TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 11
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 review
The annual golfing smash hit returns with the latest Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 proving that quality is still very much at the heart of the EA Sport’s epic title.
We like Tiger Woods titles here at GamesMediaPro. We like golf , and we like the chill out factor that the game affords us as we settle in for a relaxing afternoon spent smashing the little white object ball around one of the superbly rendered courses that EA Sports always have on offer for us year after year without fail. But usually when a developer begins to release a franchise title every single year there is a distinct decline in the standard of quality on offer. As the development teams struggle to produce annually released titles, it becomes more and more apparent that what was once a genuinely enjoyable game has now turned into nothing more than the latest ‘cash cow’ for the publishers and developers.
Thankfully, this is EA Sports we are talking about, and a lack of thought, imagination and quality is not an issue here.
If you have never played a Tiger Woods title before, then the good news for you guys is that with the latest PGA Tour 11 title you are going to get a game of such well-rounded proportions that if you close your eyes you will almost be able to smell the salty sea air of Royal Troon or hear the ‘Craw’ of seagulls as the winged white bandits dive bomb your caddy and attempt to ram raid his sandwich from him.
For those gamers, such as myself and the other golf enthusiasts in the office, this is not our first outing on the 18 holes of St. Andrews , however, that is not to say that we have seen it all before and there is nothing new on offer here for the Tiger Woods devotees. Far from it if anything, as with the inclusion of the all new player line up that allows you to take control of a twelve strong party of World-Class professionals in the new Ryder Cup Tournament. In this fantastic new addition to the Tiger Woods arsenal of golfing modes, you get to play in an online representation of the international competition that sees you as one of a possible ‘twenty four’ gamers that can pair off in ‘one-to-one’ matches as you go head to head competing against each other for the right to be proclaimed champions and hold aloft the legendary trophy. The inclusion of the Ryder Cup offers up Tiger Woods a whole new angle, and takes the title in a completely new direction as well as making the game a far more ‘meatier’ proposition that really gives gamers and golfers something to get their teeth into.
Yes the new EA online activation code is now in force in the game, but to be honest with you all, we don’t really see it being that much of an issue? As with the title offering so much content for the online and offline gamer, those players who will want to take the extra step and play the title online will either make the purchase as new from their local games retailer, or they will pay EA the required amount to take the game online with the activation code that they must purchase if they have bought the game used from a store? But truth be told, we have played the title online and we have experienced the Ryder Cup mode when we played against a couple of dev’s and other journalist’s who were writing their own game reviews of the title, and we were all in agreement to a man that if EA continue to offer as much content for their online experiences in all their titles as they have done for in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11? Then we can see anyone who has bought the title second-hand paying EA to get the code and activate the rather excellent online multiplayer experience. The great news for gamers is that although the multiplayer has seen some huge additions that the single player has not suffered because of this, and that the solo experience is better than its ever been too.
During the main career mode the new addition to the way that the game plays this time around sees the inclusion of the all-new ‘Focus Meter.’ This rather splendid little tool gives the player far more control than has been previously available with which to influence the ball during stroke play. Necessary skills such as being able to control how much spin you place on the ball during your shot, the power boost, putt preview and the new ‘accuracy boost’ are all given a hffty tweak and are much improved this time around. In a very nice addition to an already very successful formula, the player is now able to fine tune and hone the skill of the ‘Created Player,’ as gone is the previous bonus system and in its place comes the new XP system of upgrading your personal player. We found the new system to be far more entertaining and rewarding, as unlike the previous method, challenges that you may play with your ‘created golfer’ now see you being rewarded with XP, which you will spend as you see fit purchasing all of the upgrades that you will need to emerge victorious from the very demanding Season-Career mode.
In a word of warning to all potential golfers out there, we would offer this advice for those of you who used to be a little ‘trigger happy’ on the old systems ‘power boost.’ The new ‘Focus Meter’ offers up a more challenging approach to fine tuning your swing, stroke and aim. Yes you can pin point your shots to the ‘tin-cup,’ and yes you can still press ‘X’ for the power boost and also to add spin during the balls flight. However, the difference this time round is that all of these added skills now come at a price, and ‘Focus Powers’ are skills that have to be earned as well as used wisely. So before you go adding every bonus available to every shot that you play, take a minute to listen to the advice of the course commentator, and plan your strokes well in advance, using the ‘Focus Meter’ tools only when necessary. So that if you are ever in need of them, you will not request a ‘Putt Preview’ only to discover that your opening drive took all your ‘Focus’ during your unnecessary power boost from the tee-shot.
You will find that during modes such as the PGA Tour that you are woefully inadequate and often underpowered compared to the more obvious talents of the professionals against whom you are competing, but we found that if you just persevere and play through your tutorials and your challenges, that when the time comes for you to embark on your PGA Tour Season, that you will at least be able to put up some form of a fight against the likes of McIlroy and Woods. All in all, PGA Tour offers more than enough opportunities for you to play as ‘yourself’ during the season mode, it is just up to you to decide on how much effort you want to put into your gaming experience, and ultimately this will determine on how your game plays for you, and also how close you will come to triumphing in the PGA Tour over the Pro’s.
The other notable new function that will have fans smiling into their Pimm’s, is the addition of a ‘True Aim’ view. This gives players the opportunity to see the shot played as it would be almost in ‘real life’ as it were. So after playing a tee shot you may well see the camera leaping from your normal panoramic range of vision to the ‘ball watching’ scope of the true golfer. What we mean by this, is that when you are on the course at your local Golfing establishment and you have just lofted a beauty out of a sand trap or a bunker it is less likely that you would see the ball played from a view of 50 yards away? More accurately you would be up close and personal, and you would be following the trajectory of the ball’s flight path as it arced through the air and came down perfectly to land snugly by the ‘pot.’ Whilst ‘True Aim’ will be out of the technical reach of most of the gamers who will play Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, it does offer those more dedicated fans of the game, a far greater sense of realism than ever before, and therefore also a far greater sense of achievement when you weight the perfect ball after a particularly challenging or difficult lie.
The game offers up a huge selection of 17 real world courses from TPC Scottsdale right through to the golfing Mecca’s such as St.Andrews. One neat feature was when we played a random course that offered us the ability to play different holes from varying courses around the World as if they were all contained in the one venue. The graphics will not fail to astonish and astound, with only minor issues with the camera occurring about as often as a Labour election victory. Apart from that we had no issue with any of the features or facets of EA Sports impressive title. The audio was sublime as chirping birds combined with mellow beats and as the game progressed from hole to hole and course to course. The amount of real quality in the line up of professionals on offer in PGA Tour 11 makes it a mouth-watering prospect for fans and newcomers to the franchise alike.
The sheer amount of separate modes and mini games that are offer to the player is, quite frankly, dizzying. There are just so many great modes to play, that have excellent mini games contained within them, that some are so deep that they deserve their own game reviews themselves. If you also count the staggering 10 extra game modes that are then on offer to those gamers who take the title online, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 is a title to savour for any gamer, and value for money whichever way you want to look at it.
So in summing up on the latest in the series of Tiger Woods endorsed titles. We would have to say that we have quite a number of them standing on our shelves, and to be fair, this is by far and away the most enjoyable of the lot of them. EA Sports really have surpassed themselves with this title and make no mistake. Its one thing to take an already very successful game and add a couple of tweaks here and there and polish the renders, but the guys at EA Sports have just gone that extra mile in every single area and with every aspect of the game.
Graphics: Quite simply put Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 is getting prettier as it gets older. A condition that is lost on most but is being proved year in and year out with the EA Sports title. 9
Gameplay: Stunning! Just simply awesome as EA Sports take a great game, makes it better and then add more modes than you can shake a stick at. Oh, and then get 10 more when you take the game online and play with 23 other players in the Ryder Cup. 8
RePlay Value: It will, in all probability, take you until Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 until you master all of the game modes and gain all the upgrades that are available for your custom player 8
Presentation: If there is one thing that you can always count on Electronic Arts for, its value for your gaming money! This game comes as the complete gaming package, and then just keeps adding more and more to it as you get deeper into the modes and more involved with the gameplay. The standard of the sporting title has just been raised another couple of notches by EA. 8