Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Xbox 360, PS3 Review

Publisher – EA – Developer – EA Tiburon – Genre – Sports – Players – 1-4 – Age Rating – 3+ – Other console/handheld formats – Wii

The Tiger Woods PGA Tour series is one that aims to please varying skill levels. Last year, the brilliant True Aim feature was introduced to give players a more realistic and challenging round of golf, this year a personal caddie joins you on the course to give you advice, certainly helping out lesser players who are rather timid with their virtual golf clubs. You certainly can’t knock EA for always looking for as wide of an audience as possible.

It’s in the name and is presented in the largest font on the box, yes for the first time in the long history of the series; this is the game that introduces The Masters and the beautiful Augusta National Golf Course. This means that the game has a strong emphasis on the tournament, with everything from the menu screens to a few of the included modes being related to The Masters. The licence certainly hasn’t been wasted here.

The graphics have seen some improvements, and the debuting Augusta looks beautiful.

The mode that many will be spending most of their time with is definitely Road to the Masters. This career mode has you creating a golfer and working up from amateur level to top tier pro, eventually leading to a place in The Masters. You’ll still need to invest a large amount of time in order to make your golfer a better all-rounder, but starting at low level and later playing in The Masters will certainly prove to be a driving point, particularly for fans of the sport.

Two more Masters-based modes are also in the package. The Masters Moments are nine superb golfing shots that you are tasked with copying from years gone by, or at least coming close to replicating. He may have been demoted a little, losing his prominent spot on the cover, but Tiger Woods himself hasn’t been forgotten, either, with the Tiger at the Masters mode detailing his real life successes in four previous tournaments, of which you must better or match.

But it’s not all Augusta. There are 16 courses included in the game, with the likes of St. Andrews and Pebble Beach being a couple of famous examples, and if you’re wanting more, there are also courses available to download.

The game itself has changed very little, with defining features such as focus and True Aim returning from last year. Of course, like I said earlier, a personal caddie has also been introduced, which some may think takes away any form of challenge in setting your shots up, although he can be turned off altogether if you so wish. Before each shot the caddie will give you suggestions as to how to approach it, you can go with those suggestions or ignore him completely and go with your own custom shot. There are situations of which the caddie is sometimes unable to suggest a shot, leaving you to make your own mind up as to where to hit the ball. He certainly helps a great deal when it comes to the putting, which just so happens to be more challenging this year.

Jim Nantz now adds his golfing knowledge in the commentary booth.

There’s no Kinect support for the 360 version, but the PS3 version does have the alternative of playing with Move. Last year’s edition had a patch to enable Move controls, but this year they work straight from the box. The controls work superbly and are a great example of motion control enhancing an experience, well if you can be bothered standing up to play a round of virtual golf, that is.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters is a golfing simulation with a lot going for it. True, it doesn’t have any significant upgrades over last year’s game as such, but it’s once again a game that does more than enough to please the hardcore fans of the series, while also doing additional work to grab the attention of newcomers.