Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tiger Woords PGA Tour 08

Developer: EA Tiburon
Publisher: EA Sports
Release Date: Aug. 28, 2007
Systems: PS3 (reviewed), pretty much every other system
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: A good sit on the sofa spoiled.

0:01 Wow, this demo really starts like an advertisement, complete with the almost-shouting announcer. He even says, "But wait, that's not all," at one point.
0:02 I like the spoken introduction to the first hole. It gives some nice strategy advice in that soothing golf commentator voice that puts me to sleep on Sundays.
0:04 My first shot is ridiculously hooked. Yikes. I need to get used to the accuracy timing for these three-click shots.
0:05 Two more shots go out of bounds. I can't seem to get the timing right, which is weird, because I'm usually good at timing-based challenges.
0:06 Finally, I get a beautiful shot that dribbles right onto the edge of the green. Tigers studies the ball intently in a short, mercifully skippable cut scene. Now I'm chipping. I like how the game automatically changes clubs smoothly as you adjust your shot distance.
0:07 A beautiful putt, aided by the fact that I could see exactly where it was gonna go with a tap of the R1 button. What's the point of trying to read the greens if they just tell you where it's gonna go?
0:08 On the next hole I try using the analog stick to swing. Much better! I pull it down and push it forward and BAM! A perfect shot.
0:10 I get an eagle on the second hole after a six-over on the first hole. I'm beginning to wonder why would anyone stick to the three point swing?
0:15 I LOVE the realistic whine of a plane engine in the background. it's not annoying AT ALL. And not being able to turn it off in the demo options is a GREAT idea. Grumble.
0:16 I seem to be having some trouble figuring out the correct putting strength. "Tigerrrrr," virtual Tiger says, discouraged.
0:18 After landing in the water, the commenter says "That's just a wonderful shot, if the fairways over there!" Oooh! Burn!
0:20 Ah, no wonder the spin wasn't working. Apparently I have to rapidly tap X in midair to guide the spin. I wish the previous hint had told me that.
0:22 Commentator: "I see the ball, but unfortunately, I also see a lot of sand... Try it again, you might want to open your eyes this time." If real golf commentary was more like this, maybe I'd watch.
0:24 I found a use for the three click shot... it makes it much easier to gauge power on shots and putts that don't require a full swing. But I still have trouble with accuracy.
0:25 I really like being able to determine the ball's eventual spin in midair, but it seems a bit unrealistic. Does Tiger have "the force" from Star Wars or something?
0:29 On my fifth time through the three-hole demo, I've already achieved a one under par. I almost feel like I've mastered the game already. Is this all there is?
0:30 Apparently not... there are online challenges too. I have to sign up for EA's online network. What's the points of my PS3 network account again?
0:33 The first rookie challenge involves outdriving Tiger's 301-yard drive. I beat it on the first try with a perfect 305-yard drive. Clutch!
0:38 Trying out the second challenge, I accidentally hit a guy in the leg. He jumps up and down in pain. Heh.
0:40 The crowd cheers raucously when I hit it ten feet out of bounds. Er, thanks?
0:41 Finally give up on the backspin challenge. I needed to make it roll 32.8 feet, but the closest I can get is 30. I'm wearing out my fingers tapping here.
0:42 Wow, the next challenge requires you to bounce the ball off a sign and onto the green behind you. Nuts!
0:47 One annoyance: You have to reset your shot from scratch each time you retry a challenge. It should remember your last attempt.
0:50 Ah ha! I've been banging my head against the wall on the sign-bouncing challenge until I realize the square button changes stances and hitting styles. I've been pitching with a wedge when I should have been hitting it full on with a wood. Once I figure this the challenge goes down quickly.
0:53 A simple distance to pin challenge goes down in three shots. The challenge balance is kind of all over the place so far.
0:54 Now on to the challenges actually made by players. There are some crazy ones near the top of the points ladder. One requires you to bounce the ball in a specific place, hit the flag, and go in the hole. Another requires the ball be a "swish shot" into the hole without a bounce or roll. Who has the time to try these?
0:58 Heh, there's a challenge that requires me to hit a guy in the leg. I wish I had been doing that one before. I like the variety in the goals.

Would I play this game for more than an hour? Yes
Why? Nice, simple, mostly realistic golfing with interesting challenges to stretch the longevity.

This review based on a demo downloaded from the PlayStation Network.

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