Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour
Tiger Woods PGA Tour from Electronic Arts
- Great user interface
- Some really nice graphics
- Good sound effects
- Nice player customization
- Some graphics can be a little messy
- Club selection can be "slippery"
- Announcers can get annoying
- No wi-fi multiplayer
Golf fans, rejoice. What appears to be the pinnacle of golf games has arrived. (The pinnacle at least for now) I generally divide golf gmes into two genres - the "realistic" genre in which this game falls, and the "cartoon" genre for games like Hot Shots golf. As far as the realistic genre goes, this game hits a hole in one (okay, no more golf puns!).
Okay, first a quick walk-through. When starting the game, you get a choice of "play now", "pga tour", or "option". Options includes things like adjusting game options (changing right handed or left handed controls, caddy tips, etc). You can also purchase new equipment based on money you have earned. Or actually, no buy new equipment but rather upgrade your equipment you have to improve things like putting, approach, impact, and drive control skills.
PGA Tour mode lets you compete through the various courses (costing money to enter, trying to beat other players to make more money). Play now is simply a "quick play" type of mode, where you can choose your course. With play now, you can have multiplier mode (even with teams) with multiple people or you versus the computer (or multiple AI players). You can change the rules (even for team options), change the course, how many holes, etc. You can also adjust things like the green speed, fairway speed, rought length, etc. There are seven courses to choose from, each of which is visually distinct from each other.
As for user controls, I really like the interface for hitting the ball. Basically, you are given a slider on the right side of the screen. Starting at the top, you slide your finger down, and then back up...in effect, "swinging" the golf club. The strength of your shot, as well as any slice or fade is all dependant on how you slide you finger. It is very intuitive and easy to figure out, and allows a lot of fine control of your golf swing. After hitting the ball, you can put spin on it by swiping your finger on the screen as the ball moves.
One issue I had was choosing a golf club. To change your club, you simply tap the club and spin to find the one you want. However, the spinning was too sensitive, and at times I had a difficult time "zeroing in" on the club I wanted. Not a huge issue, but one that caused some minor frustration.
You can also choose a type of shot (chip, flop, full drive, etc), and the club selections are quite varied.
The graphics are good - great at some points, but a little lacking (angular) at times - especially when it comes to the players themselves. The putting green is the typical grid view, showing slope and angle. You can zoom in on the tee when shooting for the green, and aim your shot accordingly. At various times, the animation seemed a little choppy - hopefully something that can be fixed with an update.
As for sound, the actual sound effect were great, but the annoncer comments got to be annoying after a while - especially with comments like "he'll need to do better than that" immediately following a "nice drive" type of comment. Luckilly, you can turn the comments off.
One difficulty I had was anytime I didn't hit the ball into the fairway or the green. Hitting it in the rough, a sand trap, or any non-fairway location is absolutely killer. It cuts almost ALL of your power on your swing, regardless of any other factors. I don't know if this is extremely realistic, but I would have thought that at some point you could get close to full power - especially in the light rough.
One quick note, when putting, I didn't realize you need to use all or most of the putt strength to get to the hole - I kept trying to estimate how much power to use based on how close I was. This resulted in me hitting the ball only inches as a time when I was close to the hole.
All in all, this is a very well designed golf game. The lack of wi-fi multiplayer limits it, however, and in some areas that graphics could be improved. The user interface and controls are superb, and the variety of play options is great. A personal pet peeve of mine was choosing the clubs, but that is hardly a make or break issue. At $9.99, the game is on the higher end of iPhone games, but if you like golf games, this may just provide the best game play out there. Four and a half out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.