Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Good: Solid gameplay, amount of modes, overall polish, stat upgrade system, character creation
Bad: New putting system might turn some off, occasional A.I. problems
It would be accurate to call the Tiger Woods series the Madden of golf games. In terms of pure quality, no other game does the sport justice like it. With this 2007 version, EA hasn't quite re-invented the wheel, but they've added enough to make it a fresh experience.
Perhaps my favorite addition is the new stats building system. Instead of earning money during Tiger Challenge and tournaments to buy stats, you must earn them. Like in Oblivion, it upgrades your abilities as you use them. If you successfully perform a huge power boost and spin, you'll upgrade abilities in those areas. If you're lacking in a specific area, you can play a variety of training modes to get them up to speed.
The actual gameplay will feel very familiar to most gamers, as nothing drastic has changed. There is now a circle that indicates the possible landing area of the ball, and this circle will decrease in size as your accuracy stats increase. Loft can now be controlled with the right analog stick, allowing you to have more control over how the wind affects your shot.
Flaws are hard to find in the gameplay, but they occasionally rear their head in the form of A.I. From time to time, your CPU opponent will get caught in a seemingly endless cycle of hitting the ball out of bounds. In once instance, Mike Weir hit the ball directly into a tree seven times in a row, even though it was directly in front of him.
This title has no shortage of modes, including an interesting game called One Ball. In this, you play against your opponent using the same ball. The only rule is, you must hit it at least half the distance to the pin. A good deal of strategy is used in this mode, as you want to hit the ball just far enough from the hole.
Visually, Tiger makes the jump well to the 360. The most striking improvement is the facial expressions, which look eerily realistic. The actual courses aren't terribly improved, but there are many more spectators on the sides. On the audio side, Tiger is excellent (especially in 5.1 surround). Crowds sound realistic, and the announcers are great. During the menus, you can even hear ESPN radio updates if you're connected to Xbox Live.
There is a wealth of replay value to be found in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07. From the excellent GameFace create-a-golfer to the tons of modes, it'll keep you busy for quite a while. It's sure to deliver for both fans of the series and first timers.
First Play: 8.5
Replay Value: 9.0