I have very fond memories of the Hot Shots Golf series of games. Not only did I spend hours with the series during its PlayStation 1 and 2 days, but when I got my first PlayStation portable (PSP) in July of 2005, Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee was the first game I bought for it. So, almost seven years later, it was with a great sense of nostalgia that I christened my new PlayStation Vita with Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational. While some of the other launch titles for Vita may be a bit flashier, HSG: World Invitational may just offer the most bang for your gaming buck.
HSG: World Invitiational features beautiful stylized graphics, from its anime-inspired characters to its lush, colorful courses. True to its name, the game features diverse locations from around the world, and each course has its own feel. Mechanically, this iteration of Hot Shots feels a lot like previous ones, and that’s a good thing. The core gameplay of this series is rock solid. A novice could pick the game up and hit basic shots just by timing button presses correctly, but once you’ve got the basics down, the spin system adds another whole layer of depth. Once you get a good grasp of that, you can really start to shape your shots, and that changes the way you attack a course dramatically. There are also a ton of control options, from standard meter-based swing controls, to touchscreen and tilt based controls, so you can customize the interface to suit your playstyle. I’m a traditionalist, so I stuck with the default control scheme that I’d used in previous versions of the game.
What’s really surprising about HSG: World Invitational is how significant the multiplayer component is. You can challenge other golfers through a lobby system (which I haven’t tried myself), and you can also enter into daily tournaments with players around the world. I have become completely obsessed with the daily tournaments, because in addition to earning points to spend in-game, you are actually given a world ranking when you play in the daily tournaments. I current rank in the top nine percent out of almost ten thousand players, and I make sure to log on every day and play the daily tournaments in order to keep my ranking up. This is the type of replayability factor that will keep me coming back to this game for a long time.
5 out of 5 Perfect Shots