Everybody's Golf: World Tour

Wheelman demo, lots of DLC for PSN

SFIV, Everybody's Golf, LBP, etc.

Sony has updated the PlayStation Store with a Wheelman demo, some more DLC for Street Fighter IV, Everybody's Golf, LittleBigPlanet and Buzz, and the digital download version of Patapon 2 for PSP.

Everybody's Golf: World Tour

Everybody's Golf: World Tour

More than the sum of its pars.

Everybody's Golf: World Tour seems like an anachronism: the cutesy graphics, the tiny list of gameplay modes, the three-tap control scheme, giant "NICE SHOT!" congratulations unfurling at the top of the screen whenever you connect well. It's a far cry from Tiger Woods' world of a billion characters and courses, exploding mini-games and Nike underpants.

The main one-player mode is Challenge, where you unlock new courses (there are six in total), golfers, caddies, balls and outfits as you progress. To begin with, you have just one golfer and one course to play, and it isn't until you've played through eight Challenge levels - some 72 holes, in theory - that you actually unlock another one. Equally noticeable is that the new "Advanced" control system is secretly exactly the same as the old one: you press X to start your swing, press it again when you reach the desired power, then press it one more time as your club-head meets the ball to ensure a solid impact.

The difference is that rather than staring at a power meter (which you can still do if you're a traditionalist), you press X as your golfer reaches the different phases of his or her animation, with little ghostly outlines of the club and a small impact marker to guide you and illustrate good or bad timing. Spin can be added by holding d-pad directions. Putting is a bit different - the usual movement lines wrap to the surface contours and allow you to guestimate turn and pace, but you also get to watch the ghost of a ball surge forward as you bring the putter back to measure distance. As with the Advanced system in general, it's all extremely familiar and intuitive.

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Everybody's Golf 5 for March

Europe estimate same as US.

Everybody's Golf 5 will hopefully be released here in March for PS3, Sony UK told Eurogamer this morning after SCEA announced a similar release date overnight for North America.

Everybody's Golf: World Tour

Everybody's Golf: World Tour

Not a good walk spoiled.

Is it possible to start a review of a golf game without a reference to a good walk spoiled? Apparently not. But golf's real problem isn't that it spoils a good walk. It's that golfers spoil a potentially good game, with their blazers and ties, and their committees, and their archaic attitude to women and all that sort of thing (although don't tell my dad I said that: he's the captain at his local golf club).

Minna no Golf is, in stark contrast, a good game of golf, unspoiled by any of that. From start to finish, it just exudes charm. Like your caddy, who zooms off after each shot to make sure he (or she) is there, panting, to greet your ball when it lands. Or the 'NICE SHOT' that appears in great big multi-coloured letters every time you hit a good shot. Or the sound of cowbells, or the sight of swans as you make your way round the various courses. Or the slightly non sequitur but relaxing and serene images of tranquil vistas, or swimming dolphins, that greet you in pinpoint high definition at the end of every round (a personal favourite is the killer whale).

In terms of the actual game design, Minna no Golf is unabashedly old school. Unlike games like Tiger Woods, which have moved into the modern era by featuring a growing roster of licensed names and courses and incorporating a mimetic analog stick waggle, Minna no Golf does pretty much the same thing that previous games in the series have always done. Which means that Minna no Golf, unlike the real thing, and the games that aim to ape it, provides a wonderful invigorating streak of colour and character across the golf course.

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