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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 Review

When translating the sport of golf into a videogame, there are two distinct schools of thought.  The first uses the basic rule set of the pastime to create an accessible experience which forgoes many of the nuances of the sport. Titles such as Golden Tee Golf or the Hot Shots Golf series exemplify this approach, paring the game down to its raw essentials- allowing a match to be completed in minutes. The second technique aims to wholly recreate the sport. It’s success in measured by how closely the simulation comes to matching reality.

Over the years, the Tiger Woods PGA series has consistently promoted itself as a golfing sim, with its roster of professional golfers, recreation of actual tournaments, and meticulously modeled real-world courses. Yet, with all these convincing components, the franchise has offering a number of video-game concessions – from altering the spin of mid-flight ball to permitting players to foretell their putting trajectory. The recently released Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 attempts to straddle that division, tweaking its fantastical feature set to appeal  to both light-hearted duffers as well as players yearning for resolute realism.

Tiger Wood 11‘s most significant push toward authenticity  comes from the incorporation of the True-Aim component. The optional play style forgoes the omnipotent ball-flight camera and targeting circle for a much more realistic view of the action. While players can still use aerial shot aiming (justified by a each golfer carrying a GPS tool), they are required to use small markers to gauge their distance to the cup. With the option turned on, participants much be more diligent of their club choice and study of each hole- it’s much more easy to hit a wayward shot with the option. Personally, I wasn’t charmed by True-Aim’s increased complexity, but adamant simulation nuts might enjoy the mode’s truthful recreation of perspective.

Players who persist with the traditional aiming method will notice a few wrinkles which will demand their attention. Variable winds fluctuate in both speed and direction, and gusts can affect the trajectory on long drives. Whereas in previous Tiger Woods iterations, a faultless shot would consistently send the ball toward the center of your aiming reticule. Now the game doesn’t display this unrealistic mechanical precision. Players who grew accustomed to pausing at the apex of their swing (in order to achieve a more accurate drive) will notice this tactic has been eliminated from game; now the title requires one continuous movement for maximum power.

Arguably, the greatest modification to Tiger Wood‘s game engine is the incorporation of a focus meter, which limits the number of incredulous tasks a golfer can perform. Perks such as narrowing the size of your target reticule, extending your drives, adding spin and scrutinizing a putt preview are no longer limitless, forcing players to strategically use each advantage. While your focus meter can be depleted swiftly (especially on the pro difficulty setting), it is gradually replenished over time. Still, unmindful players may find themselves in precarious situations where they are forced to depend on their rudimentary skills just to make par.

Tiger Wood 11‘s multiplayer components sees one significant addition- the inclusion of the biennial Ryder Cup. The illustrious competition is played between two teams, America and Europe, as each vies for victories across a contest which spans twenty-eight matches. Although players may jump right into the contest from Tiger Wood 11‘s main menu or during the career mode, waiting for a throng of virtual duffers to tee off can make the race for the cup move at a languid pace. The title’s new Online Team Play mode moves much more briskly, as the color-coded arc of each teammates balls traverses the screen. While Gamernet returns to offer players supplemental challenges, I longed for Tiger Wood‘s multiplayer element to offer a endless procession of unlockables for players to procure. Clearly, presenting clothing and equipment options wouldn’t have tarnished the title’s advancement toward authenticity.

Visually, this year’s game offers an supplementary layer of polish than extends across the courses and the players. Each of the title’s five new courses (Celtic Manor, Greenbrier, Liberty National, TPC Scottsdale and Whistling Straights complement the growing roster of venues.  Tiger‘s already impressive textures seemed to have received a  slight renovation, as each blades of grass and tree leaves are articulated in high-def sumptuousness. Less impressive is the game’s commentary, which while well-delivered, has the tendency to repeat itself.

Nearly all the changes made to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 push the title toward the realm of meticulous simulation. While golfing aficionados will probably appreciate the transformation, more casual audiences may be content with keeping  their existing versions of the game. Hopefully, EA can strike the balance of pleasing series enthusiasts and casual audiences alike in the coming year.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

46 comments

  1. First!

    Good review, I used to think golf games were boring until my roommate got me hooked.

  2. Thanks for the review. I have this preordered and was debating whether to purchase.

  3. I’ll download the demo, but I’m not a golf nut.

  4. Nice review. I was hoping you’d cover it.

  5. Let us know how the Wii version is, too.

  6. Is their a course list? I hope theres much that Pebble Beach, I’m so sick of that course.

  7. Nice looking graphics. How is the frame rate? A few years back it was kind of janky.

  8. Was it hard writing a review and not making a joke?

  9. I might have to brag this, there’s more changes that I thought there would be.

  10. What are those streamers in the third pic?

    Good review, I do like Hot Shots but haven’t played a TW game in years.

  11. Man, so many good games are coming out right now.

  12. NOLA's Left Nut

    I heard this is going to have Move support. What about NATAL?

  13. You forgot to mention the dating sim aspect of the game.

  14. Ryder Cup mode sound interesting. Especially if you can find 23 other americians/brits.

  15. Sorry, I cant get too thrilled about GOLF.

  16. I could really go for a new Mario Golf game right now.

  17. No Country for Old Gamers

    Good review!

    You play in real life Desert?

  18. Seen the SouthPark parody of this game? It’s pretty amusing. I’d post it here, but I don’t want to get permabanded.

  19. And rememeber $2 off the purchase price of this game goes to charity.

    And by charity, we mean Tiger’s Sex addiction school. I heard the teacher is hot there.

  20. World of Porncraft

    Some funny ass jokes in these comments.

  21. Dont you know? Every golf game has to have that course?!?!

  22. Good, straight review. I’m glad you talked about the changes to the game.

  23. gold is about as interesting as reading the serial codes on DS games.

  24. One of the better reviews I’ve read. Just the right length.

  25. Any minigames in this years version?

  26. Those pics look pretty damn real. I guess they should, there’s not that much going on ion a golf game.

  27. The Wii version might be the way to go. I cant see myself playing this this a standard controller.

  28. This looked awesome on my new TV. I might have to get it.

  29. Good review. I haven’t bought this is a few years, maybe me time to update.

  30. You should probably mention how this game kill mutli for used game owners, unless they buy a $10 ‘pass’.

  31. It’s kind of a nonissue if you ask me!

  32. Princess Skittles

    I wish EA would just charge us $20 and update their game every year via download, instead of making us pay $60.

  33. Whiskey for breakfast

    I’m hoping a new HSG gets made.

  34. Super Hash Bros.

    Good review. I need to try the PS3 demo out.

  35. The game needs swear and throw your club buttons.

  36. I’m really suprised this many people care about golf.

  37. I expected some Tiger Woods jokes in the captions. Semifail.

  38. I’ll be getting this when Move comes out. Maybe it’ll be cheap then.

  39. How about a fighting minigame with your wife?

  40. I’ve been golfing since I was 8. I don’t know why more people don’t like the sport.

  41. Does this game have licensed clubs?

  42. It has Move support? Is it on the box?

  43. I’m thinking the Wii version might be the one to get.

  44. I picked this up today, pretty good so far. I tried the tru-aim, and your right, its really hard.

  45. Is been mentioned on sites before. I assume it will be patched it.

  46. got the game last night, and pretty much enjoy it. The physics are pretty good, and seem real (I played golf for 9 years). A B+ is what I’d give it too.