Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
As fun as Wii Sports Golf and Super Swing Golf are, we’ve been yearning for a more realistic experience for some time now. The thought of how the Wii Remote could replicate a golf club has dominated many a conversation, and it was usually Tiger Woods’ name that popped up. After all, what other game does golf as well as EA’s solid franchise? The only real problem we ever had with the series was that instead of brandishing a golf club in one hand, we had to settle for an analogue stick. True, it revolutionised Tiger when it was introduced in the 2000 edition, but there was never any doubt the next big step would fall to swinging a controller like a club. The PlayStation 2’s Real World Golf had a good stab at it, and now the innovative Wii Remote follows suit. Unfortunately, Tiger Woods’ Wii debut is not the spectacle we thought it would be.
Obviously, the most important aspect by a huge margin is PGA Tour’s control method. It’s what sets the Wii version apart from the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and should be the catalyst as to why consumers opt for it over the others. Well, if you want to experience unparalleled realism when driving and chipping, then you’ve no choice but to get it on your Nintendo console. The first time you drive the ball off the tee, it’s hard to keep the smile off your face; the ball responds exactly how it should based on your swing. If you want to add draw or fade, you take the necessary measures, and whacking it 350 yards is going to take a fair bit of effort (and the levelling up of a character). It’s even possible to increase the sensitivity and difficulty of your swing; putting it on the top setting requires pro like skills and poise. It’s an exceptional addition by EA, because as soon as you feel overly comfortable with the control scheme, you can up the anti and start from scratch.
Judging power is equally as engaging. Rather than rely on a power bar, Tiger Woods 07 allows you to estimate how far the ball will go the old-fashioned way – by determining how much backswing is necessary. For those who aren’t hitting the greens every Sunday this may sound rather intimidating, but the ability to practice your shot means you can work out how much force is needed and then apply it. Of course, for the golfing hobbyist this can be more or less ignored, meaning you can gauge your shot using your instincts alone. Not only does this mean attacking the fairways is unbelievably good fun, but some of the mini-games are better than they’ve ever been in the past.
It’s quite the sensation to feel so involved and the feeling only intensifies… until you reach your first green. For reasons that are still unbeknown to us, putting just doesn’t make any sense. A five-inch putt surely requires the slightest of movements, and yet doing so sends the balls careering down the grass as if its life depended on it. Conversely, giving it all you’ve got usually results in the ball finding its way to the hole nicely. What’s even more bizarre is that the most successful technique we came up with was raising the remote backwards, holding it in place, and then wiggling it – not something you’re likely to see during the Ryder Cup. Adjusting the settings to use the advanced controls does rectify this to some degree, but it never feels natural.
Despite its major flaw, we still hold Tiger Woods 07 in some regard. Any game that can replicate a sport as well as it does deserves praise, but we’d be lying if we said we weren’t disappointed with the finished product. If the putting mechanic had worked as expected there’s no doubt this would be a must-have. As it stands though, it’s ultimately going to come down with how much you can put up with a dodgy putting system. There are ways to conquer the problem, but none of them allow you to take the ball home in the conventional sense.
Tiger Woods 07 came so close to being everything we expected it would be, but unfortunately falls at the last hurdle. There’s still a tremendous amount of golf-simulated enjoyment to be had here, but you will have to be one patient club-swinging fiend.