Reviews

Tiger Woods PGA Tour – review

This is the hardest review I have ever written, and I have written literally hundreds of reviews for various publications. However, early in my iPhone reviewing life I wrote a review that would come to haunt me for all the days of my life. At the time I loved the game, and I honestly thought a game on the iPhone could not get better. I’m not going to call out the game by name, I will just say it is the same sport as Tiger Woods, which is the game I am about to review here and now. I am writing this preface to say flat out, regardless of the score I give Tiger Woods, it is better then the other game, however, expectations for iPhone games have increased ten fold since that fateful day when I wrote that other review. Now back to regularly scheduled Tiger Woods review.

Tiger Woods is a golf game, in case you were not able to guess, or maybe you live under a rock and have never heard of the golfer the name associates with. In terms of console golf games, Tiger Woods is second to none, and it’s very good to see that it’s being brought over to our beloved iPhone.

Even more fortunate then the fact that the game exists is the fact that didn’t go with some horribly implemented swing control method, rather they went with possibly the most intuitive control method I have seen on the iPhone. I have written a couple previews about the swing mechanic, and after playing the game for short bursts at various events I was impressed, but after really digging in the game for an extended period of time I could truly see how much play testing and thought went into the controls. Basically there is a meter on the screen with a little golf ball on top of it, you drag the meter down to the desired amount of power and swipe forward to take the shot. Where it gets interesting is in the subtle mechanics, like slicing the ball if you move your finger back and go forward to left or right, rather then straight forward. If you draw your finger back past the end of the meter you and hold it for a couple of seconds, you can put some boost on the shot to get that little extra something.

Once the shot is in the air your work is not done. Oh no, now is the time to put spin on the ball, you can do this by swiping the screen in the direction you want the ball to spin. Putting some fast spin on the ball has saved me from ending up in a hazard on numerous occasions.

So, you’ve driven beautifully, made a clean approach and now you have arrived at the hardest part of golf, putting. Putting in Tiger Woods, is not overly hard though, you have a grid on the green that shows you how it breaks, and the caddy even tells you how many feet or inches you need to adjust your shot. I personally think that would be enough assistance, but they also let you preview the shot with a nice white line that tells you exactly the path that the ball will travel. I can say honestly, that in my time playing the game, I almost never missed a putt because there is so much assistance from the AI.

1_redTiger Woods essentially only has 2 modes, but that’s really all it needs. There is the basic play now mode, where you choose a course and go to town, and then there’s the PGA Tour mode, where you start a PGA tour and play through all the different events that a golf pro would go through. This is the bread and butter of the game. I hope you are in for a time commitment, because to play a lot of the PGA Tour mode is going to take some time. Just like real pro golf, you play each course four times to complete the event, unless of course you don’t make the cut to move onto the next day, in which case the event ends for you and move on to the next one.

There are a total of 7 real life courses in Tiger Woods, so if variety is your thing, you’ll find plenty of it. There are also a few other pro golfers to play as, or against. These include Tiger Woods and Retief Goosen as well as others. I personally preferred to play with my own custom golfer, and even though to choices are limited in the game, it’s still cool to be able to make your own guy. That was a long description of the game, but there’s a lot of game to describe, anyway, without further ado, let’s get into….

The Good

The logical starting point is the controls, because they the best implemented controls I have seen in an iPhone game. It’s one of those things that are kind of hard to describe, but it’s just a certain feel that I get from manipulating the controls in Tiger Woods that no other game on the iPhone has been able to deliver.

2_redThe amount of courses is another incredibly solid aspect of the game. There are 7 real life courses in the game, and although I’m no golf expert, the courses look just like they do on TV. I would imagine that anyone who has ever played golf on these courses would be more then happy with attention to detail that EA has put into them.

The sound is incredible. Most iPhone game I can do without the sound at all, but the commentating is so good in Tiger that I actually enjoy listening to them. The sound effects are also really good. When you pull a perfect 100% percent boost and time slows down, the sound of the club slamming the ball is so very satisfying.

The PGA tour mode is also great. It offers a ton of gameplay. If you want a game that is going to get your moneys worth, look no farther then Tiger Woods, because it will offer hours and hours of gameplay.

The Bad

The visuals really let me down here. When I saw the game in preview it looked good but it seemed to need a little more polish. It seems as if that needed polish was just not done. I don’t know if they just ran out of time in the development cycle and needed to get the game out the door, but I wish they took a little more time to really smooth things out. If the visuals were as good as the rest of the game, I would have no problem giving this game a perfect score.

I also had a couple occasions where the game would crash on me. It wasn’t common place, but there were 3 or 4 occasions where it would lock up and quit. Specifically on the 18th hole of St. Andrews. Almost every time I drove on this hole it would crash while the ball was in mid air. Fortunately the game has a great auto save, so I wouldn’t lose my progress, but it was annoying none the less.

The Final Verdict

Tiger Woods iPhone is hands down the best golf game on any mobile platform, including the DS and PSP. It is in fact, one of the best games I have played on the iPhone to date. It has a couple flaws that keep it from being completely perfect, but it’s still an amazing game, and one I can easily recommend.

Presentation & Graphics
2pt5-stars_sm
This is the one weak point in the game. The graphics aren’t what I would call bad, but they could use a little bit more polish.
Sound
2pt5-stars_sm
The audio is spot on. The commentators are great. The sound effects are also really great.

Gameplay
2pt5-stars_sm
The most fun I’ve had with any game on the iPhone, and the control method is so well thought out and intuitive.

Gamelife
2pt5-stars_sm
The game offers 7 real life gold courses, and a full PGA Tour mode. There is a lot of game to be played here.

Game Rating

2pt5-stars
The best golf game I have ever played on a mobile platform, hands down.

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  • iamse7en

    I have been playing the game non-stop for about 4 days now, and I absolutely love it.

    I keep playing the PGA Tour, but the problem is, I crush everyone by at least 30 strokes. On the first course I got a -50 after 4 days.

    I thought to spice it up by turning off the caddy tips and vowing to never use the putt preview, however, I’ve gotten good enough at that, that only very long putts are difficult.

    It’s fine that I am averaging around a -8 per day, because I find myself making stupid mistakes every once in awhile, preventing a birdie, or even getting a rare bogey. However, I wish the other players were averaging around -8 per day to make it more competitive. My real opponent is the course, where I seek perfection on each hole.

    Other observations – it’s extremely difficult to chip in. In all the hours of playing, I think I’ve only chipped it in about 2 times (once it didn’t bounce at all) – it’s also near-impossible to get a hole-in-one or an albatross – haven’t gotten any of those, although I got VERY close to getting a hole-in-one on a par 4 – we’re talking inches. That’s all fine though, and seeking perfection is the fun of the game. Just an observation how it’s harder than the Tiger Woods Wii game to get those.

    So, that’s my only complaint about the game – there’s NO competition on the Tour, or even in regular play. I’ve only played a few days, so I’m sure many will find this problem. I’m very curious, through all their development of the game, they didn’t find the computer players average.

    All in all, the game is fabulous. I love the play, the courses (although I think the greens should be harder with more slopes), and the PGA Tour mode.

    Hopefully, they come out with an update to make the AI much, much better. That would add a MUCH more fun element to the game. There’s nothing like seeking those eagles on a par 5 late in the 4th day to catch the leader.

  • 23qwerty

    “In terms of console golf games, Tiger Woods is second to none.”
    I highly disagree, Hot Shots Golf has always been better.

  • Rock $ Rolla

    This is awesome

  • Legend.inc

    i didnt think this was going to get 4.5!!
    this must be a good game!

  • Jay

    Haha @ the review reference.
    and this is the best golf game i’ve played on the iPhone

  • Wildnight

    I think i might have 2 give this a try. After reading this i’am sold. Downloading as i type this. Peace Out got play some golf.

  • http://twitter.com/daveleclair iPGN-Dave

    @jay
    Yea I figured only the old school iPGN readers would get the reference, but I felt it was necessary in case someone stumbled across the other review and was like wait why is tiger a lower score.

  • http://www.slidetoplay.com/ STP_Tim

    Haha. Great review, greater reference to your favorite game, Dave!

  • Jay

    lol, Gosh… I feel old, cuz the app store is nearly a year old. and I bet no one thought it would be this successful in less than a year

  • Torbjorn Kamblad, Sweden

    Can you play your own music while playing?

  • Torbjorn Kamblad, Sweden

    Bought it, brilliant review and brilliant game!

  • Robert Mulukwane

    “Can you play your own music while playing?”

    Yes (well I can anyway – on iPhone 2.something),

    If you put a playlist on in your iPod Music App, and then launch the game, then your music stays playing in the game :)

    (the commentary and game music gets turned off and the SFX stay on).

  • Spoodge6

    Best game I have played easily

  • JB

    Dave,

    I’ve read several of your reviews and they’re very helpful. Tiger Woods is a fantastic game and well worth the 5 or so dollars for the many hours of fun it provides.

    I never want to be critical of someone’s writing, however, criticism has helped my writing improve exponentially over the years. You’re a good writer, but your grammar needs a little brushing up. Your differentiation between than and then is often mistaken and your commas are sometimes out of place or not needed at all. I’ve also noticed that you’ll leave certain words out that clearly are needed to complete your point or sentence. This is just an observation and I hope it helps. Spell check isn’t always the only thing needed before a review is ready to post.

    Keep up the good work and very helpful reviews.

    JB

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