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This article was published on May 21, 2019

Review: Everybody’s Golf VR (nearly) aces it

Review: Everybody’s Golf VR (nearly) aces it
Tristan Greene
Story by

Tristan Greene

Editor, Neural by TNW

Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: He/him

Everybody’s Golf VR is a delicious steak in dire need of some potatoes. It’s a title that will easily make its way toward the front of the pantheon when it comes to both PSVR games and sports titles for the VR platform in general. I just can’t help but feel it could be so much more.

The meat

Clap Hanz’ PSVR exclusive Everybody’s Golf VR is the first virtual reality entry in the company’s long-running series, and perhaps its finest effort. It supports the Dual Shock 4, but I’ll admit I only tested it once with the regular controller. It worked, but I  won’t be going back.

I spent the rest of my time playing the game with the Move controller, and you should too. With it, you’ll perform drives, pitches, and putts in the game by imitating actual swing mechanics as accurately as possible. Instead of selecting a character, as in previous games in the franchise, you are the character and the game is played from your perspective. It’s brilliant, once you get the hang of it.

The short version here is that Everybody’s Golf VR the best golf game you can get for the VR platform. If you have a PSVR and you like golf, you probably won’t be disappointed. I say probably because I did run up against a wall when I first started playing the game. I play golf (poorly) in real life and my first hour with Everybody’s Golf VR did not go as well as I’d hoped it would.

It turns out that swinging a PlayStation Move controller with the same speed and temerity with which one swings an actual golf club produces less than optimal results – and a sore back. I found it simple to hit the ball with 100 percent power at first, but learning to dial it back for a more nuanced approach took a bit of effort.

Once you figure out the motions, however, the game is incredibly intuitive. And accurate. I’ve recently developed a slice in my real game, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t show up in Everybody’s Golf VR too. Uncanny.

More meat

Everybody’s Golf VR gets the rest of its core package right also. The audio is spot-on and takes advantage of PSVR’s immersive earphones. You’ll be treated to the traditional chirping birds, tin-cup tinks, and off-the-tee thwacks you’re used to from golf games, only now you can turn your head in the direction of the sound and you’ll hear it louder. And the voice acting – which has run the gamut from goofy to great in the series’ previous installments – is surprisingly charming.

In fact, this is the first golf game I’ve ever played that featured fully-rendered caddy characters that didn’t annoy me. I found myself grateful for the company of mine as I contemplated long putts and celebrated good lies. Playing golf in VR is a bit lonely.

No potatoes

Unfortunately, Everybody’s Golf VR still feels a bit like a blueprint. Don’t get me wrong, it has a few bells and a couple of whistles sprinkled throughout its level unlocks and golf courses. But there’s a painful lack of game modes holding the whole experience back.

There’s no multiplayer to speak of. It would have been nice if there was some sort of hot-seat (or hot-headset, as the case may be) local multiplayer, if synchronous online play simply isn’t possible. But sadly, there isn’t even an asynchronous challenge option. There are leader boards, and you can always play separate games with friends online in party chat, but something more would have given the game some much-needed replay value. 

In lieu of multiplayer, Clap Hanz would have been well served to create a dedicated tournament, season, career, or story mode. Alas, it has none. All in all, Everbody’s Golf VR is an excellent game, but there’s no potatoes to go with the meat.

I’ll eventually tire of knocking a ball around by myself without so much as an AI-powered bot to compete against. And when that happens: my caddy won’t be enough company to keep me there.

Despite a lack of depth, it’s still blast to play thanks to a perfectly translated experience and top-notch immersion. Everybody’s Golf VR reminded me why VR is my favorite place to play games. Unless you hate golf, it’s a must-own title for the PSVR system.

I’m hoping it’ll get updates, DLC, or a quick sequel to address the lack of extended play options, but that doesn’t stop Everybody’s Golf VR from being among the best VR experiences I’ve had to date. It’s available for PlayStation VR on 21 May.

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