Hot Shots Golf: Move Over Tiger Woods, There's a New Champion in Town

Hot Shots Golf is known in Japan as Minna No Golf, which roughly translates to Everybody's Golf. This is an accurate depiction of the series, as Hot Shots Golf is a golf game for people who don't enjoy realistic golf. While Hot Shots Golf does feature realistic golfing mechanics, such as timing your swing and putting, it's wrapped in an easy-to-learn foundation along with anime-inspired graphics. While other golf games such as the Tiger Woods series focus on the serious competitive side of golf, Hot Shots Golf skews towards the fun side.

The Hot Shots Golf series has been around since the original PlayStation and has appeared on every Sony system, whether it is a home console or portable, since then. Released in 1998, the original Hot Shots Golf established the game's basic premise: players would select a character, select a game mode ranging from a tournament to a single match and earn experience to upgrade their character's statistics. The gameplay was simple, thanks to a "three-click system" involving pressing one button at specific times, meaning everyone from a casual golf fan to a pro could quickly start playing.

As the series progressed on the PlayStation, future Hot Shots Golf staples were added in: Hot Shots Golf 2 brought cameo characters from other series such as Sweet Tooth and Hot Shots Golf 3 added in items your character could use and wear for statistic improvements and online modes.

As the series moved from PlayStation to PlayStation 2 and then PlayStation 3, the core mechanics have stayed the same with no major changes being added -- only the amount of content has increased thanks to increased storage space on the discs and the extra hardware power of each new system. The graphics have remained mostly the game with each iteration, making Hot Shots Golf one of the few series that is always recognizable no matter which version it is.

As mentioned earlier, Hot Shots Golf has seen release on every Sony console: three games for the PlayStation, one for the PlayStation 2, two for the PSP, one for the PlayStation 3 and one for the Vita, making it one of Sony's longest running game series. The series has also seen a change in developers; while the first game was made by Camelot Software Planning, the development team behind games such as Mario Golf and Mario Tennis, all other games in the series were made by Clap Hanz. The series has even progressed beyond golf into tennis with Hot Shots Tennis, a spinoff for the PlayStation 2 and PSP.

Hot Shots Golf: Move Over Tiger Woods, There's A New Champion In Town

It's a definite the series will appear on the PlayStation 4 and most likely at or around the PlayStation 4's launch with other iterations; Hot Shots Golf is a game that appeals to both casual and hardcore gamers and is instantly recognizable to any PlayStation fan. So while we know Hot Shots Golf will definitely make an appearance on the PlayStation 4, what will make it different from the previous releases and take advantage of the PS4's new hardware?

To be honest, probably nothing. Hot Shots Golf is never a game that has pushed the graphical limits of any system it has appeared on; the simple-style graphics have remained virtually unchanged for years and, at this point, are part of the series' charm. While we might see better backgrounds or more detail on the character models, Hot Shots Golf on the PlayStation 4 most likely won't be a game to show off to your friends to convince them to buy a PS4.

We will most likely see a jump in the amount of content and not how it looks; Hot Shots Golf for the PlayStation 4 will most likely see the highest amount of content the series has ever seen. Now that Sony has a better handle on how online gaming works, we will likely see a multitude of online modes far exceeding those of the PlayStation 3 Hot Shots Golf release. However, as Hot Shots Golf doesn't innovate, but merely provides a new coat of paint on the same experience, many of these online modes will most likely be the same from previous releases with one or two new modes thrown in.

Hot Shots Golf will most likely continue the trend of cameo characters, so it would be no surprise to see Cole McGrath from InFamous or Nathan Drake from Uncharted make an appearance; sorry Kratos fans, he has already shown up in the series and to date, Hot Shots Golf has never had the same cameo twice.

The Hot Shots Golf series is best compared to Pokémon. While each game in either series fundamentally features the same ideas, concepts and executions, the core gameplay is so great that it doesn't need changes; after all, you don't fix what isn't broken and the high sales and reviews each game in the series receives shows that Hot Shots Golf is far from broken. While Hot Shots Golf for the PlayStation 4 won't push your system to the limits or redefine the gaming landscape, it will present a mechanically solid and very fun game and, at the end of the day, that is what's important.

Eager to get your swing on? PS4 Experts provides up-to-the-minute coverage on the Hot Shots Golf series; as soon as we hear something about this series on the PS4, so will you!

Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 09/02/2012

March 24th, 2013 Update -- Where Is Hot Shots Golf?

At the launch, or close to the launch, of every Sony system we've seen a Hot Shots Golf game. As excited fans watched the live announcement of the PlayStation 4 on February 20th, once Sony begin to rattle off games for the new system it was almost a guarantee Hot Shots Golf would show up.

But an announcement never came. What does this mean for the series?

Well, nothing yet. It's only been a little over a year since we last saw Hot Shots Golf, with Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational on the PlayStation Vita, so the series is still alive and kicking. Likewise, the PlayStation 4 announcement seemed to pander to western tastes; with Hot Shots Golf seeing its strongest sales in Japan, perhaps Sony wanted to save its announcement for a separate event. After all, the games shown at the conference were most likely a small amount of the total that Sony has planned.

Hot Shots Golf is a game that Sony can build almost entirely around their new social features, so it's almost a given we'll see it pop up sooner or later. Keep your eyes on E3!

Update by - Joshua Phillips

Insert Date: 3/24/2013

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