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Sony's offbeat Hot Shots Golf series tees off on the PlayStation 2 with 15 playable characters on six fictitious golf courses. Graphics are rendered entirely in 3D and courses are playable in four different seasons, which alters their appearance and overall difficulty based on weather and wind. As in the two previous games, a horizontal meter is used to determine power and accuracy. A variety of single-player and multiplayer modes are featured, with four-player support in Stroke Play and Match Play.
VS. Mode pits players against one of the 12 hidden characters in a Match Play format. Defeating a character unlocks him or her for play in the other modes. Stroke Play is also available on any of the unlocked courses, while Training is specifically targeted at practicing certain holes or lie conditions. The Tournament mode consists of multiple events and competitions where players can win items, trophies, and equipment as well as gain the experience needed to advance in the rankings.
Each time players participate in the single-player modes, they have the chance to earn Hot Shots points by performing well, such as keeping the ball on a fairway, chipping in from certain locations, and achieving par or better. Points are also deducted for mistakes, such as hitting the ball into a sand trap, so it pays to be accurate. The points can then be banked and used in the Shop to purchase new equipment, caddies, environmental items (such as crabs that crawl along a course), and bonus options.
While players cannot create their own golfer, statistics for each hole is saved as well as overall performance in such areas as longest putt, best drive, fairway hits, percentage of pars, eagles, and birdies, and other achievements. An overall ranking is also kept, which can be improved through winning various tournaments. A separate mode called National Tournament allows players to enter in a special code and compete for prizes after registering at www.hotshotsgolf3.scea.com. The contest lasts until September 30, 2002. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide