It has been a few months (and a name change) since I last went hands-on with Everybody’s Golf, so I was excited to hit the links again. The prior demo I played gave me a good taste of the changes that developer Clap Hanz was making, which included the ability to fish and drive a golf kart around the course, but those options weren’t available in the game’s latest closed beta. Instead, I got to get a better feel for how the upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive will be structured.
I began by creating my own character from scratch. I wasn’t sure what to create until I spotted a haircut that reminded me of WWE superstar Shinsuke Nakamura. It was then that I knew that I had to bring Japanese strong style to the golf course. After messing around for a few minutes, and creatively using the limited clothing options I had available, I had a decent looking version of the former NXT champion that I could use.
Creating my own character in Everybody’s Golf felt a bit odd at first, but once I jumped into the game I realized why it had me do that instead of picking an already made character like in past games. As I walked around the Eagle City Golf Club, I saw the creations of other players roaming around. I saw everything from normal looking golfers to characters that would fit into a Monster Factory video. It was then that I understood why individuality was important in this game, as it’d be boring if everyone was the same 10 characters.
Only the front nine holes of the Eagle City course were available in the demo to play. Similar to other opening levels in Hot Shots Golf, there wasn’t much in the way of challenge or spectacle. While the holes weren’t especially memorable, it did allow me to instantly get reacquainted with the series’ three-step golf swing controls. Players still determine their power and accuracy via an on-screen gauge, and there weren’t any other control schemes present in the beta.
After I warmed up by getting a few birdies, I entered the course’s daily tournament to test my skill. It was here that I realized that Shinsuke didn’t have much in terms of power, as it took me four shots to get onto the green in a par five. Thankfully, I ended up boosting his stats by hitting some solid drives, and by the end of the nine holes I had leveled up my golfer’s abilities. Past games have had players boost their playable characters by using them, but it seems even more important in Everyboy’s Golf due to how weak the player starts out.
After finishing the daily tournament just a stroke under par, I decided to check out the other online mode available in the beta. Called Turf War, the mode divides players into two separate teams that are competing to see who can ultimately get the better score. Players aren’t restricted in what hole they golf, as I had free reign over my character and could pick any hole I wanted. Since this is a closed beta, there weren’t many other players competing, and I ended up in a two-on-one situation. My team had the numbers advantage, and we easily wiped our lone competitor. It was difficult to get a good feel for the mode in this circumstance, but I’m glad that Clap Hanz are trying to find more creative ways for players to play online.
Progression has always been an important part of Hot Shots games, and it’s no different here. As I finished holes, I ended up getting rewarded with coins that I could use in an in-game shop. Everything from different hairstyles to golf balls could be purchased here, but I ended up spending most of my money on a red biker jacket to further deck out my character. I also bought an afro, since you never know when you’ll need to look funky.
Everybody’s Golf looks to be a smart evolution of the tried and tested Hot Shots Golf formula. Developer Clap Hanz is largely sticking to what works, while also adding some new bells and whistles that help this latest edition feel like a modern experience. Not a ton has changed since the PlayStation days, but the core golfing experience is still highly satisfying. I’m looking forward to once again golfing online when the PS4 exclusive releases August 29.
Beta code for Everybody’s Golf provided by publisher. Previewed on PS4 Pro.