Another year and another stake in what is the golfing franchise from EA. Tiger Woods 10 is a game that’s difficult to get enthused about when looking at it as simply the next release in the series. It’s questionable as to why anyone would purchase this title if they own previous iterations. Other than the dynamic weather system, which is actually more irritating than fun, there’s very little here that warrants a purchase should you own Tiger 09, or even Tiger 08. With that said, Tiger Woods 10 is an extremely well polished golfing game, introducing some minor tweaks to was is an already a very successful franchise.
For players that have skipped a couple of generations, there’s a lot here to keep you on the fairways for the remainder of the year. The first time the game boots, the player is introduced to the new features; such as “Live” play based on results of tournaments, the afore mentioned dynamic weather and the precision putting that really makes placing a dimpled ball into a small hole a trying experience.
The familiar thumb stick action from swinging the club will be deja vu to those who’ve experienced this series before, and for those that detest this method of play, the three-click input introduced in Tiger 08 is also available. Likewise the Tiger putting Preview remains unchanged, however, this update introduces the new “Precision Putting”, which makes it a little bit easier to judge power. It’s a system that works well and and the tweak works well, however, the Nintendo Wii version with the MotionPlus system is a far more compelling prospect.
The main stay of the game is the career mode. This starts with setting up a new player, through the face maker. From here the player is evaluated on their power, accuracy, short game and putting to set up their initial statistics for the game. These are improved throughout the career by making good progress and performing skilled shots, but like investments, these can go up and down. Creating a new golfer can be an infuriating experience due to the fact they will drive shorter, be less accurate, recover poorly out of bunkers and struggle to putt accurately. Over time these things improve as the stats crawl up, but it can be a long drawn out experience. Perhaps EA are expecting to gouge players for a price through the DLC to improve golfer performance in game, or perhaps it’s just to extend longevity of the game. Either way, be prepared to put in a good number of hours before your golf is equally as good as Tiger himself.
Once the player has completed a round of golf, the coach will suggest areas of practice and places where the player didn’t do particularly well, which gives a further chance to improve golfer stats. It’s another carry over, but it is another chance to quickly boost progress and it’s totally optional, but well worth exploring as lowly golfers don’t get that many birdies..
Exploring the new aspects of Tiger Woods 10, perhaps the most innovative of the these new features is the simultaneous play with online multi-player. Having to wait eons whilst your opponents make shots can be mind numbing, here everyone plays at the same time and so cuts the slack time considerably – a worthy and useful change and it works very well.
EA are known to push the boundaries when it comes to pay for extras, and normally DLC wouldn’t get a mention in a review of a game. Yet the short amount of time that Tiger Woods 10 has been around, and given there’s really not that much of a difference from the last game. The level of extras already out for this game is staggering; and not in a good way. Now, granted there’s no need to purchase much or any of this content, but if someone was so inclined it would cost over a flabbergasting £75 – nearly twice the cost of the disc. Much of this can be gained from playing though the game, so it’s a tax on the stupid or lazy, but it was not so many years ago, before the days of raping the customer with DLC, that these would have been hidden away cheat codes with never the need to spend a penny on it. Also, the game immediately nags you that new pay-for courses are there to download; it really does make you think if these things have been purposely left out just to churn a few extra pounds from the humble gamer.
What Tiger Woods does represent though, is a challenging game that will satisfy the armchair golfer. This year’s game is a tough swing on the course, but rewards those willing to put the effort in. For veterans with previous games in the franchise it’s questionable to ask what this offers over those iterations, and the answer is very little. However, looked at on its own, TW10 is a fantastic round of golf that’s clearly paid its green fees.