Everybody's Golf VR Review
Tee up your perfect shot on the luscious greens of Everybody’s Golf. With a PlayStation Move motion controller or Dualshock 4 wireless controller acting as club, even golfing newcomers can start playing with ease.
Developer: Clapz Hanz
Platforms: PSVR (reviewed on a base PSVR unit)
I missed a shot, well, let me start over. I blame my missed shot on a T-Rex which screamed behind me as I attempted to putt-in my ball while playing Everybody's Golf VR. Two things that I actually haven't done in VR yet actually: golf and also a dinosaur jump-scare. After that first round, I've grown accustomed to the assortment of extinct friends that take up one of the courses, but I definitely wouldn't call myself a golf master -- yet.
Presentation wise Everybody's Golf VR retains the look of the franchise you've come to love since the golf-loving series’ first release in 1997. It's arcadey golf with a cartoon aesthetic. Everybody's Golf VR still has great golf mechanics, except this time they're in virtual reality and have taken the 'everybody' part back a bit, with this game containing the steepest learning curve of any of the franchise thus far.
The Everybody's Golf or Hot Shots Golf franchise is popular for several reasons, but namely that its golfing was very easy to pick-up but hard to master. Its simple three-button system to golfing was perfectly simple in design and has required little to no tweaking in the years since. Unsurprisingly, Everybody's Golf VR doesn't feature a three-button-prompt system to swing your club, instead, you are literally swinging your club with either your DualShock 4 or your PS Move controller which adds a real-world degree of difficulty to the gameplay. It's still very easy to understand in premise, it's golf, we all know how it works -- hit the ball towards the hole -- but it's harder to pick-up the basic gameplay now, and still even harder to master.
You can play Everybody's Golf VR with either controller set-up available, they both work fine, but playing with a PS Move, while standing up, gave me the most fulfilled golfing experience, so that is how I primarily played and how I would suggest you play the game as well to truly feel like a PGA Tour Master.
Whacking your ball from the tee-off about 200ft down the green is a great feeling. You don't need to wind your arm up behind your back either, the velocity at which you come at the ball is all that's needed, a simple fast, sharp hit will max out your power-bar, which still does appear on-screen. You can practice teeing off any shot and see what the power will be, where it'll roughly go direction wise and even have access to a map, a sky-view and a helpful caddy, but unless you're a practised golf-player I'd find it hard to believe you don't mess up your ACTUAL shots power and spin, consistently, no matter how well your few practice swings went.
When you make it to the green and are lining up for a putt-in, it's stressful. The angle you hit the ball at counts for a lot and the wind needs to be taken into account; even the speed at which you hit the ball is very important and when you're too powerful, or accidentally spin the ball away, it's an atrocious moment of defeat. It's after these moments you'll realise you need practice -- which'd highly suggest.
You have access to a practice area or even the tornado cups which will suck balls in as long as they're close. Both can help build your golf skills somewhat, but practising your swing is going to prove most fruitful.
Don't get me wrong either, I love golf in Everybody's Golf. But it is the most sim-like the franchise has felt, which may lead to some being frustrated, or unwilling to put the effort into practising.
While the last game in the series, 'Everybody's Golf' which released in 2017 focused on a strong multiplayer component and building a community, Everybody's Golf VR is nearly all about you. There's no exploration of courses, hub-worlds or multiplayer at all in-fact, and over the three courses available to you, you'll be chasing your own best score or the scores of those on the global leaderboards. It's not a negative per se, but after the community-building and multiplayer focused previous entry, the VR release can feel a bit lonely. A party mode to swap in-and-out of the headset to do some holes with friends would have been appreciated, and even a leaderboard that shows up on completion of an event to compare your score to friends, there and then to help build that friendly competition.
The three courses you play in Everybody's Golf VR are varied enough that they stand solely apart. One features dinosaurs, another beaches, and the first is a more regular golfing experience. You can play 3 random holes, 9 in or 9 out, or the full 18 holes in one sitting. They're all wonderfully designed, fun and great to look at. Sure, looking way off into the distance obviously gets a bit blurry, but looking over a course and planning your balls is great. I would have appreciated a quick-restart button as well to make chaining 3 hole courses over-and-over easier, but instead, you have to sit through the results and load back to the main menu. However you choose to play any of them though, it feels a bit empty without any competition to play with.
As a replacement for real people, you have two friendly and amicable companions you can pick from. Two more are greyed out, one a pre-order bonus and the other purchasable from the PlayStation store, which feels a little off to have half the caddies locked off on launch day. The caddies you have available are useful though; they'll give you legitimately helpful advice when it comes to teeing off including your club choice, or where you should be aiming to take into consideration the wind and potential hill you're teeing-off from. At times you'll unlock a random event with them as well which can range from a little silly to somewhat ridiculous, but they're harmless fun and I'll let you discover them on your own.
Everybody's Golf VR is a great golf game for PSVR but misses a lot of the ease of pick-up and play that the franchise is known for because of the medium. Its lack of any multiplayer components is, to say the least, disappointing, but there's always hope for that addition, potentially, down the road. For now, I'll be hitting bogeys or birdiess with my caddy helping me along the way, attempting to finish an 18 hole course below par, and although I'm having fun, I wouldn't mind having a friend.
(Everybody’s Golf VR code provided for review)