Grip it and rip it the only
way the Wii-mote can
Springtime is here and it is time to start practicing our swings for the golf course. What better way than to pick up this year’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour for the Wii? At least that is what EA wants you to think. However, you have to give credit where credit is due. Yes, the title has appeared on the other systems, but so what? This is the Wii, baby – king of player interaction, lord of innovation. Okay, that might be a bit much, but how does this offering of the multi-platform title square up on the Wii? Simply put – frustratingly real.
We all know that every year popular sports titles like Madden and NBA Live get a new update. Sometimes they are real innovations to the franchise, bringing new aspects of control or franchise modes. Other times, they bring absolutely nothing new to the series and this hinders and infuriates fans of the franchise. Tiger’s PGA tours have been guilty of both aspects in recent years. In addition to many of the returning factors that have made this PGA series a requirement for golfers, this time around there is a couple of things worth mentioning.
An all-new arcade mode with eight games for you to compete in starts the many different aspects of the game for several hours. Got a friend or three sitting around with nothing to do for a couple of hours? The multiplayer returns with the familiar stroke, match, skins, and alternate ball play options. Adding to the already impressive multiplayer are the greensome and bloodsome matches. They are both team based matches with the best ball rules. In greensome, you will pick which ball you will use, and bloodsome is where your opponent chooses which ball you will use. One ball is another addition to the series. The objective here is to give your opponent an impossible shot to make. This is done easily since the two of you will share a ball, but be careful playing against the computer or Nintendo might need to replace more wrist straps. This is why it is best to play one ball with your friends.
Of course, if you are the traditional golfing type, then your home will be the PGA Tour season spanning 29 multiday events. Eventually, you will drive the course of 18 championship courses like Pebble Beach Golf Links, St. Andrews, and The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, to name a few. You will also be able to compete against golfing legends like John Daly and Annika Sorenstam. The real appeal here is the create-a-golfer mode, known as Gameface. The past Tiger Woods games have always had a good sense for the create-a-player aspect and this year is no different. In fact, the modifications to the Gameface mode are so good that there is really no reason to not be able to design a near exact replica of yourself, with a few alterations of course. After the design comes the grueling experience of being a rookie, and you will not feel the frustrations, anguish, nor the joy and excitement on any other system the way you will on the Wii.
Unfortunately, this is one of the big problems with the Wii version. What should be something to aid a new, would-be golfer in real life, is only frustrating in the game. More specifically the Wii-mote. A control mechanic that should have been easy to relate to is poorly executed here. This by no means says that it doesn’t deliver on precision and the realistic feel of golfing, because it does indeed do that. Hook your swing to the far left or right and the ball acts accordingly, swing without enough force and the ball acts accordingly. So what is the problem? It is that the sensitive swing mechanics are too sensitive? Sometimes your golfer will swing before you complete your follow through, thus resulting in harsh ball placements. It makes one wish that this faulty control was not present and it might even make you want to just ditch the game and go back to playing golf on Wii-Sports.
The graphics definitely leave much to desire. Although the character models are great, and this is probably the closest design for Tiger in all of the PGAs, the environments are bland. A little more detail to the trees and such would have been nice, specifically when they show an occasional animal in the background, such as a deer. These animals look so crudely fake that it is a miracle that PETA has not tried to boycott the game for animal cruelty.
Sound was another damper, although it is also a highlight. The announcers are as annoying and droll as ever, the lack of original insults and glorious compliments makes you glad you can turn their volume all the way down. Another voice that you will hear constantly is that of one in particular fan. In the beginning, it is funny. They will yell at every shot you take as if it is the best they have ever seen, but after a few hoots and hollers, you will be finding a way to turn the observers down as well. The highlight is that the sound effects around the various golf courses are so realistic and random that you might think a passing plane or cicadas are in your living room. This attention to a very small detail is one of the ways EA tried to bring that extra element of realism to the game. In that regard, they succeeded.
Any sport that requires a swinging motion combined with the Wii, should have been a harmless and easy experience, well except maybe Hockey or Polo. While the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series has always been a delight, even with the questionable sensitivity of the swing action, this one is no exception. From the junior golfers of the world, to even some of the self-proclaimed pros, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 for the Wii will help with a couple of things, the power of your swing and mastering the frustration of a true golfer all without breaking your clubs, well at least the expensive ones.