The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Launching with a Hot Shots title is a rite of passage for any new
Sony platform. Because of this, I can always count on at least one title
at launch that doesn’t disappoint. Be that as it may, the Hot Shots
franchise’s role as a launch stalwart seems to be in a stasis; its
Sisyphean duty to support a new console forever keeps it from being
anything greater than that.
More likely, the Hot Shots franchise
is stuck in a rut because it has already dialed in its gameplay and
engaging career formula with its fans. World Invitational is more of the
same, notwithstanding the new Vita features and some solid online
features such as a friends’ leaderboard and a promise from Sony of
downloadable courses, costumes, and characters.
As with other Hot
Shots games, I was easily seduced into its myriad unlockables, loyalty
system with its golfers (where different shots are available the more
you play with a particular golfer), and tight gameplay. I love getting
into a groove with the classic three-click swing mechanic and trying to
hit the correct beats in order to pull off super backspin shots and
flag-rattling Rising Balls. I equally enjoy the different course
perimeters (also included in online tourneys) that sometimes pop up,
like extra penalties for hitting into the rough, no spin rules, or shot
The Vita-specific features are nice, but are peripheral to
the core gameplay experience. Using the AR and motion capabilities to
look around the virtual golf course (while moving the Vita itself) is
nifty, as is tracing on the back touchscreen to plot out various ball
trajectories, but they don’t add enough to the game to elevate this
version of Hot Shots above the others. You can also nudge the Vita at
impact for a super power shot.
Being predictably solid is both a
blessing and curse for the Hot Shots series, and at the end of the day I
try to not overthink the fact that World Invitational is simply a fun
experience. I approach it a lot like my real-life golf game, where I
just try to enjoy being out in the sunshine and not get too wound up at
the numbers on the score card.
You can reposition your golfer at the tee box by pinching the front touchscreen
You can also see different club distances by tracing your finger along the back touchscreen
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.