After playing all the Hot Shot Golf games on the Playstation 2 and being very pleased with all of them, I am again impressed with the new Out of Bounds version for the Playstation 3. Beginning with a look at graphics, I don't know if I would label them true 'next generation' in appearance but they are very nice to look at. Whether it is reflections off of water or vegetation or clothes on the players and caddies, it is well done in my opinion. As far as seamless game play, you're going to get that here. There is no lag or stutter in any animations and the load times are virtually non-existent in almost every case. Movement from hole to hole is quick and a round of golf can be too. I can play a round of 9 holes in about 12 to 15 minutes (I'm still on the 9 hole challenges at this point in the game).
When it comes to the controls used in playing the game, they are easy to learn and not hard to master, with one exception. This new version introduces a new type of advanced shot method where you watch the backswing of your player and look for flashing lights at certain points to gauge how hard to swing. Upon making your downswing, a circular meter below the golfer has a ring around it that collapses toward a ball icon and when the circle shrinks to encompass the ball, you hit the X button on the controller at just the right time to get a perfect hit. It sounds complicated but it isn't really. It is all a matter of timing and a little patience required. I personally still use the traditional shot method as seen in previous Hot Shot games which is the power bar at the bottom which gives you more precision in setting power and showing just where to hit a solid impact on the ball. I've found the advanced shot type a bit awkward personally and even though the manual says that the new method offers better range and impact zone, I haven't noticed any significant differences between the two shot methods and this is after playing many rounds with many different types of clubs using both shot types.
So far I've only played on two courses in the challenge mode (you open up new courses after beating a computer opponent in each challenge session) and what I've seen so far is good stuff. There is options to play regular games (stroke, match play, etc.) aside from the challenges and you can do practice rounds also where you can set course conditions to help you make shots in certain types of situations. There are 5 main characters that you can choose to start out with and each one has their own individual strengths, animations, and funny ways of talking. There is also several different caddies that add a good dose of humor now and again during the rounds.
I haven't played online yet and I don't know If I will do that but the instruction manual is very detailed on how to do this and the manual is excellent regarding all other facets of the game also. Something to look forward to, according to the game makers, is the fact that later on you can go online to download new content for the game including new courses, new gear, and other goodies. If you're a past fan of Hot Shots Golf, I would definitely recommend picking up Out of Bounds because it's a great game in my opinion and should bring many hours of fun to those that like golf.