Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’09
Like Nadal seems to be part of tennis and Ronaldinho of soccer, Tiger Woods is associated with Golf. And which succesful player doesn’t want to have his own game? Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 controls all the parts that are o so important in golf. It requires determined concentration, refined technique and coldbloodedness. In short: from Albatross to Triple Bogey with PGA Tour 09.
The Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise has been going on for quite some succesful time and each year EA manages to release a good successor. The series is of excellent quality and seems to have found the golden combination between realism and accessibility. Anyone can hit a ball, but whether this leads to good results depends on your drive. Practise is key and luckily the controls feel good so that you won’t stop prematurely. By implementing the real-swing system it feels even like you’re doing it yourself. Move the left analogue joystick to the back, then push it forward to perform the swing. This new system feels good and is amazingly accurate. If you don’t like it, however, you can still use the old 3-click system where the power and precision can be followed on a bar.
This time you’re not alone. Hank Haney, coach of Tiger Woods, offers his help and will give you the necessary tips during the game. By practising with Haney present he’ll tell you how to tweak your swings. Each club you play with can be adjusted to your own style. Having problems with accurately hitting the ball, the so-called sweet-spot of your driver can be heightened so perform better hits. You’ll constantly keep improving during your career thanks to a new system called Dynamic Skill Progression. By successfully ending tournaments or practises the skills of your golfer increase. If the swings in a game are precise, your accuracy skill will rise. Was putting a catastrophy? You’ll see those skills drop. As bad performances also have negative results for your skills this is an added motivation to keep doing your best so that you can still compensate your loss a bit.
Graphically the game again looks nice. The golf courts are almost foto-realistic, just like the professional golfers. The grass alone already contains so many different types of green that no single piece has the same color. The sound on the other hand is a bit less. Hank Haney apparently had better things to do than voice acting, but also the commentators Kelly Tillman and Sam Torrance have little more to say than some superficial lines. The background sounds aren’t too bad though. You’ll sometimes hear a plane flying over or the boo-ing of someone in the audience who got a ball against his leg.
The online part runs well. You’ll rarely face lag or be unable to clearly understand each other through the headset. The most remarkable innovation is the simultaneous mode where it’s possible to play online with up to three other players at the same time. Instead of waiting your turn all four can play immediately. This makes everything run smoother but you’ll get a bit distracted by the colored lines that show the hits of your competitors.
Tiger Woods is clearly an evolution and no revolution compared to its predecessor. The game runs more smoothly, has a better interface and a stable online mode. Graphically it looks amazing but the sound could use quite some work. Don’t be scared by all the graphs, golfing language and the “high” difficulty degree, but take your time, tweak your clubs and keep your frustrations under control.