|System: X360, PS3, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Tiburon||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 8, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-24||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Leon Hendrix III
May 3, 2010 - In the most general sense, I'm not a fan of golf. My Generation X sensibilities won't allow me to embrace watching a game with such a slow and methodical pace. Even so, it's hard not to cheer for Tiger Woods. Despite his dismal performance at Quail Hollow and his recent personal troubles, many Tiger fans (including EA) have stuck by him. And with good reason. By the numbers he may be the most complete and dominating force in professional sports today.
With countless Tour victories, Green and Gold Jackets, and patented fist pumps under his belt, it's hard to argue against his legendary status. Head and shoulders above other PGA Tour pros, Woods has set and broken records on the way to solidifying his definitive status as the most peerless golfer in the history of the sport. He is, without a doubt, one of the greatest athletes of all time.
A certain amount of celebrity comes with that kind of supreme ability, and Woods has managed to bring millions of dollars and millions of fans to the green (much like Ali did for boxing). Economics 101 says it was only a matter of time before EA supplied the demand with an interactive game starring Woods and his woods (According to an EA rep, sales for the franchise have risen 20% recently). Flash forward a decade or so and here we have Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. The latest in Woods' series is pushing the boundaries of the traditional interactive sports sim, much like many of EA's 2010 slate. We got a chance to test drive 'PGA Tour 11' and there's a lot to get excited about. Just remember, no loud cheering.
For the first time ever EA's golf game will include the Ryder Cup. For the golf inept, the biannual tournament pits American and European golfers against each other in a team golf battle royale to determine the supreme continent. This year, 'PGA TOUR 11's cover features Tiger Woods and Rory Mcllroy representing the American and European teams, respectively. This year the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales will be home to the Ryder Cup, and will be a new course in 'PGA TOUR 11'. The mode was unavailable during the demo, but I got the sense that there will be much more to fist pump about. In addition to Celtic Manor, a number of other PGA Tour courses will be available for team and solo play. EA has put a lot into the visuals of the courses, golfers, and spectators in their new entry. Dynamic textures and character models are in this year. Courses mimic their real life counterparts almost too the T (no pun intended). Clothes crinkle and fold naturally as any of the game's 20 PGA and LPGA tour pros try to sink those putts. Individual blades of grass sway in the breeze. I was told the graphics were close to ship date standards, and it wasn't hard to believe.
The Wii version of 'PGA TOUR 11' was another big focal point. You can expect a bit more realism in terms of the swing mechanics (using the Wii MotionPlus) and the new True View first-person camera aims to put you in the shoes of Woods and friends. It's tough to say what the actual effect of all this is going to be, but it's a feature that EA hopes will bring a lot more fun to the traditional gameplay. To that point, most of the other gameplay mechanics remain unchanged-there's a meter or graphic overlay that controls everything from strength of your swing to the curve of a green. It seems to work well enough but for newcomers to the game, there is a very steep learning curve. Unlike its other fall and summer releases, there doesn't seem to have been much of an effort to simplify the game's primary interface.
Online play is the big star this year; a few new and returning modes are steering gameplay away from the normal golf sim or tournament play. Live Tournaments will allow players to compete in-game against Tiger Woods' real PGA Tour scores by accessing the EA website. Gamernet challenges will give gamers a chance to try a hand at new tricks and achievements (skipping balls on water, long drive challenges, etc.) uploaded daily to the EA site. Online chat, mini-golf, and disc golf will round out the list and lift your spirits after you realize how much better Woods' Live scores are than yours. There was confirmation that the PS3 version will support Sony Move, but details are still forthcoming.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 will give gamers a lot of reasons to pick up their putters, but the fun factor is going to make a big difference here. Online and multiplayer modes might be the key to this franchise entry coming in under par.
Leon Hendrix III
CCC Freelance Writer