Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee 2 Hands-On Preview

There’s no doubt that Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds on the PS3 was a success. The new three-click shot system and the beautiful graphics introduced a whole new generation of console owners to the popular Sony franchise, and many longtime fans of the series enjoyed the game immensely despite the changes to the franchise formula. Still, there were those who felt that the game was going away from the "traditional" Hot Shots by focusing more on the new shot system and toning down the comical nature of the game. If you’re one of those, I’d like to point you in the direction of Open Tee 2.

The sequel to the immensely popular PSP classic Hot Shots Golf: Open Tee, Open Tee 2 is classic, unadulterated Hot Shots on the PSP. It doesn’t have nearly the best graphics on the PSP, and it doesn’t completely try to change how the game is played too much; it relies on the tried and true formula, and seems to succeed in spades.

Of course, there are a few differences in Open Tee 2-otherwise who would get it, right? While some are questionable changes (caddies are just drawings on the screen that pop up from time to time, for example) the additions in Open Tee 2 are welcome and really seem to make the experience a more coherent and solid one.

One of the two differences is how Challenge Mode is handled. Like the other games, Open Tee 2 places a large emphasis on customizing your golfer with attire and stat boosts. As you win matches in one of three cards (head, body, and accessory) you unlock cards of the same name, giving you new items to equip on your golfer. You also get stat increases; head increases control, body increases power, and accessory increases spin.

Unlike Out of Bounds, Clap Hanz doesn’t try to make the game walk the line between realistic and arcade, as a lot of the customizable equipment is so comical and absurd you may feel bad using it. Toy mallets as clubs, other random things replacing the ball, cross-dressing with a sumo topknot-there’s a lot of choices for equipping your golfer and using your prizes, so I’m sure you can find something to make you laugh.

Along with the revamped (and improved) Challenge Mode, Open Tee 2 also brings multiplayer support to the table. You can have on-the-spot matches and local ad-hoc multiplayer, but what will likely be the favorite mode of most Hot Shotters is the infrastructure online play, which will allow for up to 16 players to compete in Open Tee 2 tournaments, and support head-to-head worldwide play against domestic and international foes. As of now the test servers in the US are running, but the number of people playing is far and in between. When I have managed to get something going, the game has handled admirably (especially for a pre-launch title) and has little of the issues plaguing other PSP games’ online play. For now, at least.

So will you like Open Tee 2? Fans of Open Tee will likely pick this up regardless of what the new features are. With a better single player, a multiplayer and over 300 objects to win for your golfer, there will be plenty to do in Open Tee 2 when it hits stores on June 3rd, so if you’ve yet to try Hot Shots on a portable or are on the line, go ahead and remember to give it a try. Maybe we’ll tee off together online come June.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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