Review by Skyehill

"An OK game of golf, just not great."

Console golf titles had reached their peak near the end of the Sega Genesis' lifespan. EA's PGA series was the highpoint, but then it went horribly wrong with the advent of the PS1 and other next generation consoles. Then Hot Shots Golf 1 came out. In the greater scheme of console golf titles, it was superior to the rest of the junk out there. In reality it was a golf title squarely aimed at little kids, but redeemed itself with older gamers by at least trying to be a semi-realistic in terms of physics and club lengths. In other words, it was a game trying to be everything to everyone. HSG2 was more of the same.

Now we have Hot Shots Golf 3, the first in the HSG series for the PS2. Basically you're getting the same exact game from the PS1 with improved graphics(greatly) and a deeper single player mode.

What's good?

- The course graphics are pretty sharp.
- The courses are fake, but designed nicely. Trees and other obstacles strategically placed to make most golfers think before hitting their tee shot.
- Lots of extras to open and/or buy
- If the game holds your interest, the single-player mode is deep and should offer many hours of gameplay.
- Nice putting config

What's not so good?
- Only 5 courses
- The players are way too goofy and generic. The final set of characters in the game have a goth theme. Goth!? And I won't spoil by saying who the final boss character is that you have to beat, but sheesh! Horrible. Simply horrible.
- The audio is horrendous. Do you like repetitious comments, audio dropouts, and poor audio sampling? Well HSG3 is for you. It's like they spent all their time on the course graphics and then threw in the audio on the last day of development. I honestly can't remember a worse sounding golf title.
- The online tournament mode was way too easy to hack, which allowed cheaters to ruin the tournaments.
- In single player mode, you play a series of computer controlled players. Beat them and you can play as them. The game allows you to select the course and the conditions under which you play. This means you can constantly play on the easiest course and destroy each opponent one by one. Because of this, I never lost a single match to any of the CPU players. They should have chosen the courses to match the abilities of the new player.

There's some minor hope for HSG4, because its rumored that they'll be adding online play to it. That ability to play others over the Internet would offer a great mode that would definitely increase the lifespan of a game that sorely needs it.

If you're looking for goofy golf in the vein of Mario Golf and every other HSG game, you'll probably like HSG3 (but dislike the character choices), but if you want a real game of golf, you'll need to look elsewhere because this isn't it. As a console golf game fan for over 10 years now, I don't like HSG3 enough to recommend. A rental is probably in your best interest.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 08/04/02, Updated 08/04/02

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