Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11
Year-on-year tweaks, especially so far as sports titles go, range typically from the ineffectual to the ridiculous. From 360-degree motion altering proceedings in no discernable way to the disorientation that is First Person Football, it’s a genre packed with inching towards the almighty dollar. Kudos this year, though, is reserved for the team at EA Tiburon, who must have taken a not inconsiderable flight north of the Canadian border in some sort of stealth exercise to steal Fight Night’s wobbly trunks technology. It’s a life of thrills and espionage, being a videogame developer – one that here has resulted in players featuring Olive Oyl in peril. Well, blow us down!
A silly point maybe, but our overall point carries weight. For while headline grabbers such as the Ryder Cup’s inclusion and its series of player-specific challenges may generate some fuss, an on the surface unspectacular change stands out above all. Taking its inspiration (bizarrely) from the Street Fighter series, Tiburon’s focus meter steps in this year as a barrier between players and the most potent of shot aids. Adding a much-needed tactical dimension to play, it whittles away with the use of power boost drives, focused aiming markers and putt previews, forcing gamers to consider whether that second free green reading is really worth not being able to reach the next par five in two. Among other similar dilemmas. At a stroke (ho, ho!), play becomes considerably more faithful to the real-life sport, hopefully putting paid to the sub twenty below scores Xbox Live has to offer. This cannot be a bad thing.
Neither, indeed, can the inclusion of golf’s major transatlantic competition on EA’s roster. Ghosting in and out of various players’ bodies like some benevolent golfing power offers fun in spades; more so when you’re not just viewing one set of AIs struggling manfully against another. An area still in desperate need of improvement though, yet again, is visual prowess. It’s easy to lose track of the times obscure camera angles highlight 50s cinema painted backgrounds, drawn it seems using old Teletext software. The whole package is beginning to resemble somewhat of a cartoon, especially when placed next to its richer, more illustrious stablemates. This increasing niggle aside, the garden of Tiger remains relatively rosy.