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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Sports

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q3 2008

 

 

- Great looking game in HD

- Two methods to hit the ball

- A ton of mini-games and different gamer modes to experience

 

 

- Fans just look terrible

- Lag? In an offline game?

- Apparently tree branches are always solid

 

 

Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 (360)

Review: Too Human (360)

Review: Rockstar Presents Table Tennis (360)

 

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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

There’s something ironic about being able to purchase an electronic version of a game for less than it would take to pay the green fees for any of the courses that are being simulated. That being said, golfing on a budget isn’t too bad if you end up doing it with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09. Admittedly, the bulk of my golfing experiences can be summarized in two activities – mini-golf and drunken pitch and putt. I have shot a round or two, but am certainly not going to be wondering what to invest my winnings in any time soon.

 

tiger woods pga tour 09          tiger woods pga tour 09

 

The single player campaign starts off with a decent character design. You can either create a character from scratch or import a photo to map your face. Once you create your links alter-ego, you take a skills test where you are rated on 4 categories: Power, Accuracy, Short-Game, and Putting. These skill ratings are

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modified by your performance on tour and in competition matchups – as you do better at those activities,  the skill improves. You can modify these attributes either temporarily with practice sessions (with Tiger’s Coach, Hank Haney) or purchase items from the pro shop that will offer permanent benefits (just like that +2 charisma t-shirt I bought).

 

Your newly created character can either

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tackle the pro tour or earn money by competing on tour locations in Tiger Challenges. As like most EA Sports games, a season on tour can be set as a proper four-round event or you can cut it down to just one round.

 

The Tiger Challenges will test a variety of skills – mastery of short game, putting, hammering the long ball, or just straight competition against pros. Completing these events will raise money quickly and unlock equipment in the pro shop. For some reason, the equipment that gives you any sort of useful bonuses either leave your character looking like a tool or at least someone who dresses in the dark. My character appears like a young republican trying out for a position as a tiki-bartender.

 

The control system for gameplay allows you to micro manage your swing. The actual swing can either be either controlled with the left control stick, or for those amongst us who have been playing golf games for years, the old 3-click method is available. In addition to control the direction and power of the stroke, you can control the shot type which can affect the amount of roll and trajectory. If all this isn’t enough for you, there is an option to adjust the amount of loft on the shot.

 

To better manage your equipment to your own style of play, you can directly modify your clubs to your preferences – like more loft in your driver but not your irons? You can do that. Tend to slice on tee shots? You can add play to that club to compensate your shots down the middle. Spending the time to modify your clubs can add a few extra yards to your drives and help create the play necessary to drift your shot around that bootleg.

 

tiger woods pga tour 09          tiger woods pga tour 09

 

Excessive micro-management aside, the game looks quite good in most respects. Characters and the courses look wonderful in HD, however, much like the other EA SPORTS franchises, the crowds look awful. The people on the sidelines are extraordinarily blocky and have some of the strangest reactions that you’ll ever see from people – I sent a screaming line drive into the crowd on a slice and the only person near the shot to react was the guy I smoked and his response was no greater than if I accidentally nudged him. However, some people about 50 yards away dove for cover as if someone was firing wildly over the crowd. If you’re going to add the crowd as an interactive surface, this was not the execution to aim for. The trees are also another point of contention, if you’ve ever hit a golf ball into the branches, you’ll notice that there might be some deflection and the ball will slow down as it goes through. Apparently not these trees though – they will fall straight to the ground as if someone caught it and dropped it straight down.

 

To the actual gameplay – the nice thing about a golf game is that it’s the only game I own where I can step away with the game unpaused and not worry about the game getting really screwed up in my absence. It’s as fast of a game as you want to play – if you wish to absorb the whole experience, just let it play and line up your shots meticulously. That being said, the best results will only be achieved with patience and planning. Slow down and observe really comes to the front when you get one of the lags in the single player campaign – every couple of holes, I’ll sink a put and my guy will still be hunched over the crowd is dead quiet. Then ten seconds later, the entire gallery erupts and my character goes through his happy dance. A re-occurring lag in a single player game? That’s a bit disappointing in this day and age. Sounds and soundtrack is pretty subdued – but appropriate considering the source material.

 

Multiplayer has a ton of variety available to those playing head to head at home or against those all around the world. The number of game modes is crazy, so if playing normal match golf isn’t your thing, you’ll find a personal favorite amongst all those choices.

 

All in all, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 offers a lot of positives, and both casual and hardcore golfers should be entertained by this game. Despite its’ negatives this is a fun game that could have benefited by a little more polish.

 

- Tazman

(October 20, 2008)

 

“Aren’t you too old to wear the Space Sea-Cucumber costume?”

                                                                 - Ellie (Chuck)

 

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