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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Sports

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2002

 

 

- Appeals to fans of both simulation and arcade style golf gaming
- Amount of customization available is overwhelming
- Speed golf mode is totally fun

 

 

- Character model graphics aren’t too good
- Controls take getting used to

 

 

Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 (Playstation 2)

Review: Outlaw Golf (GC)

Review: Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds (PS3)

 

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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

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Tiger Woods is absolutely the best golfer on planet Earth. No one else comes close. So is it any surprise that his endorsed golf videogame, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 (TW2003), is the best golf title around?

I’m not a golf fan by any stretch of the imagination. The extent of my golf experience comes down to 18 holes on the miniature golf course at Nifty Fifty’s. And as far as golf videogames, my tastes are more along the lines of Mario Golf on the N64. But the inclusion of more modes and features than just your standard 18-hole golf game in TW2003 actually made me enjoy swinging the ol’ virtual golf club for the first time in a long while.

There are features in TW2003 to please both simulation and arcade golf gamers.

For the simulation gamer, you won’t find a better and more accurate golf title. There is a large selection of actual PGA Tour golfers included or you create your

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own golfer and take him on the tour. With the money won in various golf contests you can increase your custom golfer’s stats to the point where he will be able to challenge Tiger himself for links supremacy. Stroke play tournament mode allows you to compete against golf’s best in an 18, 36, 54 or 72-hole tournament on one of nine real-life courses, including St. Andrews, accurately and beautifully modeled to the smallest detail. Also

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available are skins, match play, and dormie modes. You can even go online and set up an account that will rank you (until January 1, 2004) against other TW2003 golfers from around the world to see who really is the best.

When you first start playing, TW2003 has two features that help out the golf illiterates get comfortable with the control setup. One tutorial helps you figure out how to hit various shots, depending on the situation. The second explains caddie tips that appear on-screen, which give you tips on how and where to hit your upcoming shot. Without the caddie tips, I would have been frustratingly lost on the green, especially when it came to putting.

TW2003’s controls do take some getting accustomed to, especially on long drives. The left thumbstick is first pushed down, which starts the club’s swing to the desired point. A higher placement produces a harder swing and vice versa. The tricky part is the follow-through. To get the maximum hit on the ball, the thumbstick must quickly be pushed up from the initial swing move. After a while timing will be developed that makes getting a good hit on every swing possible. But initially it will be hit and miss on good shots until that familiarity is reached.

As I said before, I don’t enjoy the standard 18-hole game of golf in a videogame. My golf preference is more arcade-oriented like that found in Outlaw Golf. TW2003 has that covered too. Three fantasy courses are here, as well as a bunch of fantasy golfers (both male and female). Six mini-games get gamers off the normal course and into some unique competition, including the golf equivalent of h-o-r-s-e, T-I-G-E-R. The best mode by far is the Speed Golf mode. This mode is great against another human player.

 

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Speed mode starts you out with an equal amount of cash. The goal is to complete a task before your opponent to steal as much money from his bank as you can. The first player that hits the ball off the tee gets some of his competitor’s cash. Once the ball is hit off the tee, it’s literally a footrace to where the ball landed. Get off the green first, get money; Hit the longest drive, get money; finish the hole first, get money, etc. It’s a riot! The first player whose bank reserve reaches $0 loses.

The announcers calling the action are what you would probably expect if you’ve ever watched ten minutes of golf on television. One good touch is that if you listen close enough, the announcers provide useful tips, particularly on club selection for the shot you’re currently attempting. Sound effects include the crowd reactions to shots and birds flying overhead. A cool effect is heard (and felt with the vibration feature on) when a great long shot is hit. You can actually hear and feel the golfer’s heartbeat as the ball is in flight on its way to the cup. When this happens, you know you clubbed the ball real good.

This title has the familiar customization features that every EA Sports game has. Don’t feel like playing 18 holes of golf? Just play the back nine. If you actually know what you’re doing, edit the clubs in your bag to suit the course that’s being played. If you want, the depth of the rough can be set to short, medium or long. As you get more seasoned by playing the game’s various modes, the game also keeps track of your resume, documenting how many tour events you have won, trophy balls accumulated, all-time records held, and the total hole-in-ones and par 5 eagles you’ve sunk.

When selecting your Xbox golf choice, think like Chris Rock in the movie “Down to Earth”: “Tiger Tiger Woods, y’all!” The staggering volume of features helps tag Tiger Woods PGA 2003 as the best golf game on the market no matter if you want a true simulation or desire Outlaw Golf-style links action. Golf videogaming has never been so fun.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(December 6, 2002)

 

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