Tiger Woods PGA Tour tends to be a gaming series which never really lives up to its expectations. Year in, year out EA have released Tiger Woods games that have either not offered enough new features, been graphically horrid or failed badly in the gameplay department. Will 07 change the trend, will it finally make the Tiger Woods games into a respectable series or will it simply be another game destined for the Bargain Bin? Well let’s see.
The first new feature for the game that we’ll talk about is the all new driving range. The driving range is much like the Fifa 07 loading screen where you can practice one on one with the keeper, well in a sense the same thing happens here. When the game loads up you will be able to go straight into the range and it is in fact really quite fun. Much like a real driving range there are a good few holes dotted all over the place in front of you and you can spend hours simply trying to get a hole in one (im not joking you can lose yourself in the driving range).
Once you’ve spent a good few hours practising you will finally get onto actually playing the game and so we come onto the next best thing in Tiger Woods and that’s the awesome character customisation. You can of course be boring and just pick a random made-up character but why not challenge yourself? Think of someone you know (or yourself!) and try to create him. I managed to take a whack at making Aragorn, Daniel Craig and Roger Moore (Well, I was watching Bond at the time).
So you’ve got your Hulk Hogan, James Bond and Kate Beckinsale (female customisation is also very fun too) ready for a few putts on the green and as soon as you start your first match you immediately see a few changes with the new game. The Heads-Up Display is the main thing that has been changed and it is a lot more presentable compared to 2006. For those of you who have never experienced the intuative control system TW uses, to actually hit the ball you simply pull back on your left thumbstick then push forward and for new comers you may find yourself hitting balls all over the place – but give it time and you will realise just how good the control setup is for Tiger Woods. You can also increase how hard you hit the ball if you really quickly tap A while pulling the club back (This is where the women do well as they can multitask and men most certainly cannot…).
Most of the time you will find yourself simply hitting the ball hard and far, but when you get closer to the green (and on shorter courses) you will have to time your swing to get the right distance – too hard and you will overshoot, too soft and you obviously wont reach the target. That’s not all as you will also find yourself having to hit around trees, out of bunkers and the rough all of which require different clubs and different strategies which you will slowly learn how best to cope with after a few games.
Not forgetting putting, without a doubt the most annoying part of the game. You can make it to the green in one on a Par 4 and find yourself 17 over par once you’ve finished putting. This is truly where the more skilled players are happiest. Its not even as if EA give you no help, you still get to see how many yards you are from the hole and a putt preview which shows the best line to take, but even with all that help new players will find themselves on the brink of insanity after a putting massacre.
Once you’ve had a few games you can be on your merry way through the various gametypes that Tiger Woods offers you. This includes Tiger Challenge Mode where you can face off against the world greats including the main man himself Tiger Woods. There is also the usual PGA Tour mode which takes you through a calendar of golfing events where you can win some dollars so you can buy upgraded accessories for your player. Finally there’s the Challenge mode which puts you in one on one match ups where you play for experience points to improve your characters attributes.
Graphically the game has vastly improved, but I still think EA could have done better. Like usual the characters look sublime, everything from the players shirt to the socks are animated beautifully. The thing is the crowds, like FIFA crowds, simply look like cardboard cut-outs – granted they are 3D cut-outs but pretty boring all the same. The surroundings are also at 6’s and 7’s, on the one hand you have beautiful fairways and for some reason like every next-gen game EA seem to have put a lot of work into the water (what is it with water I mean seriously), but on the other hand trees and bushes still see so 2D when you get up close to them, granted from afar they’re not so bad but to me it just doesn’t fell next-gen looking at them.
Online the game isn’t half bad, it’s nowhere near as laggy as the older games and is quite pleasant to play. You will get a few laggy games, but on the whole its will be a slik experience playing online. On the whole online is great fun and a great experience for anyone and you would be mad to miss out.
Overall, Tiger Woods 07 is most definitely an improvement over its predecessors. Playing on LIVE is just awesome and the various single player modes will keep you playing it for weeks on end. Graphically the games characters look mind-blowingly good but the surroundings still need work to make it into a truly next-gen title. I still stand by the fact that I don’t think this game has quite reached the next-gen era, but its about as close as it can get and im guessing 2008 will be when the Tiger Woods series truly shines.
Originally Written By: Lee Matthews