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Hot Shots Golf 3
Review By:  Christopher Coey
Developer:  Clap Hanz
Publisher:  Sony
# of Players:  1-4
Genre:  Sports
ESRB:  Everyone
Online:  No
Accessories:  Memory Card
Date Posted:  5-14-02

This game is addictive. I havenít played a round of actual golf in my entire adult life, but in the short time Iíve owned Hot Shots Golf 3 Iíve played more rounds than I can count. Itís more than the simple kind of addiction that I experience with most great games. Like when you canít wait to get back to your saved game to finish off the next level, thinking about the game in your sleep, etc. Weíve all gone through it (Am I right? Or am I a complete freak?) But with HS3, itís not so much a NEED to get back to finish the game, since there is not real END. Itís just that whenever I have free time, all I want to do is play this game. Until now, the only PS2 game thatís come close to this one has been SSX.

I wouldnít expect everyone to have the same reverence for this game that Iíve grown to have. After all, it is just a golf game. But keep in mind, I donít play real golf, OR golf games. The last time I played video golf was at a local bar when I played a couple holes of Golden Tee. As a game, HS3 has a lot going for it: Itís easy to pick up, but impossible to completely master. It requires a lot of skill, but anyone can be competitive. It has cute, quirky graphics, yet itís still a solid golf game. On your own, or with a group of friends, this game is fun.

The controls are what one would expect; the standard three button push system. Select a club, then press the X button. When the meter reaches the desired power level, push X again. Push X a final time when the meter reaches the Ďimpact zoneí to launch your ball. Thatís the basics. But as with all great games, once youíre ready for something more advanced, the game provides it. You can alter the trajectory of your ball by giving it spin, curving you shots, and even creating backspin after the ball lands.

There are two main modes within the game: Tournament and VS mode. You begin the game with a choice of three characters. By competing in VS mode against any of the other characters and beating them, you unlock that character for use in any of the other modes. There is a total of 15 characters in all, each with backstory, individual animations, and a range of voice-overs. Competing in Tournament mode unlocks the additional courses, up to a total of six courses which increase in difficulty. But it doesnít stop there. The game continues to reward you with a vast number of other Ďunlockables.í You really would need to become a master golfer before unlocking all of the extra club sets, specialty balls, wallpapers, caddies, etc.

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