|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Tiburon||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA Sports||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 26, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Pete Richards
From a consumer's standpoint, the idea of annual sports titles is to improve year after year. Developers do this by offering new features and enhanced gameplay functions along with updated rosters and other changes that have occurred in the 12 months gone past. While Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 features a few new players and courses, it actually offers less functions and game modes than last year, making any red-blooded gamer wonder why they should even bother.
The first thing PSP owners may notice is the lack of game modes. For some reason, EA has taken out all mini-games for 09. Whereas last year's installment received criticism after EA introduced their so-called Mental Games, they have been completely removed this year - maybe for the better - taking the Confidence Meter along with them. Unwisely, EA has also decided to leave out the fun driving and putting mini-games which were included in past installments. Now all 09 has to offer is the quick, Play Now mode, which allows you to adjust the rules of Stroke Play or Stableford; the new EA Sports Cup mode, which seems more like a tacked on feature; and the PGA Tour mode, which hasn't changed much from last year either. With only three modes to play, it's a shame EA hasn't worked harder to add more re-playability and variety for this PSP release.
The EA Sports Cup mode is the only new addition to Tiger, which is a short tournament designed to be completed in about an hour. You are put in a league, then sent to play only a few holes from various courses against a range of opponents. Essentially, it's not much different from playing a normal game other than speeding the process up by skipping holes automatically. Overall, it's a pretty weak new feature, especially considering it is the only new game mode added this year. However, it isn't bad considering it is intended for PSP users who may only play this game for short periods of time.
Generally, I have found that past Tiger Woods titles work well on the handheld. A full 18 holes definitely occupies your time and the relaxed gameplay style of Tiger Woods is enjoyable on a plane or in the backseat of a car. Tiger 09 offers three different options for shot making, allowing users to swing using the two or three-click shot technique or the analog nub. Users will most likely use the nub to pull back a swing and flick it forward once their power bar has reached the desired level, though it tends to be quite difficult, especially when putting. While the mechanics of pulling the analog back and forth like a virtual golf club may work well with console versions, the PSP nub is much smaller and makes hitting accuracy a lot more difficult. Moreover, it would make more sense for the power meter to fill up slowly while putting as opposed to the same speed it takes for driving. Alas, it doesn't vary and it takes incredible accuracy to flick the nub forward at the exact desired power level. In fact, when putting or driving, I find it very difficult to be consistent and hit well.
Fans may also notice that there are only 20 courses in total as opposed to last year's 22 courses, though this year introduces a few new ones such as the Gary Player Country Club, Sheshan, and Wolf Creek. Additionally, you also have the ability to create three dream courses by combining 18 of your favorite holes in each. There is only enough room to save three of these, though the option is nice for those who want to play just their favorite holes in one sitting.