Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 (Xbox)
For a long time golf was considered a boring, old man’s game, but in the 90’s Tiger Woods shattered that entire image. Since then many young people are flocking to the sport, as well as snatching up copies of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise for the past few years.
For this year’s installment of the Tiger Woods golf franchise, they’ve changed up a handful of things and have added others. The most notable addition is Rivals Mode. For those of you thinking a golf game would be boring, Rivals Mode changes all that. You first create your character to your liking and then you head out on the course for a few competitions. After you win the longest drive, closest chip shot and best putting contests, Tiger takes you back in time to challenge the best golfers of a particular era. You can play 8 holes with some cocky golfers or you can compete in different longest drive competitions to earn money and get your name in the all-time rankings list. Throughout your journeys through time and space, Tiger himself will challenge you to a putting contest or some other competition, and if the last shot you make is the one to win, you’ll know it as your controller shakes uncontrollably reminding you how nervous your character is. Once you complete every challenge in that era, the real life champion will come out to break you off something. Look for appearances from Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Tom Morris and a host of others. To make things interesting you can put up some of your own money and bet the other golfers you’re playing against that you’ll beat them in two shots.
The other huge change is the control aspect of the game. While the previous games used one control to hit the ball, the new game uses both analog sticks to swing, hit and control the ball movement while in flight. You use the left analog stick to pull back, swing and hit while the right analog stick or Shape Stick controls where the club hits the ball and the trajectory of the ball. If you need the ball to go left or right, fade back a little or hit just straight out, you can do all that with the shape stick. Once the ball is in flight, you tap the black button repeatedly and use the left analog stick to have the ball continue rolling forward as it hits the ground or make it a slow roll to the right or left when it lands. The Gamebreaker Meter is also a new addition. Your Gamebreaker Meter fills up as you make good shots during a game. Once the meter fills up, you rapidly tap the A button during your backswing to help you hit the ball farther and more accurately, making you competitor shake in his golf shoes.
The putting control has changed as well. In previous games, you didn’t have much help on the green when it was time putt, but now you have a grid detailing the slope of the hill. Whether it’s uphill or downhill, or if a slope is going to the left or right or how powerful you’ll put with different putters, the grid makes things pretty easy. It’s very helpful to the player because it gives you a better judgment on how to hit the ball, whether you need to shank it to the left a little because it’s on a slope or if you need a more powerful swing since you’re putting up a small hill. Some diehard golf simulation players may not like it because it makes putting to easy, that even a beginner can get some eagles and birdies the first time playing the game.
As always the graphics look amazing, well the environments do anyway. The actual character models aren’t all that impressive; just you’re run of the mill everyday look. What are impressive are the courses. They have 11 real life licensed course that look like their real-world counterpart. The grass, dirt, sand, trees, ocean and lake water, city buildings and anything you can think of look extraordinary. Makes you actually want to fly out to the real course and take in the scenery.
Since its golf, there isn’t much sound except the sound of you whacking a ball 300 yards and it landing on the green. The voice acting is cool too. Tiger comes in and does his job, while the colorful cast of characters comes in with their comments, which can be sometimes funny.
More importantly, the game is fun. Although it is billed as a golf simulation, almost anyone can pick up the controller, whack the ball and be competitive. Die-hards might be bothered on how easy the game may be, but there is options to make the game more difficult (Tiger Proofing), PGA Tour Season Mode (30 years of the PGA Tour) and Skills 18 Mode (where you try to hit the golf ball through hoops), to keep them busy a long while. If you’ve never played a golf game, this is a good place to start, and if you’re a veteran, this a good place to take up a challenge. Enjoy!!
FINAL SCORE 90/100