A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Everybody's Golf is a family-oriented golf simulation with little in the way of iffy content beyond a couple of mild curse words in text dialogue and an optional character animation dubbed "sexy" that makes the player's avatar strut and pose in a vaguely provocative manner. Everything else is clearly geared for players of nearly all ages and skill levels, with plenty of in-game tips -- including multiple-choice quizzes -- to help golf rookies better understand the sport's rules, strategies, and mechanics. It also creates a suitable environment for friendly social and competitive play, either online or on the same couch with friends and family.
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What's it about?
EVERYBODY'S GOLF is the latest game in the decades-old PlayStation-exclusive Hot Shots Golf series, now renamed to share the same title as the franchise's Japanese and European editions. It retains the accessible, family-friendly vibe for which the series is famous while introducing a number of innovations and improvements. The game begins with players customizing an avatar before heading out on the course to enter a series of short tournaments and one-on-one matches against computer-controlled competitors. Swinging the club involves a simple and intuitive three-tap system -- which can be reduced to two taps for beginner players -- that requires accurate timing to initiate a swing, set strength, and determine accuracy. With each well-struck shot, your golfer gradually improves abilities in disciplines such as length, control, and backspin. As the game continues, more advanced mechanics are introduced, such as adding or subtracting a tiny bit of strength by pressing a different button at impact. Outside of tournaments, players are free to explore a hub world called Golf Island that contains side activities such as golf cart driving, treasure hunting, and quizzes on the rules of golf, as well as portals to play multiplayer events both locally and online.
Is it any good?
Don't let its cartoonish appearance fool you; this is a surprisingly deep and authentic simulation of real golf. Everybody's Golf accurately captures many of the sport's more nuanced details, including the effects of lie angle and wind, while providing players with realistic options such as the ability to declare their ball unplayable whenever they like in exchange for a penalty stroke and a drop in a new area. What's more, the fictional courses are splendidly designed and presented on a single map rather than hole by hole, which means in some modes you can actually walk (or drive) your golfer from the last green to the next tee, which makes for a much more immersive experience. The three-tap swing system may feel a bit dated compared to the more authentic joystick swings of other golf games, but it ought to prove easier for beginner players to learn and master.
But Everybody's Golf isn't perfect. For example, it takes too long to unlock new courses in the story mode. Players are stuck playing the first course over and over again for several hours before the second comes available. It's also surprisingly easy, given the trouble that the developers went through to achieve authenticity. Thanks to frequent use of oversized holes and forward tee boxes, experienced players will likely find themselves scoring 15 or even 20 under par before they can hit drives much past 250 yards, making even the so-called "serious" difficulty mode rather less than challenging. Still, there's plenty to recommend Everybody's Golf, especially if your primary interest is to test your skills against other human players online, where winning scores are consistently competitive.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. How many 15-minute nine-hole rounds do you think make up a reasonable and satisfying session of Everybody's Golf?
Talk about golf. Did Everybody's Golf increase your interest in the real-world sport? What sort of physical and mental skills does golf require in order for players to excel?
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