A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is the second of Sony's family-friendly Hot Shots Golf games to be released for the PlayStation Portable, and that, unlike the first, it supports online play. Common Sense Media doesn't recommend online play for pre-teens. However, the game doesn't offer voice chat and players can only make comments by selecting them from a preset list, which reduces the likelihood of inappropriate online antics to nil and makes impossible the exchange of personal information. That said, some of the preset comments are mean spirited and/or mildly suggestive, such as "Next freak in line, please," and "Can't keep my eyes off of you!"
What's it about?
The first Hot Shots Golf game to be released on the PlayStation Portable in more than three years, HOT SHOTS GOLF: OPEN TEE 2 is analogous in design to the recently released Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds for PlayStation 3. Players work through a similar career mode composed of numerous tournaments that unlock more powerful golfers, and are provided with a comparable character loyalty system that rewards players for sticking with their favorite club wielders. Fans of Out of Bounds will also recognize Open Tee 2's new online mode, which supports up to a dozen competitors and sorts players into tournaments based on their skill levels. Simply put, it's everything people loved about Hot Shots Golf for the living room squished into the narrow confines of the PlayStation Portable.
Hot Shots Golf games have never been known for their punishing difficulty, and Open Tee 2 is no different. Experienced players can expect to begin shooting subpar rounds the moment they switch on the game, while 18-hole scores of 15 or 20 under par will become commonplace as they near the end of the single-player career mode. But simplicity has also been one of Hot Shots' strong suits; its tried-and-true three-tap shot system is easy for anyone to get the hang of, golfer or not, and once you get into the "swing" of things you'll find 9-hole rounds take only about 10 minutes to finish -- perfect for casual players, and, in the case of Open Tee 2, gamers on the go.
Is it any good?
But don't let this golf simulator's short rounds and accessibility fool you; Open Tee 2, like its predecessors, is crammed with more than enough content to justify its $30 price tag. With 12 courses, 320 golfer items to unlock, and several modes -- including a fun little hole-in-one challenge -- there are dozens of hours' worth of play to be squeezed out of this family-friendly, handheld golf game. And the online mode ought not intimidate; with no voice chat and only a small selection of pre-set comments that players can use to communicate with one another, the only thing that other players can do to ruin you or your child's experience is quit the game, which will simply end the session.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sportsmanship. The game provides a wide variety of comments which players can use to express their feelings, ranging from compliments ("Perfect form!") to insults ("Try not to suck more."). Which do you prefer to use? If you select a rude comment, do you mean to use it lightheartedly or not? If so, do you think that other players will always interpret it that way?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.