Another year, another Tiger Woods game. EA Sports churn out another game every year for every sports title they produce. FIFA, NHL, Madden. You can set your watch to exactly when they will be released. But making another title every year is a good thing for sports games, especially FIFA and Madden.
With every new game comes updated team rosters, team shirts and stadiums. I’m sure people wouldn’t want to play in a stadium that has been demolished or playing in a team kit that is three years old. However, with the Tiger Woods series it is harder to update. Golf players stay playing for a very long time, golf courses are rarely changed and the tournaments are the same every year. EA Tiburon have a hell of a job to make this years more exciting than the game the year before, and the year before that and the year before that.
Overall, this is the same as last year. Not surprisingly really is it? There aren’t many new features included in this addition and the some that are introduced are a bit pointless. The first of which is the “Confidence” meter. With each stroke you play, with each club you use, your confidence increases. The Confidence meter takes into account your previous stats, the holes you have played and how well you played them and how risky some shots you have taken have been. If you have high confidence, you will be able to pull off trickier shots and your accuracy circle will become smaller, making your chances of the ball landing where you want higher. It is a bit pointless if you are a seasoned Tiger Woods player, who will know most of the tricks and tips for a good round, but if you are a newcomer to the series it is quite useful for helping you get to grips with the game.
Speaking of which, Tiger Woods is pretty easy to get used to. Being a newcomer to the Tiger Woods series, I had little idea of what to do. However, thanks to the tutorials and practise modes, which include a driving range and pitch ‘n’ putt, I quickly got a hang of it and was getting Birdies in no time at all.
There aren’t many new modes included this year. There’s the usual PGA Tour, where you start off as a wannabe professional golfer and make your way to top of the crop by increasing your stats with each tournament. Then there is Tiger Challenge, which is by far my favourite mode. In this you take your career golfer and complete all sorts of different challenges, defeating pro golfers to reach Tiger Woods and become the best. Then there are other modes such as Stroke Play, Bingo Bango Bongo, which is new to the 360, and also Stableford.
Gameplay is pretty much the same as last year. The realism of the game is spoilt once again by the occasional arcade feel. Tiger Woods 08 sports many licences, realistic club control and many courses from around the world. All this, however, is spoilt by the ability to spin the ball while it is in the air and the fact that the clothes you wear improve your stats. Also included in the game is the 3 click swing system. This is a brilliant addition, especially for beginners like me that don’t know how much power to put on the ball to reach a certain spot. All it consists of is one tap of the A button to start it. Tap it again for power and then again for accuracy and, if done right, will go in the direction you want with the amount of power you want. However, many people will prefer the normal stick control, where you pull back on the stick and push forwards to swing. This provides alot of realism but it is hard to judge the power. Another welcome addition is putt preview, which shows you where your ball will go when you putt. This is very useful for judging slopes on the green and will allow you to change your putt accordingly. However, this mode can only be used once per shot.
The graphics are pretty good for a sports title. The players look very realistic, the courses look very similar to their real life counterparts and the victory animation, or even defeat, are very fluid and look great. However, as with any sports title, the crowd look awful. Not much attention has been payed to them at all.
There are many online features in Tiger Woods 08, and some of them are brilliant. Of course, there is the generic online play, where you play against four other people in various modes. But the brilliance comes in the form of Gamernet. This enables you to upload your best drives/putts/chips etc, but also challenges people to beat your drive or whatever you uploaded. As well as this you can upload your face to your oglfer either via the Xbox Live Vision Cam or the internet, where you upload an image of your face to the net then to your 360. However, doing it over the internet makes for poorer results, but its a good feature for those without a Vision Cam
Surprisingly, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 is a good addition to the series, providing new and interesting features, gorgeous graphics and brilliant online features. However, it is let down by its arcadey feel and pointless new features. Tiger Woods is a must for the golf fan and for those just picking up the series it’s great too.