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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Sports

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2005

 

 

- Easy to get into, difficult to master

- Very solid audio and visual presentation

- Good online options

- Wagering with a buddy

 

 

- Only six courses are included

- Can be as frustrating as real golf on occasion

- Plastic Tiger

- Gamebreaker Meter is practically a throw-away feature

- Difficult to see holes on regular TVs

 

Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 (XB)

Review: Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour (GC)

Review: Madden NFL 06 (360)

 

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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06

Score: 7.2 / 10

 

Strangely enough a sport I have zero interest in -- I will watch bowling before golf -- is also the game I've spent the most time playing over the last couple of months, which explains the tardiness of this review.  Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 is not without its flaws and the learning curve is one of those slow and steady ones where you think you have it mastered then learn something new, so it can be a bit of a frustrating experience for those used to swing meter and power bars.

 

tiger woods pga tour 06          tiger woods pga tour 06

 

Unlike every other golf game I've played, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 feels more organic.  Pulling back on the left stick draws the club back then pushing the stick forward brings the swing around to complete the shot.  You timing, accuracy, and how far you've pulled the club back will all effect the outcome of the shot. (Club selection is also important.)  The right stick is used to select which part of the ball you want to hit (to provide backspin, etc.).  It sounds so easy -- even the most inept player will be able to make successful and powerful drives -- but it's actually full of nuance.  This was very apparent to me the first few times I played online when I saw it was possible to attain par and not just finish the hole by taking the stroke number to the limit.

 

Putting is almost a game unto itself.  Even though the general control mechanics are the same, the amount of patience and practice required to be good at it, being able to read the green accurately, is a skill that really develops over time.  It also helps if you have a hi-def TV because on a standard TV you'll often have a hard time seeing exactly where the hole is.

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Tiger Woods 06 features full golfer customization options.  Besides setting up the appearance of your golfer you can upgrade your skills (by trading in Skill Tokens earned during the course of a round), visit the Pro Shop to buy better equipment, select your clubs, and eve purchase "special" animations.  It's all easy to keep track of and it's not impossible to "upgrade" yourself even if you're a horrible golfer.

 

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The Career mode is where you'll spend most of your time if lack an Xbox Live account.  You start as an amateur then slowly work your way up the standings, which is very similar to EA's Need for Speed: Most Wanted though without subjecting players to "cool" story elements.  After you've won all four Majors in a year you unlock a "showdown" with Tiger Woods.  At least that's what the manual says -- I haven't actually been able to do it.  If you have a Live account the options are flexible enough to offer a ton of fun against human competitors especially during online tournaments.

 

Playing hot-seat games are fun for one reason: wagering (i.e. gambling, which calls into question the big "E" on the front of the box).  It's the best way to lay the smack down on your opponent.  There is also a Gamebreaker meter which fills as you perform well in a round.  When filled and activated you can either perform a fantastic shot or "Psyche-Out" your opponent when he's taking a shot.  It was a wasted feature for me because I've only filled the meter twice.

 

tiger woods pga tour 06          tiger woods pga tour 06

 

It's possible that golf never looked so good on a console (provided you have a hi-def TV), though Tiger himself seems a bit on the plastic side of things.  The fairways look grand, the greens are rich and the courses themselves (only 6 are included, which compares poorly with the 14 available on the Xbox version) capture their real-world counterparts with solid accuracy (according to the brief comparison I did).  The small touches are also included, like spectators that stagger and sometimes fall when smacked with a golf ball.  I also appreciated the divots, which I can produce on almost every shot, including putts.

 

The commentary team of Gary McCord and David Feherty do a good job of providing information about each course and hole and praising/mocking shots.  They tend to repeat themselves pretty quickly though.  The accompanying environmental sounds are first rate the soundtrack is just like golf -- laid back and relaxing.

 

While Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 isn't without its flaws -- I would have appreciated more courses and it does take a long time to "master" -- it is probably the best of EA's launch sports titles for the 360.

 

- Omni

(February 9, 2006)

 

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