR Review - 'Everybody's Golf VR'

by Cody Medellin on May 21, 2019 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Everybody's Golf VR marks the VR debut for the much-loved franchise, letting players step into the shoes and score hot shots across the course.

Buy Everybody's Golf VR

Of all of the sports that could be translated into VR, golf makes the most sense. A typical golf course is large, so it's appealing to have a variety of courses available at your fingertips. The possibility for motion sickness isn't there, since you'll spend a great deal of time standing in one spot. Even if you've never played a round of golf in real life, the basic mechanics are easy to grasp, so anyone can pick up the controls and play. Interestingly, while the PC VR headsets have a decent number of golf games to choose from, the PS4 iteration of VR has none. To rectify this situation, Sony has chosen its most accessible golf title to take the leap into VR with Everybody's Golf VR.

If you're coming from the non-VR versions of game, whether it's the recent Everybody's Golf in 2017 or back when the North American versions had the Hot Shots Golf moniker, you'll find this to be much more straightforward. The first thing you're asked is whether you want to use a standard DualShock 4 or a PS Move controller. If you're using the latter, then you'll treat the controller like a virtual golf club, similar to how golf was done on Wii Sports. If you're using the standard controller, you'll do the same thing but a bit more awkwardly, since you'll have to hold the controller normally instead of holding it by one handle. Those hoping to go for the series' standard three-button setup are out of luck here.


Once a control scheme is selected, you'll be taken to the shooting range to learn the controls. With the three-button setup gone, things are a bit different, as the amount of pull and follow-through will determine the strength of your shot. Subtle changes in your swing are also calculated, so those who aren't used to golfing will likely slice the ball and send it curving either left or right. For every swing, an arrow shows the direction of your shot as well as a blue ghost trail. A red trail simply means you didn't hit the ball at all, but the game is kind enough to not count missed strokes. All of your shots start off as practice shots, and you need to press a button to make the game count your next swing as a real shot to send the ball flying.

Like any other golf game, there's a bit more to Everybody's Golf VR than just swinging the golf club. You can cycle through which club you'll use to drive your shot further or decrease your distance. By bringing up the controller to your face, you can get a few more options, like being able to change the predicted location of your shot or checking the wind by letting a few blades of grass fall from your hand to see where the wind takes them. Putting also brings up a familiar grid, so you can see the elevation of the green as well as any contours. In other words, don't expect much different aside from perspective and use of controller.

Speaking of which, the controls will throw you off a bit, as you aren't expected to use as much force as you would if you were swinging a real club. If you're using the Move controller, the lack of weight means you'll need plenty of practice to judge how much force fills your power meter and how to swing the golf club in a straight line. Even though you can take as many practice shots as you want, don't be surprised if your final swing is either too strong or not strong enough. If you decide to go for the DualShock 4, you'll find that your swinging will be mostly straight, since you're just pivoting the controller as if it were a steering wheel in a driving game. It isn't the most realistic option, but it works if you're having a tough time with the game or if you want the title but don't have a Move controller yet.


Once you're out of the tutorial and into the main golf club lobby, there are a few things you can check out. Aside from checking out your personal records for each course, you can go to the driving range to get some practice with different situations. The first floor lets you practice with even terrain, and going to the upper floor lets you practice golfing downhill. Putting practice is here as well as practice for your approach, all of which feel necessary if you want to do well your first time out.

Setting out on the course is where the real meat of Everybody's Golf VR lies, and there are quite a number of options you can tweak before you get into a game. You can change the types of clubs you have, so you can opt for a set that emphasizes straighter shots, for example. You have a choice of three courses to play in — the standard fairway, a dinosaur park, and a course overlooking the ocean — and have the option to play them all in mirrored mode. You can select a caddy and their accompanying outfit color, and you can select whether you want to play a full 18 holes, the front or back nine holes, or even a random selection of three holes. Finally, you can choose whether you want a normal hole or a tornado version, which pulls in the golf ball if it's close enough.

If you're looking for any personal golfer customization, forget about it. The game is presented completely from a first-person perspective, so you'll never get a chance to see yourself. If you hit the replay to check on your swing, you'll see a translucent silhouette pantomiming movement, so there's no real chance to create a funky golfer.

When you're finally out on the green, you can appreciate how VR enhances the experience. You can look around and see loads of details about the course, from the little markers at the tee area to the flags blowing in the wind, and the footprints behind you show where you and your caddy have been. Take a swing, and the sight of the tee being knocked around serves as a nice detail, while waving your club at a tree gets a reaction. Interestingly, and probably for the sake of eliminating motion sickness, your camera never switches to the flight of the ball, so you need to look at your side and trace the path yourself, just like in real life. From there, a press of the button is all it takes to get to the ball again for another swing. The process is fast enough that taking in the full 18 holes takes up about half an hour, encouraging you to take in more rounds than expected.


That's really the gist of it. Every now and then, you might get interrupted by a cut scene where you'll share a moment with your chosen caddie, like the both of you sitting in the cart and sneaking a peek at your score. This is the kind of game that encourages playing however you like, and performance isn't a hindrance to progress. The game seems to appreciate constant playthroughs, as more options open up as you play more. The limited option selection actually does a good job of getting you acclimated, as having everything available from the get-go would've decreased interest in the game.

Once you finally unlock everything, you'll find that the game is missing a rather important element: multiplayer. Even before the last game in the series, the franchise has always had strong multiplayer (both locally and online), and none of that is found here. The closest thing you'll get is the leaderboards showing off scores for every course and hole configuration. Even then, it only counts if you turn off the tornado holes. Whether real online multiplayer is going to be patched in at a later date remains to be seen, but for now, treat Everybody's Golf VR like a completely solo affair with a hint of informal online competition.

When you take into consideration the limits of PSVR when it comes to visual clarity, the graphics are rather good. The anime-like aesthetic of the older games translates rather well here, and each location has a great amount of detail if you're willing to look around. The seaplanes and bugs and stray animals all make the worlds feel a bit more lived in, and the depth of field is a nice touch. This is especially true when you see things like leaves falling on the course. The lip sync on the characters could be better, but the only real distraction is in a spotlight effect, where the large center area looks bright and everything else's brightness has been gradually turned down. You'll eventually learn to ignore it, but the effect is odd.


The audio is also rather nice, albeit limited when compared to both the last non-VR iteration of the game. The music tracks are only present in a few areas, but what you get is rather bouncy stuff that's designed to make everything inviting. Once you're on the green, the music goes away in favor of more natural sounds, like the waves crashing on the beach or birds chirping and wind blowing. Compared to the constant soundtrack assault of the previous game, this approach is welcome, and the only voice you'll hear is that of your caddy. Speaking of which, the catalog of lines isn't too large, so caddy introductions and advice are frequently repeated, so you may simply ignore the advice.

Everybody's Golf VR feels like a good first step in getting the sport on to a new technology. Once you get used to the controls — specifically controlling the shot direction and amount of power needed — you'll find the game to be very immersive due to its presentation. It may take a while to unlock everything, and while the number of courses isn't as abundant as the older games, there's still enough here to keep you coming back. The lack of multiplayer is a disappointment, though, and the repetitive lines from your caddies can be tiresome, but Everybody's Golf VR is still a game that'll make you spend more time with your VR headset.

Score: 7.5/10



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