Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 review for Xbox 360, PS3

Platform: Xbox 360
Also on: PS3
Publisher: EA
Developer: EA Tiburon
Medium: DVD-Rom
Players: 1 – 2
Online: Yes

The Tiger Woods PGA Tour series has been a staple in EA?s sports lineup for quite some time. Through the highs and the lows, EA has stuck by the player and series and honestly this is a good thing as no matter what Tiger does off the links, the man may very well go on to be the greatest player to grip a club. The Tiger Woods series has gone the right direction in appealing to the hardcore fans who want realism, and this year, they introduced a new swing mechanic, that while controversial, is with little argument the most realistic style the series has ever undergone. Tie this in with a ton of modes, a Road to the Master’s tour, and an interactive look at Tiger?s career highlights and you may have the best PGA Tour game to sport Tiger Woods? name so far.

Visually Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 is stunning and looks better than ever with more detail on not only the courses, but the players, crowds, and overall presentation. Gone are the days of frame rate killing cut scenes, eerie looking player models, and lackluster and barren greens. The presentation no longer goes over the top with flashy camera cuts and slow mo, but instead replaces them with dramatic camera angles and a more traditional television broadcast style and format. This even holds true for the lesser rounds of completion that leave you with nothing but the sounds of the links, crowds, and mother nature, but In turn you have a more TV style approach in bigger tournaments with commentary and a even a more reaction based crowd compared to rounds that may not matter as much. It is this laid back approach that adds to the authenticity and realism that they are obviously shooting for.

Where Tiger Woods makes the biggest change, for better or for worse, is the new swing mechanics that while giving the cold shoulder to the casual fans and Hot Shots Golf players, will be greatly appreciated by the gamers looking to finally get a swing system that provides that touch and feel of the game more over anything they have attempted in the past. You control the club by a series of motions that rely on tempo, speed, and swing through accuracy that mimics a real life golf swing. You can follow through too fat, thin, too fast, under swing, hook and slice, all determined precisely by how you approach and perform your follow-through. You even have alternate ways of setting up your approach that will help you get a more solid and crisp shot on your ball before taking your shot. If all the intricacies are done precisely, you are going to hear that beautiful ping and the ball with take action as it should, but if you try to rush it or under think the swing, expect bad things to happen. I will admit this new mechanic, even for someone who does golf like myself, takes a bit to get used to, and the lack of a ?real? tutorial or practice swings I can foresee new or casual fans getting frustrated very quickly. If you do find the patience within, then you will find that this new mechanic is very rewarding. Of course those who want to ?feel? the game, you can utilize the PS3’s PS Move motion controller, and new this year the Kinect finally gets its run on the Xbox 360. While none of these controls schemes are broken by any means, there are still those minor hiccups such as loss of sight from a camera or an unresponsive gyro that will probably not completely push you to replace using a controller. Unless you really want to play that way of course, but bear in mind, even as improved as the motion controls are, the game still feels off and still doesn?t provide that golfing on a rainy day experience gamers would hope for.

Without a doubt this is the deepest version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour yet and offers the most amount content for on and offline players. Single player provides pick up and play modes, a very expansive Road to the Masters mode, and added this year for the Tiger Woods enthusiast is the reliving his most memorable and critical events in his golf life; from playing at 2 years old on TV, to winning his first Masters, and more. You can relive Tiger?s greatest accomplishments that of course don?t dwell on his off course antics as South Park would hope would happen. Online fans will find tournaments, live events, and even a goals mode that tracks your progress and tags all your highlight accomplishments. While there is no real extension to these modes for fans of the series, the fact that EA has improved on each one without eliminating features to add new visuals, game play mechanic, and whatnot, deserves a resounding golf clap on this side.

In the end this could be the best golf game you have ever played, or the worst, and it will all be dependent on how much you can adapt to the new swing mechanics, that while take the most realistic approach in video game history, don?t provide the option for casual gamers to revert to a different or classic mechanic. If you are like me and you do hit the links, you will find much to appreciate here and it will keep you busy when you can?t play for real, otherwise, I suggest downloading the demo to see if the new changes fit your style of play.

Grade: A-