PSX 2016 – New Hot Shots Golf Preview – Gone Fishing (PS4)

When I walked up to the demo station for New Hot Shots Golf (which is a working title, by the way, so hopefully it’ll get a much better name), I didn’t expect to spend the majority of my 10-minute demo fishing. Video games are weird, though, and that’s exactly what happened. Before I get to that, I probably should talk about the golfing part considering that’s what most people are probably interested in (but please stay for the interesting fishing tales).

Let’s Talk About Golf

New Hot Shots Golf is, for lack of a better description, a new Hot Shots Golf game. Players still use the series’ beloved three-click control scheme to hit balls (clicking once to start the shot, once again for power, and then one final time to determine the accuracy) onto the fairway or green. There didn’t seem to be any new mechanics in the demo build, but that’s fine and dandy as Hot Shots Golf is the best playing golfing game as far as I’m concerned.

The demo only featured three holes in it, and it seemed to be from the game’s first level considering how easy it was to birdie them on my first try (I also performed a pretty marvelous chip-in eagle on the final Par-4, just saying). This was a pretty disappointing way to demo the golfing, as I breezed through all three holes in about two minutes. There wasn’t much to look at either, as it was a pretty boring course design by Hot Shots standards. It looked like a real-life course, and it was devoid of anything unrealistic.

Fishing and More!

Since I still had about eight minutes left after checking out the very short golfing portion of the demo, I checked the menu to see what else I could do. It was there I presented with a series of different options. I could run around the course to collect coins and presents (which seems to be how the game is hiding customization options this time around instead of a store), hop in my golfing cart to drive around, or go fishing.

This sort of freedom on the golf course is a really interesting spin on the normal Hot Shots Golf gameplay, and I had more fun than I’d like to admit trying to run over pedestrians in my golf cart. I’m not exactly sure how it’ll manifest in the core gameplay (it might be optional since the golfing portion of the game automatically took me from hole to hole), but I’m glad to see the team at Clap Hanz trying something new. It does worry me a slight bit, as how it’ll impact course design (how will there be volcanos and giant gaps if the player has to be able to explore areas?), but there are certainly ways around any issues I can think up. Just imagine going around the course and putting on a jetpack in order to traverse a gap. That’d be pretty rad, right?

Now onto the most important part of the demo: fishing. Part of the golf course I was at had a river flowing through it, and there was a desk nearby. I talked to a nice lady who was behind the counter, and before I knew it, I had a fishing rod in my character’s hand. I then walked over to the water, pressed a button to cast my line, and then I sat around for about 20 seconds until I got a bite (it wasn’t exciting, but it sure was realistic).

Since I had hastily exited the tutorial prompt (whoops), I didn’t really know how to fish so my first try was spent mashing the cross button on the DualShock 4, and watching a meter rise. It eventually went the whole way up, and the fish had got away. While my aquatic foe had escaped, I wasn’t ready to give up. I tried again, but this time I kept the meter in the middle, which meant I applied constant pressure. This led to a rousing success where I caught my first fish! It was only 1.2 inches (size doesn’t matter, right?), but it felt like an accomplishment nonetheless.

New Hot Shots Golf is exactly what it’s terrible working title suggests it is, but it manages to pack a familiar game in a fresh form. I’m excited about the possibilities of getting to explore the Hot Shots universe more, and can’t wait to see what Clap Hanz does with it. While I do have a few reservations, I can rest easy knowing that the core gameplay is still as good as ever, so even if the new additions fall flat, there will still be a great game underneath.