When you first open the game you will be taken to the Driving Range, a training facility that teaches you the basic game play components of the game and helps you get to grips with the fundamentals of golf. Playing through these tutorials is not required, and they can be skipped, but if you are new to golf and the Tiger Woods series it is a good place to start and hone your skills before you get into more serious competition. After you’ve finished at the Driving Range you gain access to all of the features that the game offers, the most notable being the Career mode. This game mode lets you play through the PGA tour season with the goal of becoming the number one golfer. It also happens to be the place that you will spend most of your time while playing the game.
At the start of the season you are asked if you want to play as the main man himself, Tiger Woods or start afresh and create a new golfer using the Game Face feature, the character creation tool in the game. The game face feature allows a relatively in depth creation, letting you choose everything from hair style to height, weight and shape of your characters body.
When you are satisfied with your selection you can jump straight into the action. You can choose to train your golfer and improve your stats such as power, putting and accuracy. This is essential to improving your game and helping you win. If you want to play some golf you have either the Tiger Challenge, in which you play in ladder type tournament to earn prizes, money and skills or you can head for the PGA tour. This career type mode sees you playing in single matches and tournaments at different locations and events throughout a year to ultimately to become number one ranked.
Gamers will be able to gain a lot of enjoyment out of the game provided they can cope with a few flaws in the mechanics. The biggest of these is the difficulty, for beginners the game is extremely difficulty and if you have no prior experience with golf you will be lost with what to do. When hitting you are shown a graphic on screen that helps you estimate the direction, distance and power of your shot, which in theory is supposed to making hitting the ball easier but in actuality makes it more difficult. Your shot often veers in the wrong direction or you end up over or under hitting the ball, which can be frustrating.
Another part of the game that seems unnecessary difficult is the putting, when the ball gets within a certain distance of the hole you enter the putting mini-game where you have to make a precise shot over a relatively short distance. But what makes this difficult is the ground level. A grid consisting of different coloured lines cover the green with arrows indicating the slope that will effect how the ball will travel when hit. It is hard to estimate where to hit and how hard, so you will miss a lot of the time. Still, this is a simulation and time spent perfecting your putting game is very rewarding.
Graphically the game looks nice. The characters look realistic and the licensed golfers resemble their real life counterparts. There are also some good environments, full of lush scenery and onlookers in the background, which adds to the realism of the game. The game’s audio is functional, the music is a bland mix of repetitive sounding tunes that will get old pretty fast but this is made up for by the sound effects, everything sounds right, from the whack of hitting the ball to the cheers from spectators. The commentary is better than most and actually helps the game sounding better, it is not overused and the voice work is well done.
Multi-player is pretty much what you would expect. There are the usual local multi-player modes where you can take on your friends head to head. There is also the online mode, which offers you to the chance to play in matches and tournaments with anyone online, it runs smoothly and will help to extend the life of the game but the single player will take up most of your playtime.
Overall I think Tiger Woods is really a game for fans of the sport or people who are experience with the series, as it has a steep learning curve which might put newer players off. If you are willing to take the time to learn the game and build up your skill you will find it a very rewarding game both online and off.
Originally Written By: Liam Kenna