Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Box Art
System: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii
Dev: EA Sports
Pub: EA Sports
Release: March 29, 2011
Players: 1-4
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p

The game's course selection disappointed me. You get sixteen courses to start from (in any HD console version) and you may purchase twenty more as DLC. Normally I wouldn't have a problem with this, but those twenty courses are actually part of the career mode. If you come upon a locked course over the course of your career, the game stops you and asks you if you want to purchase the course or simply skip it and move ahead. Skipping a course almost feels like time traveling, with this awkward gap sitting right in the middle of your progress. It feels almost as if EA is strong-arming you into purchasing the DLC. There is a correct way to integrate DLC into a sports title, and this is definitely not it. You might be better off purchasing the Wii version instead. It doesn't have any DLC, but it does come with twenty-five courses on disc instead of the HD version's sixteen.

Amidst all these new modes and the spiffy Masters paint job, there is one important new gameplay mechanic, the caddie. Your fully voice-acted caddie will now recommend shots to you whenever he can. These shots will come with a predefined club selection and directionality, and all you have to do is tweak the direction as you see fit and make sure your power is spot on to make the shot.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Screenshot

The coolest thing about your caddie is the fact that he isn't perfect. He too starts off pretty crappy, but he starts to learn as you play the courses. Eventually, your caddie will be recommending the best possible shots for you to take, presenting you with multiple options of many different difficulties that weigh risk and reward in a careful balance. Will you go for the extremely difficult shot that might score you an eagle, or will you settle for par and take the safe route? Your caddie knows best!

The caddie is also a welcome addition to the atmosphere of the game. While he can get a little repetitive at times, he basically converses with you like a normal human being when he explains the shots you can take. He is accompanied by colored overlays that detail exactly where the shot will go and how difficult it is to make it, but his presence is a delightfully human addition to the game. It makes the game feel more peaceful, and it's much easier to relax and take an extremely misaligned swing.

Overall, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters is more fun to play than any previous game in the series. The new caddie will help all players reduce their score, while the Masters-themed game modes will keep hardcore golf fanatics playing for some time. EA put a lot of thought into the gameplay and presentation, so it's a shame that they put almost no thought into the graphics.

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While the game certainly is a more vibrant shade of green, and the new announcers do make the game sound better, most of the game still looks pretty generic. The crowds are unimpressive and their movements are incredibly stiff. Even the golfers look pretty bad compared to other current-gen sports titles. EA can boast all they want about 3D grass, but in the end, it sort-of looks like robots are golfing amongst a crowd of turn-of-the-century British street urchins.

Regardless, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 is a good game if you are in to that sort of thing. That's really the hook: EA pretty much figured that anyone who would be playing a golf game would probably be into golf. They loaded the game with a bunch of modes that please golf fanatics, and the game is better because of this. If you are looking for a good digital golf experience, you will be hard-pressed to find a better game than this. It's not perfect, but it's the best we have.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to put on some Pink Floyd and play eighteen quick holes. Oh yeah, that's the good stuff.

By Angelo D'Argenio
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
2.5
Graphics
Movements are stiff and faces are blank. The only impressive graphical aspect is the 3D grass.
4.5
Control
The controls are the same as they were back in PGA Tour 11, and that's a good thing. The new caddie only makes the game easier and more interesting.
3.4
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Jim Nantz and David Feherty are perfect announcers for the game. Perhaps that is because this is actually their job.
4.0
Play Value
You'll spend tons of time attempting to beat the online GamerNet challenges, and pushing yourself closer to The Masters in career mode. The only annoying part of this game is its DLC course selection.
4.0
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Play the Hallowed Grounds of Augusta National Golf Club - For the first time ever in Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise history, players will now be able to compete at Augusta National Golf Club. Experience the historic holes that comprise Amen Corner and make a run at capturing the distinctive Green Jacket.
  • Masters Moments - Relive and play through memorable, historic moments of the Masters. Take the challenge and see where you measure up against the greats who have played in this legendary tournament.
  • Broadcast Presentation - Jim Nantz teams up with David Feherty to lead the all-new broadcast presentation package. Enhanced visuals showcase high-fidelity character models and course details that bring to life all the sights and sounds of a round of golf at Augusta National. For the first time in franchise history, the game will feature 3D grass, which will appear and respond more like actual grass.
  • Climb the World Ranking - Feel the pressure of an all-important putt while working your way through the amateur tour, the Nationwide Tour, and Q-School. Perform well enough to earn a spot on the PGA Tour! In Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters, the all-new career mode closely mirrors the real-life journey of an amateur golfer as they strive to make it onto the PGA Tour.
  • The Caddie Experience - Play like a true pro with a caddie alongside, assisting and supporting your every swing. The caddie will evaluate all pre-shot factors, such as wind, lie, and yardage, to provide a recommended shot. As your caddie's knowledge of each course increases, he will level up through "Course Mastery," making him even more valuable to your success.

  • Screenshots / Images
    Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Screenshot - click to enlarge Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Screenshot - click to enlarge Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Screenshot - click to enlarge Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Screenshot - click to enlarge Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Screenshot - click to enlarge Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Screenshot - click to enlarge Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Screenshot - click to enlarge Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Screenshot - click to enlarge Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Screenshot - click to enlarge Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Screenshot - click to enlarge

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