Hot Shots Golf Hands-On

We get our hands on the PSP game that the Japanese are calling Minna no Golf Portable.

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TOKYO--Earlier today, during a visit to Sony's expansive PSP booth at the Tokyo Game Show, we were able to get our hands on a demo version of Hot Shots Golf (working title). The demo featured only four holes (two rounds of two holes each) and a handful of characters, but we're pleased to report that the game--development of which is currently 70 percent complete--is already looking and feeling a lot like its PlayStation and PS2 counterparts.

The characters we were able to choose from before teeing off weren't nearly as wacky as those that are featured in the recently released PS2 game Hot Shots Golf Fore, but after selecting a young male golfer with spiky hair we were pleased to find that our options for clothing him included not only a number of different outfits, but also a brightly colored motorcycle helmet--we can only imagine what other accessories will be featured in the finished game. Once we got into the game proper everything felt extremely familiar--all of the onscreen indicators for wind direction, shot strength, fairway undulations, and so on, were more or less identical to those in the aforementioned PS2 game. The game uses the same three-click method to take shots as in previous entries. When we played a good shot our character would whistle, and when we hit a bad one his speech bubble contained a skull and crossbones.

All of the visuals in Hot Shots Golf were crisp and impressive, and this was especially evident when we were zooming in and out of and rotating the map of the hole we were playing before taking a shot. The putting also worked in exactly the same way that you'd expect if you're a fan of the series, with the contours of the greens marked by a grid that's enhanced with white dots that "roll" at varying speeds to indicate what your ball is likely to do. Like many of the PSP demos on display at this year's Tokyo Game Show, this one was far more brief than we would have liked, and it definitely left us hungry for more.

For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of the Tokyo Game Show 2004.

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