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Review

Everybody's Golf Review

Hole in one?

Golf isn’t supposed to be fun. It is a serious pastime played by serious people while they talk about serious things, and anybody that doesn’t do that is clearly doing it wrong. However, nobody seems to have told Sony or Clap Hanz, as despite all of the obvious reasons not to, they’ve been plugging away making golf into a fun experience for the past twenty years. While fans will be glad to know that this year’s Everybody’s Golf is the most expansive entry yet, with more content than you can shake an oddly shaped golfing stick at, there’s a potential bunker looming if you’re wanting to play online.

Unlike its more serious brethren, Everybody’s Golf forgoes the use of an analogue stick for its shot types, holding onto the more welcoming gauge that has been a staple of the digital version of the sport for, well, forever. Using the ‘three tap’ principle – which starts, sets your power, and then your accuracy – you’ll soon be performing like a pro, and everything is made nice and clear for you to make the most of it. I still think a gauge is a hugely enjoyable way of controlling a golf game, and it still requires timing, skill, and practice, in order to succeed. Everybody’s Golf will take charge of a lot for you if you let it, from choosing your club to showing where you need to hit on the gauge to reach the pin, but again, all it does is streamline the experience and essentially keep it fun.

That’s the pervading sense of the whole package here, from creating a character using the extensive creation tools, teeing off at the same time as multiple opponents, and then watching the arc of four different balls heading out across the course before running after them, to the wilder moments such as the golf buggy racing and fishing, which both become available to you after beating certain challenges. Neither of them are exactly essential pastimes, but Everybody’s Golf is more interested in keeping you involved in its world through sheer exuberance rather than technological might.

Being an Everybody’s Golf game, nobody is likely expecting to be wowed by its visuals, but this is still the most handsome rendition of the game yet. Everything is crisp and clean, while the character models and the courses themselves are bright, colourful, and full of life, with some very nice depth of field effects to finish it off. Most importantly all of this serves its purpose, from the wild character creations through to the cheerful little island that serves as your golfing hub.

Offline Mode sees you climbing the ranks by participating in Challenge Tournaments. Winning tournaments will gift you new clubs or outfits to wear as well, so you can deck your character out in all sorts of fancy attire, and beating the computer by a set number of strokes will see them appear in the gallery on that particular course. When you rank up you’ll unlock a new vs. character to go head to head with across a Match Play game, which makes for a welcome change of pace, and always keeps you trying to get ahead even if you’ve had one particularly bad performance at a hole. They won’t cause you too much trouble at first, but they steadily increase in challenge as you progress, gifting you useful things like new shot types or yet more finery to clad your avatar in when you get past them.

Doing well also has other more meaningful rewards, so if you make a good shot during a round your character’s abilities will actually improve. Repeatedly managing to hit 100% power with a 1 Wood club will see your proficiency improve with that club, which in turn will allow you to hit the ball even further. Likewise, repeatedly landing the ball near to the pin will increase your control over that club as well. It feels like a great progression system, and one that gives you more or less instant feedback and growth after nearly every shot. However, it only later becomes apparent that not only is this progression for naut, Sony are hoping you’re going to spend even more money, as Everybody’s Golf’s micro-transactions come into focus once you hit the endgame.

Online should be where things really begin to heat up, and the manic Turf War mode sees opposing teams of players running around a series of holes trying to do as well as possible within a set time limit. It’s not always that easy to concentrate when you’re under pressure from both the clock, and your opponents, and it makes for a chaotic, but very fun little mode. Sadly this fun can be disrupted by the availability of micro-transactions for warp crystals that let you get around the course much quicker. Giving players the ability to pay for a speed advantage completely unbalances the mode, but it’s only the first of such things that Sony and Clap Hanz will need to have a good look at if they want to keep any kind of active community around the game in the long term.

Once you reach Level 7, you’re gifted a new, better set of clubs, which immediately diminishes anything you’ve already achieved or levelled with your original set. You can then level this set up further, but only by using gems, which can be found in small quantities out on the open courses, won in tournaments, or bought from the Playstation Store. Not only that, but there’s a random chance that when you upgrade you can double the potential increase, which invites players to keep resetting their clubs and trying for a ‘perfect’ set. You’d better be very well prepared though, as these new clubs also degrade, requiring repairing using those same gems again. Given the required grinding and the advantage that having a set of top end clubs can give you, it feels as though lots of people will be drawn into spending to remain competitive and get ahead.

PS4 Pro players are also privy to a definite advantage over their amateur console-owning compatriots. The option to play in high performance mode with a 60fps refresh makes a huge difference to the reaction time and feedback of those playing at 30fps. I’m not sure if the game segregates those playing on the more powerful hardware – hopefully it does in the name of fairness – but for some Everybody Golf fans, it’ll be more or less essential in order to get the best performance.

What’s Good:

  • Accessible golfing action
  • Characterful world and setting
  • Plenty of variety beyond plain golf.
  • PS4 Pro options are great

What’s Bad:

  • Microtransactions currently ruin online competition
  • Day one course DLC feels like a further cash-grab
  • High performance mode could give PS4 Pro players an advantage online

In some ways Everybody’s Golf has been well worth the wait. This is still the same gentle and appealing brand of arcade golf that fans have come to know and love, and it’s easy to get caught up in the sheer fun of it all. However, once you venture online you’ll discover that the game is currently deeply unbalanced, with micro-transactions and mobile-esque grinding sapping any sense of competition from proceedings, while asking players to reach for their wallets in order to gain an advantage. In a game that’s supposed to be all about the golfing fun, Sony have categorically found a way to put you firmly in the rough.

Score: 6/10

Version Tested: PlayStation 4 Pro

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17 Comments
  1. DrDamn
    Member
    Since: Dec 2013

    Couple of points. First off the skill levels you gain through good play are based on clubs but are tied to your character not your set of clubs, gear stats are separate so how is the levelling “for naut”? (Genuine question as I’ve not got to the end game but I thought the custom clubs worked like any other clubs in that they added to your character stats rather than replaced them.

    Secondly the game is a mid-priced release. £30 RRP. I think it’s really important that this is acknowledged in reviews, not just to encourage more games to take this approach but to provide context to other aspects like micro-transactions and day one course DLC.

    That said I think there is an argument against some of the approaches they have chosen to take. It needs some balance. I’d personally like to see a lot more in the way of restrictions placed in online tournaments to create more of a level playing field.
    When the top players are getting -20 on a 9 hole course due to club/character advantages and a “decent” score of -6 gets you well down the leaderboard you don’t feel like it’s all that fair.

    As a basis for the game going forward I really like this EG release. I think there are some things they need to address, but I can also see a lot of possibilities for expanding and extending the game too. It’s clear they have left some obvious placeholders for some expansion, hopefully like the PS3 release they continue to support and adapt the core game for some time.

    Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 13:03.
    • dave87fez
      Member
      Since: May 2011

      It’s all FOR NOUGHT 😉 because my fully maxed out standard club managed to get me driving up to about 320 yards with the right conditions. The maxed out custom club now has me regularly driving 400 yards, and hitting most Par 4 greens straight from the tee. Unless your custom clubs deteriorate and you don’t have the gems/willingness to pay cash to have them repaired, there is no reason to ever go back to any other clubs.

      Does anyone else wonder what the coins really do? I’ve got like 25,000 of them and apart from spending 30-50 for each fishing session, they’re just accumulating uselessly.

      Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 14:08.
      • dave87fez
        Member
        Since: May 2011

        Haha it’s NAUGHT, not NOUGHT or NAUT. Guess we’ve all bogeys on our face!

        Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 14:09.
      • DrDamn
        Member
        Since: Dec 2013

        It says “naut” in the article :).

        You missed my point though. The levelling you do up to say power 25 for the 1W/Driver is for your *character* not your *club set*. It is a skill associated with a club type not the club set. So custom clubs are still using the that level 25 power you gained whilst playing and adding to it.

        Coins can be spent on outfits and character customisation and other stuff in the shop. Additionally any character you’ve unlocked in your home area by beating them by 3 or more shots in a tournament can be copied by walking up to them and pressing X, but you need to pay coinage to get the parts you don’t have.

        Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 14:18.
      • dave87fez
        Member
        Since: May 2011

        My spelling correction was more for the article than yourself.

        And good point about the custom clubs already being “levelled up” upon acquisition; I didn’t really think of that as they’re so powerful off the bat.

        Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 14:58.
  2. Sitorimon
    Member
    Since: Jul 2011

    I am absolutely loving my time with it, but when I saw that you could pay to be faster in the turf wars mode, I just didn’t bother with that mode all together. It seems like a really weird way to push people to break a game mechanic by paying. Clearly, all those “uplock all upgrades” dlc’s do well enough elsewhere to bring it in here. A shame, hope it gets addressed because this is a fab game at its core. *jumps into golf buggy*

    Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 13:53.
  3. wonkey-willy
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    hope this doesn’t suffer with the same problem as its vita counterpart.
    couple of cracking shots get you to the green well within birdie,
    but ball always ends 10 foot away on the most jaunty angle possible making it nigh on impossible to hit the cup thus finishing with bogeys all over your face..

    Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 14:00.
    • freezebug2
      Member
      Since: Dec 2008

      I’ve found the greens very forgiving even when hitting just off the edge of the cup even at slight speed, a slow spin around the rim and a ting in the cup!

      The problems that usually occur are getting onto the green…hence no Albatross (on official) yet! :,(

      Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 18:47.
  4. B_Cambo
    Member
    Since: Oct 2012

    Might give this a shot later not had a golf game in a while and looks like good fun. Can’t argue with 30 quid either 😎

    Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 14:52.
  5. Tony Cawley
    Pint! Pint!
    Since: Feb 2009

    Ah, they’ve definitely taken the wrong approach with paid content then. These days, it seems common practice for paid content to be cosmetic only, which you can’t really argue with. But if you can pay to give yourself an advantage here, I think I’ll be giving this a miss, which is a shame because I’ve enjoyed Everybody’s Golf before and was slightly tempted by this.

    Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 15:42.
    • R1MJAW
      Member
      Since: May 2010

      The only advantage gained from spending money is time saved collecting gems, which are gained easily enough.
      Custom clubs only become useable once you finish the campaign and reach Rank 7 even if you buy them (which is unnecessary as you get a free set and/or you can also buy another set with gems).
      To fully upgrade a set of custom clubs takes 110 gems, once you have all 5 courses unlocked you can get anywhere between 20 and 40 gems per day (more if you have the dlc courses) so it doesn’t take too long to do.

      Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 16:08.
    • DrDamn
      Member
      Since: Dec 2013

      You can get some gems and turf war tokens just running about each course once a day. Each day a hole per half course (9H) is littered with coins and other pick-ups. Find the right hole and just run about to collect them. The game itself still excels greatly in local and with friends multiplayer where you can set the rules for who has what yourself.

      Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 16:11.
  6. DrDamn
    Member
    Since: Dec 2013

    Additional point on the review:

    “The option to play in high performance mode with a 60fps refresh makes a huge difference to the reaction time and feedback of those playing at 30fps.”

    The shot meter runs at 60fps on a regular PS4 too apparently. It switches as you take your shot.

    Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 16:16.
    • freezebug2
      Member
      Since: Dec 2008

      Makes no difference, I use a Pro PS4 and can only average 30% perfect impact….it’s too bloody fast to stop! :P

      Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 18:50.
  7. badger
    Member
    Since: Apr 2012

    Unbalanced review in my opinion, all your gripes seem to be about the online part of the game, which may well be true but that’s only half of the game. I’ve played every single EG games there’s been and I think the single player mode on this is excellent.
    Don’t forget some people, myself included couldn’t care less about online play, and to give this a 6/10 primarily based on the online issues is a touch misleading.

    Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 17:13.
    • dave87fez
      Member
      Since: May 2011

      To be fair, the 6/10 will only be misleading if people don’t the article above the score, which sings the praises of the single player mode. These people would have only themselves to blame.

      Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 17:56.
  8. RFC2007
    Member
    Since: Sep 2009

    A 6/10 score makes this game sound mediocre at best. As someone who hasn’t even touched the online side of things I’d still say it’s well worth an 8/10 based on the addictive gameplay and single player content. I’ve not had it out of my PS4 since release.

    Every time I have a spare 10 mins it gets booted up for a quick 9 holer :)

    Online may well not be the best, but I think it’s pretty harsh to be this critical, when e.g the likes of PES titles are given really high scores yet are often barely playable online.

    Comment posted on 12/09/2017 at 18:49.

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