(Sony for PSP)
By Mike Delano
The simple yet addictive gameplay of the Hot Shots Golf series is tailor-made for portable gaming. The timing-based hit mechanics for driving, chipping, and putting haven’t changed much since they debuted over a decade ago, but for bite-sized sessions on the road, it’s still the perfect mix of little effort/big reward. And the core mechanics have to be strong on the PSP entries into the series, because as powerful as the hardware is for a portable, it obviously can’t compete graphically with the PS3 Hot Shots title, released just a few months earlier. It may not seem like a fair comparison, but when you start piling up similar releases across different systems, it only helps to point out the strengths and weaknesses of each. A big part of the appeal of the recent Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds on the PS3 was the pleasure of experiencing the wide-open calm of golf (complete with finely detailed, sweeping seaside courses and breezy sound effects) in its big, HD glory. The graphics in Open Tee 2 are no slouch, but without the same level of immersion, you have to be content with the gameplay and the huge amount of customization, unlockables and multiplayer options. Which is more than enough, but also more of the same, so if you have any of the previous Hot Shots entries, you can probably live without this one. If not, this is the place to start.