Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 Xbox 360 Review
When you first load this game, it comes up with the typical EA Logo and slogan, as you expect from every EA game now. After that, you get a nice little explanation about the new addition to the Tiger Woods series: EA Sports GAMERNET! Which is good because it highlights and grabs you straight away and makes you think, what is GAMERNET? We will get onto that later.
TIGER STEPS UP TO THE TEE, HE’S LOOKING GOOD THIS YEAR.
The graphical aspect EA have taken on for the options and general interface is very clean cut and professional indeed. Bold and in your face colours, as if to say ‘this is the option you choose and you will like it!’ In the background of the options you have a very nice looking penthouse style with the golfer you have created looking at a huge plasma screen showing screenshots of the courses and golfers in the game. It looks like something from over-the-top American sports channels with BIG fonts and dramatic pictures.
The options you have are: Play Now, Game Modes, My Tiger 08′, EA Sports GAMERNET, Photo Game Face, Online and finally EA Sports Extras. Also on the bottom part of the screen you have the updates from all major sports in the world, including Football and F-1 Racing. The only sport it doesn’t have is tennis surprisingly!
HE TAKES HIS FIRST SHOT. . .
Into the modes now. Play now is just a quick play mode. If you fancy a quick swing before you have to jet out somewhere, you can because the game has fast loading times. Perfect for anyone who wants a short play. Another game mode is Career, in which you can participate in the PGA Tour Season events and FEDEX cups. These events can only be played on the days it says on the calendar. So it is like playing a real tournament. Tournaments can go on for several days. This gives the feel for that real golfing feel for competition. The previous Tiger games have had this feature in, and it is good to see they have kept it in because games companies today are notorious for getting rid of nice features and getting its players mad!
When you come to create your golfer, you can use EA’s Game Face which has been used since the first Tiger Woods PGA Tour. This is very good, but can take a long time if you want to create a realistic self-avatar in the game. Now EA have introduced Photo Game Face, but for this feature you need an Xbox Live Vision Camera. With this option you take a front and side photo of yourself then line up the points on your photos with the examples then it will create your face and it is quite accurate, the only thing you need to add is hair! But it’s a very good feature indeed. You just have to make sure that you’re in a well lit room when the photos are taken. Also just before it generates the photo, it gives you the warning that it will take from 10 to 20 minutes! It is worth it though.
After creating your golfer and tweaking features if you need to, you can check out the inventory in the game. There are nearly twice as many items as the last Tiger Woods game with sponsors like Nike, Callaway and the TW clothing brands along with many more to dress and style your golfer. Also some of the clothing items have stat-changing properties to help you progress with your career.
. . . AND IT’S GOOD! NICELY ON THE FAIRWAY!
Tiger Challenge is basically your step into Tiger’s world. You have 60+ challenges at your feet and they are challenges indeed. You have set pieces such as beat Wayne Rooney! Yes your heard me, Wayne Rooney is in this game as a cameo! After doing 6 challenges you unlock a boss as they are called in this. You have to beat all the challenges and bosses before you come to the big bosses then the man himself. If you find yourself having trouble on some of the challenges, go into the Skills Training option where you can choose to build one of your many skills for your golfer. To progress further with the status of your character, you have to beat the bosses because when you hit the wall in status and you can go no further until you beat the boss!
There are the normal traditional game modes for every Tiger Woods game; Stroke Play, Math Play, Skins, Bingo Bango Bongo, Stableford, Alternate Shot, Best Ball, Four Ball, Greensome and Bloodsome. The only new mode added to that is Bingo Bango Bongo which is a standard match play but each part of the game mode represents a point on each hole. Bingo – first on the green, Bango – closest to the pin, Bongo – best score.
Now, EA Sports GAMERNET is where you challenge your fellow golfers in an exciting new form of competition with this option/mode. Save replays of shots, holes, front nine, back nine or the entire round you play. To save individual strokes, after your shot you press START and use the GAMERNET option in which you can save the shot. At the end of a hole you press X and follow the options and the same at the end of a round. You have the option to upload these saved shots, holes or rounds to the GAMERNET channels. They come under different difficulties, Rookie, Free Style, Long Drive, 9 Hole Showdown, 18 Hole Showdown and The Buck Cup brought to you by BUCK! In each of these, you can download the challenge and play against that player’s data or ‘ghost’ as it’s more commonly known.
With the online portion of this game, if you choose to, you can go straight into a quick game and it throws you into a game which is usually the closest and best connection to you. Online is never perfect though. You could set up your own room and wait for people to come in and play against you, you can also put down a minimum bet to play and if you win, you get big bucks! The only problem, as with ANY EA game, is its servers as they are quite unstable, especially with Tiger Woods. Sometimes after you or your opponent take a shot, it will show it go in one direction when it has gone somewhere else. Sometimes it will even show it going in the hole and it will get yourself and other players shouting into your microphone or at your TV, then you realize it was nowhere near the hole and you’re left a crying shell of a man or woman!
HE LINES UP FOR THE GREEN, HE LOOKS TENSE. . .
The gameplay of this game has been tweaked to be more real and unforgiving, just like real golf! This game has the good old analogue control system that this series of games have. It’s the same as last year’s apart from the new twist of adding DRAW or FADE to your shot when you click B to zoom in on the location of where your shot will land. A Draw is a shot that bends from left-to-right in the air which is useful in situations on the courses that have left-side dogleg bends. A Fade is the exact opposite. It is as simple as that. An actual new physical shot feature that they have added is an oldie, but a goodie. It’s a 3-Click Swing shot! To get this option up, you just click the right stick as you are about to take your shot. Basically, like Everybody’s Golf, 1st click for your power, 2nd click to stop where your power is and 3rd click for your accuracy. You can still do power shots because there is a red portion of the power bar, but the drawback is that on the 2nd click is that the bar rushes down so fast, its hard for power shots. This feature will be used as well as the analogue method by seasoned Tiger players because there are some shots that are too hard to judge with the analogue controls.
. . . HE TAKES THE SHOT, AND LANDS BEAUTIFULY NEAR THE PIN!
The putting controls on this game have been made a little easier because in Tiger Woods 07′, it was very unforgiving. A lot of people will say it’s bad, but it is only 1% easier and that is with the Putt Preview option by clicking the Right Bumper (RB). When you come to make your putt, if you think you have lined up the putt correctly, you can click this button and a white line appears where your shot will go. This is NOT 100% accurate. It is about 95%. It does make the putting easier, you don’t have to use it, but it’s nice to have if you are struggling with a long distance or awkward putt.
Now onto the sound. The music in this game is the typical EA Trax with popular tracks, as usual in the Tiger Woods games, remixed into instrumentals. The music in this series of games is trance/mainstream style of music. The commentators are the same as they have been for years. How far can you go with getting the sound of grass or golf clubs? They have nailed it, no need to change it.
Finally, as with all EA Sports titles, the graphics are always impressive. They get better every year and anyone can see that. Some people say, ‘How far can you go with a golf course?’, but they can go further. The fairways have the visual effect of individual short strands of grass, the rough actually sways with the club swing and the sand doesn’t look like a yellow paint-by-number, it actually looks like it has been cleaned and raked down. The only thing that doesn’t look absolutely amazing are the trees, but in what game do they? Apart from the up-and-coming Crysis.
All in all, this is Tiger’s best outing on the links! Veteran players will gladly accept it and newcomers will be welcomed with open arms to get into the sport. A lot of players say golf is boring to watch, but playing a golf game is one of the best things because it makes you feel so good when you sink an amazing shot and feel so bad when you miss an easy shot! This game is brilliant and should not be missed by golf and sport fans alike.
He takes the putt and sinks it for an EAGLE! Tiger is still on top form!