Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee PSP Review

It’s supposed to be relaxing trying to get the ball into that tiny hole 300 yards away? I never understood that statement in the real life version but somehow about two weeks ago it all began to make perfect sense!

Gameplay

Open Tee is home to three different game modes (Single player, Multiplayer and Training). The main mode in single player is Challenge Mode that lets you play through a season, which is littered with tournaments and offers you the chance to unlock more characters for you to use, or items (hairstyles, hats, outfits) to customise them. There is also a chance to upgrade to new equipment while playing throughout the season. Another mode called Stroke Play allows you free play on any of the courses you have currently unlocked. Then there is Putting Challenge which does exactly what it says on the tin!

Open Tee uses the old style of golf swing. Instead of pulling the analog stick down and pushing forward to shoot, you use the triple tap method made famous by Hot Shots console incarnation and also the Mario Golf titles. For those unfamiliar with the method I will explain it. The meter at the bottom of the screen will guide you to show you how much force and accuracy you want to have in your shot. You press “X” to start, you swing, then “X” again as close as you can to the top of the meter to get as much power as you can, then “X” one more time as the meter goes back down. If you time all these correctly you will get a very accurate and powerful shot. This method works fantastically on a handheld, as it is easy to use no matter where you are playing your PSP. Spin can also be put onto the ball by using the D-pad.

As always, the key to being good at golf in real life or video game form is putting. The putting in Open Tee is also played using the three tap method, but you are given a grid to help you to read the slope of the green. While this may be hard at first, it will get easier with time and the more you practice, the more your Par’s will turn into Birdie’s and your Bride’s in to Eagle’s. Latter course will result in many hard shots and harder to read greens, but sinking a long put on one of these is very satisfying!

Graphics

Although slightly lacking in comparison to it’s console counterpart, the graphics in Open Tee are still more than sufficient. The graphic style mixes cartoon with anime resulting in an offbeat style that is unique to the Hot Shots series. The models do look rather simple, but that feature has been a long stay of the series. The course looks fantastic, filled with everything you would expect in golf game. Lakes, sand, traps, and mountains litter the courses and all span across the horizon, with later courses introducing pyramids amongst unexpected features.

Open Tee is also home to a diverse selection of special graphical effects. After hitting the ball, the camera opts for a cinematic view as it shows the ball heading towards the target. Other effects, such as the ball bursting into flames happen if you pull off a powerful shot. Overall the graphics are of a good quality but don’t rival the best the PSP has to offer.

Sound

Voice acting is once again done well, verging on cute to irritating but thankfully more often than not staying on the cute side of the line. Both caddie and golfer have been given a good range of quotes to spout out with more than enough of them to give them something different to say on every hole. You will however begin to notice repeats an hour or two into the game.

Now onto music which I can only describe as a little bit weird. I am not sure what style it is but I remember another site describing it as “Piano Bar”. When you first hear it you will wonder why it was chosen to be used in a golf game, but after a while it will most probably start to grow on you, and you might even begin to like it. Even if this does not happen, it is not really that big of a deal as there is an excellent golf game in here, and even though the choice of music does not necessarily fit with what is happening on screen, it in no way ruins the enjoyment of the game.

Lifespan

As any Hot Shots veteran will tell, you won’t finish Open Tee that soon after picking it up. In fact the game has been living snuggly inside my PSP for the past two weeks, and even though I play it every chance I get, I still don’t think I am anywhere near the end.

Open Tee is home to ten golfers, six courses and five caddies. You have only two of these golfers when you start the game, and it is a long treck to try and unlock all ten of them. Unlocking the caddies and courses will take even longer! If you couple all these unlockables with the mercilessly addictive nature of the game, you have game that could last you a month if not two as you try and unlock everything the game has to offer.

Overall

Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee is one hell of an addictive golfing game. If you played any of it’s incarnations on the PS2, you will know what to expect here. If you never had a chance to play the PS2 version, then this is a great opportunity to jump into a great golfing series. It has all the best features from the PS2 version with the ability to play on the move. You also get a hell of a lot of game for your money, you won’t be finishing this in one weekend that’s for sure. Hot Shot Golf: Open Tee is a golfing game that places an emphasis on fun above all else, and comes off all the better because of it!

8.9 out of 10

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