Even though Tiger Woods has had an injury prone season, he has done extremely well for himself this year. Winning the U.S Open and releasing Tiger Woods 2009 for Sony’s PlayStation 3. But the most important and age old question is, ‘Has the game changed much, and is it worth your hard-earned cash?’
Well Tiger Woods is back and he’s back in style. EA Games have a reputation for churning out titles year after year with little to no changes, besides the year at the end of the title. To say this about Tiger Woods would be an inaccurate and an unjustified comment, as EA Games take Tiger Woods 09 to the next level of golfing.
The first thing you’ll notice is that this time around you’re not alone as you’ll have your very own coach – Hank Haney who will make all the difference from getting a bogey to a birdie. He’ll also recommend that you take to the driving range and tune your golf clubs (Irons, Drivers, Woods, and Wedges); so you can make the fairway each and every time. Even if you are new to the Tiger Woods series, or golf itself, customization is a simple process that even an amateur can comprehend. You’ll also be able to take free lessons from your new coach, Haney. After each round you will be shown your statistics from that game. A list will appear to show you what you need to improve upon; Power, accuracy, short game and putting.
Choosing one of the areas above, that needs improving the most, enters you into a drill that you need to complete to go for your exam. You’ll have 60 seconds to hit as many balls in the chosen white circle, which will increase your time limit and your points. This is a very important feature by helping your custom character achieve their true potential.
As always you’ll be able to create a character from the ground up by changing their face features e.g. age, facial hair, actual hair, eye colour, blemishes and your nose. An old feature which has been improved is the ability to still add your own face via Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE Vision Camera, or via an uploaded image from the Internet.
Predicted to be the first sportsman to earn $1,000,000,000 dollars by 2010, Tiger is anything but short of cash. The ways you’ll earn cash in the game is simple. Play tournaments or win tournaments. The better you do on the course, the more money you'll swing into your bank. Play bad however, and coach Haney is never far behind to criticise your play, and will continually update your attributes depending on how you have been playing in recent matches. This is a nice edition that works well in the Tiger Woods franchise. By getting each ball on target, putting precisely and winning trophies these attributes will be upgraded or downgraded accordingly. This will make all the difference to how you play the game. Keep playing bad and you’ll become an amateur. So you will have to keep on top of your game if you want to reach the standard to even try and compete with Tiger Woods himself. You’ll be able to take your hard earned cash to the Pro Shop where you will be able to purchase new items for your custom character. From clubs to shoes to watches can be purchased in the Pro Shop, though some of these items will need to be unlocked via the Career Mode.
Tiger Woods 09 includes five brand-new courses; Wolf Creek, Sheshan, Gary Player, Bay Hill and Wentworth. This is a fantastic and welcomed edition to the series which boosts the overall course count to 16, this should keep even the die-hard fan busy, until TW2010.
The visual presentation in the Tiger Woods games have always been impressive. So impressive it is odd that you can’t smell the freshly cut grass or the wind-blowing on your face. TW09 looks much improved over its counterparts, with crispier looking greens and a fantastic draw distance seeing beautiful trees and wonderful water features, all running in 720p at a smooth rate with no slow-down issues. While I believe EA Games can improve on the graphics of TW09 I can’t wait until the next instalment of Tiger Woods.
The sound in TW09 is the ultimate in Dolby Digital glory, from the ‘whooshes’ from the trees above to the ‘plops’ from the lakes below. Combined with an HD (High Definition) TV you’ll feel like you are really there. So get your woolly jumper on and wrap up warm. An updated feature which didn’t really appear in earlier renditions is the Real Time Swing Feedback System. This makes a more realistic and enjoyable experience, allowing players to see if they are slicing or hooking the ball, as well as hitting that PERFECT SHOT.
Controls in any game are vital to its survival, while a few enhancements have been made, the controls have stayed the same. So you’ll be able to get straight into the action with little to no learning curve. By moving the left analogue stick you will be able to swing and judge your power. You will also be able to increase the force of the shot, depending on how far you pull back the left stick. Whilst drawing back the club, rapidly tap ‘X’ at the same time, this will enhance your shot power for greater distance and precision.
This generation of games are graded on its online play, and TW09 certainly doesn’t disappoint. This year adds a brand new Simultaneous Play mode that will allow four friends (including you) to tee-off together at the same time, in a real time Ghost Mode. This will keep you in the action without having to wait and watch your friends drive the ball in to the bushes. This is a welcome feature to the franchise which we hope can go from strength to strength.
Overall Tiger Woods 09 is a fantastic update in the franchise and continues to show that EA Games aren’t just about churning out games year after year, but more about improving them to the highest standard possible. While some improvements can be made, let’s all just sit back and swing away.