Chances are that if you even mention the word golf, someone will mention Tiger Woods, and with good reason too. He has become the modern icon of golf worldwide, and on most days he is without peer, but that is what a whopping total of 13 major tournament wins will do to you. And with this fame and fortune comes the clothing lines, Tiger branded golf equipment and, of course, (excuse the pun) a video game franchise.
The gameplay in TW 08 has been largely untouched, and still lacks an overall polish. For starters the analog sticks are still too sensitive, and just when you really need to pull that shot right out of the fire, you’ll more often than not end up giving it a horrible hook or slice, and end up needing your flippers to retrieve it from the water.
A good addition however is that you can add a draw or fade to your shot. You just tap a button to instantly teleport to the landing zone (you can hold it down to slowly zoom), and then add a fade to the shot by pressing L1 to move the target to the left, or add a draw by pressing R1 to move the target to the right. When used effectively, this can put the cherry on top of a good shot, or make a superb shot just that little bit more remarkable.
The biggest new gameplay feature is the EA Sports Gamernet. This allows you to share and save your best shots. Although sometimes it doesn’t work correctly in practice, the competitive human spirit really drives this on and ensures that there will always be a challenge for you to take up.
Career mode is the jewel in the crown of this game, and once again you start out as a budding Tiger Woods, or a created player with a limited skill set. You can improve your skills by either performing well in events, or taking the skills challenges, which remain largely unchanged to last year.
The game boasts an impressive array of authentic golfers and courses: 21 pros and 16 courses to be exact, with a few packaged in extras along the way, including the returning amateurs which definitely bulks the roster up. You’ll also find yourself matching up with a nice mixture of PGA veterans, and someone who’d be more suited to a Sunday hack around your local course.
There are plenty of customisation options in the create-a-character, but the inability to change things such as skin colour or add eyebrows, which the rendering process sometimes has trouble distinguishing, results in some odd-coloured heads with no discernable brows.
Graphics are once again top notch, but we’ve come to expect that from the EA stable of games. Each player has a unique swing, and all look fluid in motion and lifelike. However there is the odd frame-rate drop, and every now and then objects will seemingly just warp from one place to the other; this only happens occasionally but still drags the package down as a whole.
The presentation side of the game needed some serious work, and unfortunately hasn’t received it. It comes across as dry, and often you’ll hear completely unrelated commentary while you’re playing, which is okay the first or second round, but starts getting tedious after that. The actual sound effects are very authentic, whether it’s a ball hurtling through branches, splashing in a pond or the nice metallic sound a ball makes when coming off a clubface.
What changes you do find in Tiger Woods 08 are positive; however, it’s just the fact that there is more polish needed to make this title really stand out. As a consolation for you PS3 owners, rest assured you do have the best version of the game on your console, and hopefully with some more effort Tiger Woods 09 will be a more memorable experience.