Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 Wii Review

Oh god, its anecdote time. My dad, upon discovering my purchase of a Wii, decided to inform me about a news piece he had just seen about the dangers of a dodgy wrist strap. I was playing Wii Sports at the time, specifically golf, and as a keen golfer his interest was piqued. I showed him the basics and challenged him to a quick three hole game. He beat me.

Now he plays whenever I’m not about, trying to improve his -2 score over the nine holes available, the same nine holes over and over again. Despite this, it still came as quite the surprise when my previously non-gamer father asked for “that Tiger Woods game advertised in GAME” for his upcoming birthday – certainly more adventurous than a box of walnut whips.

With Wii Sports golf acting almost as a tech demo, a full golf sim for Nintendo’s system is a very interesting prospect. EA’s Tiger Woods franchise is the biggest name in console golf – fully licensed and accurately detailed, featuring the world’s best golfers and courses.

One thing is very clear from the opening tutorial, and is something that will swing (no pun intended) the purchase for most people – this game does NOT feature 1:1 club tracking, instead utilizing a momentum system to judge how hard you are playing your shots. At times, it doesn’t feel quite right and best results are yielded from a one-handed approach, rather than a full golf swing. With a bit of practice, it is a decent system but leaves the feeling that EA weren’t entirely confident in its performance – a point backed up by the telling inclusion of the classic Tiger Woods control scheme by plugging in the nunchuck.

Still here? Good. Despite not playing the ideal game of golf, it still plays a good game of golf. Once used to the swing technique, you’ll be flicking your wrist to apply topspin and hooks before long. Aiming a shot and changing clubs is controlled via the d-pad, zooming and shot selection with the ‘A’ and ‘1’ buttons respectively whilst ‘-‘ allows you to enter practice mode, so you can get used to the power needed before you hold down ‘B’ and play your shot. Clearly it’s less intuitive than Wii Sports golf, but it does work, although those non-gamers – like my dad – who enjoyed the sporting fun Wii Sports was loved for may have trouble adapting to a much more ‘video game’ control scheme where the player is expected to know their way around the pad naturally, rather than having to look down every time a new button is mentioned. The relatively sedate pace that golf is played at ensures that novice players have plenty of time to find what buttons they need, but perhaps with a bit more development time, it could have been a little bit more intuitive.

Further complicating matters for the less experienced gamer are the menus. Simple tasks like loading a profile or navigating the options are awkward enough for a seasoned gamer and must be downright off putting for those who have very little previous gaming experience, which is a chunk of the Wii’s target audience, most of whom will have played Wii Sports. Never forget Wii Sports.

Once you’ve got through the labyrinth of menu screens, you’ll notice the Tiger Woods 07 has enough modes to keep players, hardcore and casual alike, busy for quite a while. Playing 18 holes on one of the accurate tournament courses takes long enough, but there are a good few arcade style games to play that can be enjoyed in single or multiplayer flavours. The pick of the bunch is ‘Battle Golf’, where the winner of the hole is allowed to steal a club from their opponent’s bag, making for some absolutely ruthless gaming. The main meat of the game is the PGA Tour mode, where you can take your created character through a full golfing career. Winning tournaments increases your world rank and title and earns you stat points and money, which can be spent on new clothes, clubs, characters and courses. Most of it is trash, admittedly, but there is a hell of a lot of it and the completist will have quite a challenge unlocking it all. There are also career achievements to complete, unlocking more features, ranging from simple things like hitting a 300 yard drive to beating Tiger Woods’ frankly frighteningly impressive total of NINETEEN career hole in ones. His name is on the box for a REASON.

The presentation is typically EA; the obligatory ‘EATrax’ that soundtrack the proceedings are mercifully possible to switch off via the menus while the commentary, whilst not exactly inspiring, doesn’t offend your ears and adds to the broadcast atmosphere that EA aim for in their graphics and sounds – although it is a bit of a shame that you can’t play a custom soundtrack via the SD card. It’s also not the prettiest game on the Wii – a few low-res textures and a rubbish water effect really stand out – but how good does a golf game really have to look? Wii Sports proved this with its relatively simplistic looks.

There it is again – Wii Sports. A game TIME magazine described as ‘the most important game ever’. A game responsible for gamers and friends having boxing matches, gamers and families playing bowling together on Christmas day and me and my Dad playing golf on a console for the first time since the days of the Commodore 64. If you are making a sports game on the Wii, comparisons are inevitable. Tiger Woods 07 is a deeper, more rewarding experience than the golf on Wii Sports, but the added complexity and initially dodgy swing controls could be a turn-off for those looking for something more instantly gratifying. It is, however, a good game of golf in its own right and between this a Madden 07, shows a very encouraging start to EA Sports support of the Wii.

Just ask my dad.

Definitely Tiger would.

7.5 out of 10

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