Tiger Woods hasn’t had the easiest of years with his off the course antics. So much so he’s lost the aura that used to surround him, with many companies taking the extreme and ditching him from any advertising deals they may have had. Not EA though. They’ve stuck by their man showing a little bit of loyalty and you never know, Tiger Woods 11 might put Tiger back on the right path.
This year Tiger Woods is joined on the front cover by Irish rising superstar Rory McIlroy. This does not signal the demise of Tiger Woods but does however advertise the premier selling point in Tiger Woods 11. I am of course talking about golf’s most prestigious tournament, the Ryder Cup.
The Ryder Cup is available upon booting up the game and that’s the first place I went to see to find out what the game was like. Putting me into Colin Montgomeries's shoes is not easy especially as there are European souls to make proud. Okay, so it’s not quite like I’m the real Monty, however you do still have to choose your roster of 12 players to play against the Americans in a variety of different game modes, Ryder Cup style.
From then you can choose who pairs up with whom, in which matches, as well as play as any of the selected players. If Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy need to win the last hole to give the Europeans a point, simply play as one of the players if you think you can do better than the AI. The Ryder Cup is a nice addition to the series especially as it is Ryder Cup year -held in October at the Celtic Manor resort, Wales.
If you’re not ready for the Ryder Cup mode or fancy doing what almost all other games in the series do then at this point it’s time to create your own custom character and turn him or her into the professional golfer we all really want to be in real life.
Once you’ve used the meaty character creator you’re ready to embark on your journey through the PGA Tour. Here you’ll get to play at the world's biggest golf courses and make a name for yourself. Torrey Pines, the Ryder Cup’s Celtic Manor, Turnburry, TPC Sawgrass and St Andrews to name a few of the courses you can peruse. Obviously being the novice golfer you start out as, you’ll need to improve your game. XP points are your saviour and should be used wisely. Hitting fairways and greens in regulation gains you points as does making eagles, birdies and other different types of shots. These points are crucial to your development as well as being used as cash to purchase apparel or new clubs from the golf shop.
During each tournament you really get the tournament atmosphere. Cheering from the crowd, up to date leaderboards and although you can’t play as the majority of real life players in the game, it’s still nice to see them on the leaderboard. The further you develop your character, the more likely you’ll be challenging at the top as you’ll be hitting the ball further with more accuracy and adding spin while in the air, all something the top pros have to do.
One of the stand-out features that made the Tiger Woods series what it is today is the stick system for swinging the club. I’m glad to say that this revolutionary technique that has replaced the simple two button swinging system has remained fully intact and is as delightful as ever. Bashing the left bumper to get as much spin and power as possible is also ever present and fun, although this time you’ll need to choose wisely when to push for that extra power of extra bit of spin as they all use ‘focus’, a new feature in Tiger Woods 11.
This new feature allocates each golfer a specific amount of ‘focus’ per round which is used up using spin, power boosts and putting help. You can build it back up by hitting fairways and greens and although I didn’t like it at first, it soon becomes part of your game and has helped me improve my putting. Any Tiger Woods fan will agree that putting is as hard in the game as it is on the course and if you don’t have any focus left to aid you, you’ll soon learn to read the greens.
Undoubtedly the biggest improvement over the past few years is the online play. Similar to last year you can now compete in the real time tournaments against the scores of the real time players, albeit if you’re playing with a decently stacked XP character, you usually run away with the victory. You think you can do better than Paul Casey at the Open Championships in St Andrews? Simply head online and show the world what you’ve got.
Alternatively if you just want a normal match, you’re also able to play all the usual game modes as well as beat the best on the up-to-date leaderboards. Take part in the daily tournaments or just play a friend, the decision is yours. Beware though as there are some unbelievable players out there who you can’t help but think are cheating as they hit 21 under par rounds. Some people have way to much time on their hands.
Visually Tiger Woods 11 is very similar to that of Tiger Woods 10. The crowd are still pretty robotic but I suppose I’m not sure what else I expect them to do. I mean when you’re watching golf your watching golf. It’s not like the football where you can have the crowd starting chants etc. The most impressive visuals are the adverse weather conditions. Not only can it rain cats and dogs at times, but the weather conditions also affect your play. Greens will run slower if they are wet and the same goes for the fairways. When it’s windy you know your golfer can feel it as his trousers will be blowing all over the place. The cheesy commentary is also worth a quick mention which remains as Cheddar and Stilton as ever. That’s one thing I don’t think will ever change.
Overall there are a lot of things to do in Tiger Woods 11 which is great. Not only will it sell because of the Ryder Cup, but it will sell because everyone wants the latest golfing game with the latest roster. Tiger Woods might just even have a smile on his face after playing this. Obviously non golfing fans may wish to avoid, but otherwise this game should be swinging its way into your collection.