Also On: PS3
Developer: EA Tiburon
Medium: DVD ROM
Call it fate, call it kismet, or just call it being that damn good, but Tiger Woods has regained his number one golfer in the world status just in time for the release of what will arguably be the best version of his golfing series to date. I’m referring to of course, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 which has just been released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 for golfing fans to get their golfing fix even on those days when the links don’t looks so favorable in real life. Fans can look forward to not only greater polish in game play, visuals, and physics, but the team has went that extra mile adding tons of new features that will keep gamers playing this Tiger 14 well into the inevitable Tiger 15.
The visuals and presentation have gotten a boost, not only from the more realistic and dynamic player models and courses, also the live “time of day” effects. They have also included a first in the franchise, night time golfing, but you will also find accurate weather conditions for that course when you are playing. Let me tell you…the night to day transitions are just stunning. Gamers will also notice an upgrade in the presentation as you are introduced to a greater broadcast style as compared to years past; this includes new introductions and over 3,000 additional broadcast cameras to capture a different visual experience on every hole. What’s more, if you are playing in one of the 4 major tournaments you will bear witness to even greater TV style visuals, trophy presentations, and even the signature scoreboards as seen on TV. There is even a bit of a nostalgic visual enhancement when you are playing the Legends mode as not only will you be reliving the clothing and haircuts of that era, but if you are playing before color TV existed, you will be playing in glorious sepia tone. Top it all off with some incredible sounds from the ambiance of the course, to the crowd cheering you on, to a nice play by play lead by the golden voice of Jim Nance.
Game play has received that loving touch as not only have the developers provided various game play swing mechanics, but have given players the option to either play as arcade like or realistic as they demand. This includes many difficulty settings with a fifth setting called Simulation for those who think they own this game and continue to shoot under par. The physics have also been upgraded allowing for advanced shot shaping, an advanced strike meter, precision chipping, improved hit and miss detection and ball physics that really react to the real world environments including weather, wind, and of course thick of the cut. There are even golfer specific swing styles that really showcase each individual golfer’s mechanics, this even includes your own created golfer where you can select from 24 styles and combinations to make your created self just as unique as the pros. While the Kinect and Move features are included again this year, don’t expect much more as far as enhancements go, as they feel untouched from last year. While they work okay, it’s really hard to replace the comfort of a controller when it comes to really getting the most of this game.
Where Tiger 14 really excels beyond what has been mentioned already is how much game you actually have to enjoy. The developers have added many new features and modes that you will have a hard time finding the time to play them all, but I’m sure many will try.
In Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14, you have your Career mode, that is the thick of the game’s meat and potatoes, allowing you to start in the amateurs and work your way onto the PGA Tour to try and capture the Grand Slam by winning all 4 majors. That is a first in franchise history by the way, since the game finally included the Masters, the US Open, the Open Championship, and the PGA Championship. Along the way you are treated to 20 courses each with their unique challenges and obstacles that are made to humble even the greatest golfers. If that wasn’t enough, you have the option to download 22 more with DLC content coming soon. Don’t think that the game is gender specific either as the ladies now have a chance to enjoy the career atmosphere and work their way to the LPGA championship as well.
If you want to relive history and battle some of the most renown golfers, then Legends mode is for you as you will not only try to outdo what the greats have accomplished, but you will be whisked away to the era in which they set their remarkable feats. While this mode isn’t a stat tracking juggernaut like the Career mode, it does provide enough game play to keep gamers reliving history for a few hours.
For those gamers who don’t want to play alone, there are quite a few reasons to jump online and share the experience with thousands of other fans who feel the same way. This connected experience begins with Country Club Tournaments where you can invite up to 100 members to join, and all feature a robust stat tracking system to show just where you stand during the tournaments. There is even a new mode called Connected Tournaments where you can play in a variety of custom online events including Live Tournaments. Play the Pros, Club Tournaments, Country Club Tour, and Sponsored Tournaments are also available.
For me, this has been the deepest and most rewarding Tiger Woods PGA Tour title I’ve ever played. Thanks to the new “live” mode, each match feels very distinctive so I never knew what to expect from game to game. The new simulation difficulty setting is just that, but for gamers not familiar with PGA Tour or just want to play casually, there are multiple settings for you to be able to pick up the controller and take a swing for the flag. So whether this will be your rookie tour with Tiger, or you have been on this journey for all 14 incarnations, there will be no doubt in this reviewer’s mind that you will find this the most addicting, deep, and rewarding Tiger Woods PGA Tour title yet. Just like Tiger himself, this game is simply legendary.