Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

When EA introduced the analogue swing system to its golfing series Tiger Woods PGA Tour a few years back, it quickly won praise, thanks in part to it being a revolutionary change to golf game control schemes and not forgetting the fact that it emulated a swing of a golf club about as well as a little rubber stick could manage.

Since then, mechanically speaking there hasn’t been any big innovations to speak of, only mere tweaks have been brought to an admittedly already pleasing golf engine as well as the addition of some nice new modes. This 08 edition follows this tradition, but does bring some fantastic new features, which – as we say every year – makes this the best PGA tour yet.

We’ll begin with the Photo Game Face, a neat new feature which alongside the already extensive range of Game Face options, allows you to import a photo of your face into the game by using the xbox live vision or a digital camera, putting you into the game so to speak.

Then there’s the brand new EA Sports Gamernet feature, a wonderful idea, which allows you to post your shots online and set challenges for players around the globe, and of course you can attempt to beat (often superhuman) challenges posted by others. Challenges can be just about anything from straight forward hole in one attempts and long drive contests to less conventional tasks such as longest cart path jump.

If you’ve played any previous edition, the golf engine itself has few surprises to offer. The analogue swing system is back and in listening to feedback from people who called the game too easy, EA have seen fit to – in the hope that it would be more challenging for such people – tweak it, but instead, this time around the system is so unforgiving that all but the straightest of hits will go hurtling where you don’t want them to go. Thank god for the inclusion of an old friend then.

Yes, perhaps in seeing their failings with their once cherished mechanic, EA have went back in time and included the good old fashioned three click gauge system. For people like this writer who got on much better with such a system, this is an appealing inclusion, made even more so by the ineptness of the games’ trademark swing system.

Thankfully all of the games’ tweaks aren’t as unsuccessful as this, so cheer up.

Draw and fade can now be set before even raising your club to hit a shot, which makes it far more of an accessible option than previously, allowing you to curve the ball in your desired direction with expert ease.

The shot confidence on the other hand is a clever new feature, which records your performance in certain situations. For instance, your success with particular clubs and strokes are all recorded and if you’re in a situation that you particularly excel at, your target marker will shrink, allowing for more room for error.

With the addition of the putt preview mechanic, putting is also a little different and yes a little easier. During our time with the game it wasn’t exactly an uncommon occurrence to sink monstrously long putts, all thanks to this hit and miss feature. It’s a hit because it’s a godsend for those of you who struggle to judge their putts, and it’s a miss because it can make things all too easy.

The meat of the single player game once again has you controlling either a rookie Tiger Woods or a golfer of your own creation, and then training them up in the skill training and Tiger challenge modes (Tiger challenge now offers more bite sized challenges, but still eventually sees you taking on Woods himself) before setting them loose on the fairways of the main event, the PGA tour. It’s undoubtedly a long process, but it is satisfying seeing your once inept golfer gradually grow to pro status. It’s almost heartbreaking.

As far as modes go, as usual there’s an extensive range on offer. New this year is bingo, bango, bongo, a fun new mode, where bingo is awarded to the first player who reaches the green, bango is awarded to the player whose ball rests closest to the pin, and finally bongo is awarded for achieving the lowest score.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 is the finest entry in EA’s winning series (yes we’ve said it again), and for once it even offers something more for those who have in recent years found the series to be a bit stuck in its ways, making it a worthy purchase.