NINTENDO DS REVIEW: TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR DS

Tiger has made golf popular -no doubt about that. He has also turned his early success into his own private cash cow. Not that I have anything against anyone making money off his or her talents. I do find it a bit odd that while his playing has gone down hill, he seems more popular now than ever before. EA created a fine golfing game and series based around Tiger. While some fans of golfing games did not care about the extensive create-a-player features and other things added in the other console systems, others loved it. Regardless, the game has been a hit for EA. Now EA has made a version for the DS system and it features many of the same options as the larger versions. I will warn you though. Unless you have a ton of patience to learn the touch screen swing controls, this game will get even the best gamer out there teed off (I know it was a bad pun). The game has some great things, but the touch controls are going to take awhile to master. Read on for more about what I like to call "TWPGA light" for the DS.

Tiger Woods PGA for the DS has a lot for golfing fans. It features some nice graphics and a virtual caddy. Once you create the look of your player, you can jump into the quick-play mode or the legends tour, which is actually the career mode and the legend mode combined together. It even offers a multi-player mode. Looking at the features alone, the game is loaded and worth the price. The graphics are bright and very good for a handheld version. They even included a green reader and grid as well as a complete layout of each hole. As impressive as the graphics are, they could have been tweaked a little. While the graphics are not fantastic, they do help the game be enjoyable and easy to see. The sound is dead on, although the only sounds are the sound of the club hitting the ball and the crowd cheering. I did expect a little more in this department. While it is a hand-held version, other games have proven that they can add almost anything if the developer wants a more realistic feel to the game.

Controlling the game is easy as far as setting up the shots and looking where you want to place the ball on the fairway or the green. The problem is with the touch screen swing control. EA decided to make this the default way of hitting the ball until you get to the green to putt it in. Now I have no problem with the concept since it is for the DS afterall. What I did have a huge problem with is trying to get the swing to be even every time. Excuse another bad pun but the touch swing is touchy. You could make the exact same swing from the tee several times and the ball will take a different direction every time. It is not terrible, but you will have to take time to master this area. It would have been wise on EA's part if they had added numbers on the meter instead of just the red marker. Also if you over-swing and the stylus even slightly hits the ball, it will add unwanted spin on the ball. I would say the learning curve would take you about a good solid hour to get it down pat. To improve the use of the touch screen, I recalibrated the settings on the DS. After restarting the system, it seemed to respond better for some reason. Also, as in my overall review for the DS system, I talked about using a slightly bigger and heaver stylus. When I used that stylus with the game, I found the game to control a lot easier.

Meanwhile, when you get the ball to the green, you will not use the virtual swing. You will read the green and have to judge the distance to the cup. You hit the "A" button and pray. No, I am not trying to be funny. That is exactly the way it works. If you read the manual, it will try and explain the distance and how to get it in. In theory it works, but again it is something you will need to practice. In all fairness the touch screen controls are new and after awhile with the game, I was able to get the controls down and play even with the better AI players.

EA added the same great realistic courses and touches that make this one hard not to like. You will start off as a rookie. You can add to your skills by buying them and you will earn money for hitting the fairway and making other great shots as well as winning. In each level the prices will increase. Remember, in this game power is the last thing you will want to build up. You need to get putting skills, recovery, luck and a few others built up before you will move past the rookie challenges. I would have loved to see a driving range and a practice green to learn the putting. I understand that they wanted to get the game out for the Holiday rush. Golf fans will like this one. If you're new to video golfing games, I would recommend you cut your teeth on one of the other console versions of TGW PGA first then try the DS version. It's not perfect, yet offers a challenge.

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System: DS
Dev: EA Sports
Pub: EA
Release: Dec 2004
Players: 1
Review By Chris
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
3.0
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
3.0