Everybody’s Golf is the seventh main instalment in the Everybody’s Golf Series, and it has a fresh approach towards online play whilst adding some new RPG features to the considerably large single-player mode.
One of the new features that comes with this iteration of Everybody’s Golf, being the first home console title in the series to focus heavily on online play being integrated with offline play, is the option to create your own character at the start of the game instead of a pre-made avatar.
You’ll find out very quickly how easy it is to cook up some serious Mii-like monstrosities with this new feature, but once you create a somewhat human-looking character, you can change anything you like about them later in the game, by buying new clothes and altering their body with coins in the in-game shop.
A neat feature is the character copy system, where you can copy the character of anyone you meet or defeat, in exchange for coins in the case of the former.
The game has a hub section from where you can choose an online or offline game mode, find collectible items, shop for different clothes and accessories, and take quizzes on golf to earn in game rewards.
When you enter the online hub, you’ll be transported to a golf course of your choice populated with players roaming, chatting and playing against each other for the top spot on the daily leaderboards.
A new RPG-style system is a big part of how the gameplay changes over time, which is the ability to level up all of your golf clubs independently when you achieve good shots with them.
Whilst you might be tempted to simply level up a putter and your largest driver initially, you’ll soon come to realise the pitfalls of not levelling up the clubs in between that vast range when stuck in a bunker near a hole, cursing the lack of control and power you have to get the ball out of the trap and back into suitable position to putt the ball in.
There are four main attributes to each club’s levelling:
- Power (P)– Gives you a greater range with your club as it improves.
- Control (C) – Makes your ball less likely to veer of course the higher it is.
- Backspin (BS ) – Improves your backspin, letting your ball carry further when teeing off.
- Back Door (BD) – Reduces the chance of the ball ricocheting off the cup instead of sinking.
These attributes are shared between offline and online play, and at time of writing it seems to be a small imbalance for online play – if you choose to go up against a stranger, they may have very high level clubs, and as such can move up the course and putt away with an edge over you and your clubs. That being said, it didn’t make it unfair to the point where any matches I had were too imbalanced to play.
There are two main single-player game modes you’ll progress through; Tournaments, where you compete to be top of the leaderboard against AI, and Challenge Matches, story-based boss rounds against a single NPC you need to beat to unlock courses & game features (such as karting and swimming), for online and offline play.
there is a genuine thrill when you chip in a ball from the rough straight into the cup, or when you get your first hole-in-one
The single-player game is expansive, and easy to sink days worth of playtime into – and even longer if your a series newcomer.
Even though the single-player has some serious difficulty spikes as you progress, the game is very accessible initially. Tornado cups are back to suck up novice shots whenever a ball strays within a few feet of the hole, along with a new ‘Auto-Impact’ handicap, that allows the player to simply press twice to set the power of the shot and automatically hits the third button press, to avoid shots that would otherwise be miles off target.
It’s rewarding that the more time you put into learning how to deal with the finer points of play, such as accounting for wind speed and direction, or how to escape successfully from of a bunker, the more fun you’ll get out of Everybody’s Golf. You can just breeze through to some extent, using the handicaps and following the pre selected shots and clubs, but it’s more fun to think on your own two feet and really work to beat tougher opponents.
Despite being a relaxed game that you can take at your own pace, there is a genuine thrill when you chip in a ball from the rough straight into the cup, or when you get your first hole-in-one. On the other end of the spectrum, I found myself tearing at my hair when my ball plonked into the water on occasion too, especially with an audience online.
A Connected World
The online component of Everybody’s Golf is a great idea that works as well as it should for the most part, seamlessly tying into the offline world as and when you want to switch between the two.
As mentioned above, you pick a course and explore it, finding collectibles, riding gold karts, swimming, fishing, and of course teeing off against leaderboards and real-time players too.
There’s also a ’Turf War mode’ where you race to hold the highest score in two teams across five holes – the team with the most holes held at the end wins.
You’ll want to have unlocked a kart for this, as a time limit is applied, and you’ll be rushing back and forth to whittle down those all-important strokes from birdies to eagles before time runs out, or your opponents have chance to beat you to the hole.
Variation comes in the form of individual rules set out in Game Rooms, of which you can make a plethora of combinations; but, mostly you’ll end up with fairly similar matches across the 5 maps on offer.
Whilst there isn’t a huge range of modes on offer, it is certainly an entertaining way to spend an afternoon with friends, and you can also do just that with a local pass-the-controller multiplayer too, a nice addition in a any game.
I also noticed that you can get serious frame drops wandering around lobby’s that aren’t even full of players, and on more than one occasion the game crashed out on me whilst playing online – but this is hopefully something that will be remedied through future updates by the devs at Clap Hanz.
Everybody’s Golf’s visuals work in its favour – this isn’t a graphics tour-de-force, and it aims to charm you with its cute NPC’s and varied environments, which for the most part it does very well. In fact, most of the time it looks pretty good, and has a nice soundtrack that changes dynamically with the gameplay too.
But, despite its overall visual aesthetic being very well presented, simple things like the shadows on trees having a choppy effect when moving with the wind, the difference between the Fairway and the Rough sections being more visible by its jagged outline than nicely blended textures, and other small but distracting let-downs like PS2-era background textures are glaringly obvious oversights in a game that’s been in development for at least three years.
With abundant customisation, and a foundation that allows infinite hours to be sunk into online play, Everybody’s Golf is a solid series entry despite minor niggles in the graphics and online server departments. It’s also very welcoming to newcomers whilst providing a serious challenge to veterans, all wrapped up in a huge online and offline package.
- Available On: PS4
- Published By: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Developed By: Clap Hanz, SIE Japan Studio
- Genre: Sports
- US Release Date: August 29th, 2017
- Reviewed On: PS4
- Quote: "Everybody’s Golf is a solid series entry despite minor issues in the graphics and online server departments."