Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 Review for Nintendo Wii

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 Review for Nintendo Wii

Not one to let a scandal keep a good golfer down, EA rolls out the Tiger Woods bandwagon for another tour on Wii. It’s been exactly one year since the previous installment hit the console, so fans might be wondering if the publisher has had enough time to prepare a fresh season. I dust off my virtual clubs and report back from the green with a scorecard.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 screenshot

Last year I reviewed PGA Tour 10, and though I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the game of golf, I was impressed and delighted by EA Sports’ use of the new Wii MotionPlus accessory. The game offered an enjoyable, easy-to-understand, and realistic approach to virtual golf, and the package was brimming with meaningful extras.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 has a few new modes and tweaks, and it’s also jammed packed with content. However, it’s a product that looks, plays, and feels so much like last year’s offering, I have a tough time recommending fans take a double dip.

First, let’s discuss what’s new in PGA Tour 11. For my money, the two biggest additions this year are the inclusion of miniature golf, and disc golf can now be played online. True View is another new feature – a first-person view of the tee – but honestly, I preferred last year’s presentation, as it was more practical for aiming shots. Tee Shot Live lets golf fans match their real-life scores with those of their in-game character to create a more realistic career experience, and Focus gives players the option to put points into a particular attribute before the start of each round.

There’s definitely some cool, new stuff here. A new leveling system makes the career mode accessible to players of all skill levels, and the Ryder Cup is a hefty chunk of gameplay diehard golfers will surely appreciate. On the other hand, the mini-games are a rehash from last year’s package, and many of the elements that made PGA Tour 10 approachable have been traded out for more esoteric gameplay systems.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 screenshot

That’s not to say the game of golf has gone downhill in PGA Tour 11. With Wii MotionPlus, the gameplay is still enjoyable and wholly reliant on player skill. However, the changes to the game do less to enhance the experience than they do to confuse it. There are tons of options in terms of play style, but again, they’re mostly features we already have in PGA Tour 10.

From the main menu, you can do some quick play with Play Now, create a character in My Career, select from Golf Modes or Party Modes, or hit online for competitive play with others. Play Now offers stroke play or Stableford (same as PGA Tour 10), with the typical assortment of options; it’s a great way to simply jump right onto the green. If you’re feeling slightly more ambitious, you can hit My Career and begin your journey to the championship.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 screenshot

My Career in PGA Tour 11 offers most of the same options and gameplay features from last year’s package. Character creation is full featured, allowing you to tinker with all sorts of minute details of your character’s appearance. Unfortunately, the character textures are ugly, and it’s near impossible to form anything that looks presentable. If you’re like me, you’ll simply opt for the most extreme options and create a golfer that looks so ridiculously out of place, he or she will be worth looking at for sheer comedic value.

Once you’re done dabbling in the fine art of character creation, it’s off to a glamorous life of play dates and shopping. The calendar works basically the same as before, but there’s now something called Instant Challenges, which helps to spruce things up a tad. If your Wii is online, you’ll occasionally be challenged to compete against the scores and performances of top players, and the money you earn can be used for your character in My Career.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 screenshot

For the $50 asking price of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, the fattest new piece of content is miniature golf. You can choose from four different themed courses, and it’s a welcome addition to the formula. Mini golf offers a nice, laidback break from the more realistic game of golf, though there didn’t seem to be an option to play with Wii MotionPlus. Though the more archaic control approach matches the silly nature of miniature golf, it was still somewhat disappointing to lose that extra level of precision offered by the accessory.

Golf Party is basically Mario Party with golf-themed mini-games, and though it’s another nice diversion added to the package, it’s mostly the same old stuff from last year’s tour. Disc golf is still fun and one of the best arguments for owning a Wii MotionPlus, but again, there’s nothing really new here.

Lastly, PGA Tour 11’s online presentation is a complete dud. There are some inspired additions, such as daily and weekly tournaments, but after only a month of the game being out in the wild, the community was a ghost town. During my testing of the online options, the EA servers reported a whopping 26 people playing online, and the lack of a true lobby system means it will be virtually impossible to find a game, regardless of which mode you choose. There’s still no option to play Golf Party online, and even if you could find others to hook up with, the options and modes are slim pickings.

If last year’s game was mediocre in the visuals department, PGA Tour 11 is well below par. We’re all well aware of the graphical limitations of Wii, but this latest Tiger Woods calling card exhibits a total lack of effort and inspiration. The character models are unattractive and stiff, and the environmental textures are constantly shimmering. True View does little to help in that regard either, as a first-person view only serves to reveal the blockiness of the green. The game of golf isn’t intense or high energy, and subtle additions can go a long way. EA Sports, however, not only failed to go that extra mile, it seems they had no interest in even caddying this cart to the next hole.

The music fares a bit better, but only because of its very basic composition. The themes sound like stock, licensed tunes you might hear while riding an elevator or shopping in a department store; they also sound completely out of place with a day out on the green. The sounds are simple but fitting, and the announcers do a surprisingly fine job of keeping the gameplay interesting.

With all my criticisms of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, I still think it’s a very solid package. The main problem I have with the game, however, is that it’s so similar to last year’s package. Though it’s a matter of taste, I prefer the interface and gameplay systems of last year’s game. Many of the new features of PGA Tour 11 are nice, but they hardly justify a full retail product.

The game presents an acceptable framerate, and visually, it functions fine. PGA Tour 11 is otherwise completely unremarkable. 4.4 Control
The game still controls very well thanks to Wii MotionPlus, though some of the interface changes make lining up shots more challenging. MotionPlus with mini golf would have been nice. 3.1 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is generically pedestrian, though the announcers and sounds fit the gameplay nicely. 2.5

Play Value
PGA Tour 11 feels, in most respects, like a cut-and-paste of last year’s game, and personally I’d recommend PGA Tour 10 over this. The new additions are barely enough to justify an expansion pack.

3.4 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Take the Ryder Cup Challenge – Choose your team and play through the Ryder Cup tournament on the challenging Celtic Manor course. The Ryder Cup mode provides complete control of rosters, match ups, length of tournament, and the ability to tweak matches mid round for a personalized experience. Ryder Cup mode is for the whole family with foursomes, fourballs and singles.
  • Wii MotionPlus Enhanced – Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 takes the Wii MotionPlus swing mechanics up a notch with Advanced Plus and Tour Pro swing options. Advanced Plus not only tracks swing rotation, but now also tracks swing plane; reading the virtual path of your club. The Tour Pro option enhances the swing mechanic by measuring the point of contact on the ball, making it possible to miss the ball completely!
  • True View – Experience Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 from a whole new perspective with True View, a first-person vantage point. Now you have complete freedom of movement over the club while looking down at the ball, both before and during your swing.

  • To top