At a recent NYC media event, PS3 Fanboy was able to get our hands on a newly localized version of Hot Shots Golf 5. The newest iteration of Clap Hanz's casual golfing game keeps the franchise's highly accessible gameplay, but gains a new level of unprecedented detail and personality, made possible by the PS3. The visuals are impressive, but considering how old the Japanese original is, it no longer has the "wow" factor it had when we first saw the game.
The build we played featured the same characters from the Japanese game and the same charming voice acting from the Japanese original. However, localization is not yet complete, and the Sony representative on hand was unable to comment whether or not both English and Japanese language tracks will remain in the game. We urged them to -- let's hope they take our advice.
The traditional three-press model returns in Hot Shots Golf 5, which has you timing button presses to determine the strength of a shot. However, a new advanced mode of swinging has been introduced. In this mode, you must look at the character and the position of their club. As they lift their club, you will press X to command them to swing. Because it doesn't use a HUD, it's a very natural way of interpreting the sport, although it does take some time getting used to. Supposedly, you'll be able to add a bit more slice and spin to the ball in this mode.
Solid graphics, solid gameplay and fantastic presentation make Hot Shots Golf 5 a worthwhile addition to the PS3 library. The beginning of the year is usually slow for games, but this will certainly make a splash when it releases in March, exclusively for the PS3.