If imitation truly is the most sincere form of flattery, then the folks who work for Hot Shots Golf developer Clap Hanz must be blushing nonstop with all of the flattery coming from Eagle Eye Golf, a budget-priced game that's absolutely shameless in how it apes the popular PlayStation golf series. The golfers look similar, the presentation is similar, the courses are similar...even the font used on the front of the box is nearly identical to Hot Shots Golf. Seeing as they have so much in common, it would be reasonable to assume that Eagle Eye Golf is just as entertaining as Hot Shots Golf, but that's not quite the case. The areas in which Eagle Eye deviates from the Hot Shots formula are some of the game's weakest points, and while it can be a fun game if you can look past these problems, the simple fact is that there are many other golf games that are better than this one.
Eagle Eye Golf has a variety of single- and multiplayer game modes. Single-player options include tournament, stroke, mission, survival, and training. You might think that training is where you go to learn the basics, but it isn't; here you just play a basic practice round. The closest thing the game has to a tutorial is mission mode, which is a series of short challenges where you'll have to learn how to shoot fades and draws, as well as how to read greens and judge the wind. You'll also be a master of creative shot-making by the time you're halfway through since you'll routinely find trees and other obstacles placed between you and your target. Mission mode can be entertaining, but it runs out of steam about halfway through, thanks to a lack of variety--you'll be doing the same sorts of things over and over again. In survival mode, you simply take on a series of golfers and try to win as many matches in a row as you can. Whoever wins the first hole, wins the match. If you lose, it's game over. You're supposed to be able to unlock items in survival mode if you win enough matches, but we won nine in a row and never unlocked a thing. Eagle Eye's multiplayer lets up to four people play on a single PlayStation 2 using one controller. All of the modes found here are pretty standard. There's stroke and match play of course, as well as skins, best ball, and sudden death. Because of its odd name, 2ball4some may sound somewhat unique, but it's just team-based alternate-shot stroke play. There's no online support to speak of.
Tournament play is more like a career mode since you'll be taking a golfer through a series of tournaments and earning attribute boosts along the way. You can create a golfer using the game's limited, and somewhat offensive (there's a character model called "chubby Asian"), character creation options, or use one of two unlocked golfers. Hopefully you're happy with the available choice of golfers, because it will be a long time before you get to play as anyone else. According to the game's Web site, the only way to unlock new golfers and courses is to win tournaments, but neither the game nor the manual ever explains this. After hours upon hours of play, and many tournaments won, we never unlocked a new golfer, so it's anyone's guess as to what it takes to do so. Two things you can earn and unlock, however, are skill points and new items. Making birdies and eagles during stroke or tournament play gives you points that can then be used to power up your golfer. Winning a tournament will net you a new club, glove, ball, or shoes. As it does with so many of its other aspects, the game does a poor job explaining how attribute points and items affect your golfer, and a cumbersome menu system doesn't help either. The tournaments themselves are standard, though there are odd cutscenes featuring someone that's supposed to be your rival, which play before and after the event. Your rival's pretty nice and rather humble, and the game never explains why this person is your rival, so it's all kind of pointless.
There are just seven courses in the game, none of which are real. Most of these feel as if they could have easily been in a Hot Shots game. There are a few neat courses, though, such as the Las Vegas course that's played only at night and the course that takes place in a theme park. Should you tire of the included courses, you can head to the course editor to create your own links masterpiece. The course editor could hardly be described as robust, but it does allow for some interesting designs, and it's easy to use.