It may not have the same hardboiled action movie thrills as the upcoming Blood & Truth, the twisted humour of Trover Saves the Universe, or heroic power fantasies of Iron Man, yet Everybody’s Golf VR is a game that PSVR owners should not overlook.
You don’t even need to guess when Everybody’s Golf VR is; this latest game from Clap Hanz and Japan Studio does precisely what it says on the tin. This VR spin-off feels far more condensed than 2017’s Everybody’s Golf, hacking away non-essentials such as social hubs and mini-games – basically, any part that isn’t focused on the golfing itself – and losing the key multiplayer features that Everybody’s Golf has long been known for is a shame, but there’s still an engrossing fun factor here. It’s been supercharged by virtual reality, yet walks that same line between casual and complex golfing.
At first you’re given just one 3-hole course to play on before other options slowly start to open up, adding more and longer courses to what you can play. Although it’s not as much of a focus in Everybody’s Golf VR, there’s still an XP-driven progression system that feeds you rewards as you rank up. This helps give the game some structure with additional unlocks such as new clubs and caddie cosmetics also serve as a welcome incentive to continue playing.
Motion controls are the only way of interacting with the game. Both the DualShock 4 and PlayStation Move can be used, but there’s a very clear winner. For the most innovative feeling, accurate and immersive experience you’ll need one of Sony’s ageing wand-like peripherals.
Wrapping both my hands around the PlayStation Move controller (which I managed despite my freakishly large paws) and pointing it toward the ground is something that just feels so natural. Then, using as little effort as possible, I took my first swing. Nothing. Again, nothing. Again, nothing.
Having dialled my exact height into the game, Everybody’s Golf VR had calculated the ball placement perfectly so that the only way I could land a hit was to correct my posture, straighten my arms, then maintain that form as I went in for another swing. Say what you will about PlayStation Move and its inherent limitations, here it works incredibly well. Twisting right before landing a shot will curve a ball’s trajectory, while slicing it from inside a bunker will make you feel as though you’re genuinely in a rough spot.
What tops this all off is the fantastic UI design. Despite its cartoony, casual aesthetics, Everybody’s Golf has always had a knack for presenting players with all the information they need when judging a shot. That seamlessly carries into virtual reality with a non-intrusive map, power gauge, and various other numbers and overlays that help judge every shot.
If playing purely for fun, you can get away with mindlessly swinging your way onto the green before going for a putt, but there are options to change direction, swap which club you’re using, and even zoom out to get a look at the entire course. This is all done through a series of simple button presses.
It’s hardly a complaint nor a surprise, but once you’ve got those basics locked in, the core gameplay has little else to offer. Straight off the bat (or club), Everybody’s Golf VR gives you all the tools you need – the fun and challenge comes from the various course designs and honing your technique.
It’s also tough to fault how the game looks. While not a cinematic jaw dropper, this latest entry in the EG franchise is a notable improvement with its more realistic characters and environments. It loses at tiny bit of that quirky charm, though the added immersion makes for a welcome trade-off.