Everybody’s Golf (formerly Hot Shots Golf) is one of my favorite game series of all time. These games might be set in a cartoon-ish world of cute avatars, but last year’s PlayStation 4 version and the PSP one, way back in 2004, are some of the best sports games I’ve ever played.
So I’ll admit to being excited about Everybody’s Golf VR. I had a chance to play this PSVR game from Sony, at a media event last week. Now, it’s on my must-play list when it comes out later this spring. To be honest, it’s going to be the first time I’ve dug out my PSVR in a long time.
When I first donned my headset and approached the game, I was totally disorientated, not understanding that this is a video game that doesn’t happen in front of me. Just as in real golf, the “game” takes place to my left (I’m right-handed.) But once I got the measure of the fairway, I felt able to address the ball, in front of my and at my feet.
This bit takes a lot of practice. I hold the PlayStation motion controller just like a golf club, and line up my wood. By pressing the thumb-button on the controller, I can swing the ball in practice mode, going through the ball, without actually hitting it.
A directional line lets me know that I’m getting it all horribly wrong, and that my ball is going to slice out of bounds. So I spend a bit of time changing my stance and my angle and my swing. In the real world, I’m standing in a hotel bar with a developer offering tips by my side. But by now, I’m completely in the game.
My helper probably thinks I’m overdoing the preparation. I finally release the thumb button to take my first shot. It’s a par three, with a good enough distance where I can whack the ball, and a nice broad fairway. I use all my accumulated golf range skills to take my swing. I hit the ball. It rolls forward, about an inch.
When I’m done cussing and making excuses, I take another go. This time I make the right connection, and the ball whizzes off at an extreme angle. It manages to stay in bounds, just. But I’m in the rough. One click later, I’m standing over my ball again, in its new situation. This time, I make use of a distance gauge and manages to clip the ball straight onto the green.
Helpfully, this demo mode has a special effect on the whole, in which a tiny whirlwind draws any vaguely accurate putt into the hole. So I manage to get the ball down in four, which isn’t bad for a first try.
Then I have to move on to let the next person in line have a go. I can’t tell is this is the most accurate golf simulation in the world, but it seems to work. I’m sold. Everybody’s Golf VR will be released on May 21 for $29.99.