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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 Xbox 360 review

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Posted by: Steven Hopper

Gamezone Review Rating 8.0 Great

You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger name in sports video games than Tiger Woods. Even though he’s been quite the controversial figure recently, the man is a superstar and an instantly recognizable name in the world of golf and otherwise. Additionally, the PGA Tour franchise is definitely a huge exploit and a force to be reckoned with in gaming, selling huge numbers every year and standing as the golf franchise to beat across any number of systems. Now, the franchise is launching its most recent iteration as Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 is now available on store shelves for the Xbox 360.

With the focus shifting to motion controls across all systems with Kinect and Move launching this fall on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 respectively, golf seems like the easiest sports franchise to make the transition. This has happened already on the Wii, where the Tiger Woods series has benefited extremely both this year and last by supporting Wii Motionplus to very great reception. However, at least insofar as the Xbox 360 version, the team at EA Tiburon is sticking to their guns and polishing the traditional controller-based method. While the game is definitely an improvement over last year’s game with the subtle refinements made to the control scheme, it is still merely a step towards bigger changes in the near future.

The controls have gotten the most attention this time around, with the team at EA Tiburon introducing two new mechanics, True-Aim and Focus. Each of these features helps add a sense of challenge and realism to the gameplay without making the game unapproachable for newcomers.

True-Aim adds a bit more sense of realism when it comes to lining up your shot, taking away all of the added camera angles and simply putting you with an over-the-shoulder angle from the time you line up your shot to its landing. When using True-Aim, you don’t see the ball in mid-air, therefore having very little to help you gauge where your shot ended up until it lands. This is a fine addition for golf purists, who would rather experience the game as close to realistically as they can without added bonuses.

Focus serves to limit how much of the extra features you’re able to use, like putting spin on the ball when it’s in mid-air or make your target on the green a little bit smaller. Doing each of these will use a bit of your focus, and using it up prevents you from using them, making your subsequent shots a little bit tougher to pull off. You have to be very judicious when you use your Focus abilities, adding a nice element to the challenge and level of strategy in the game.

Aside from the improved control elements, there are new modes added to the mix, namely the Ryder Cup mode. This is the big push for this year’s entry, putting players in a tournament between a US team and a Europe one, as they play through a variety of matches in order to determine who the best is. You’ll play through several different match types, including Foursomes (each teammate take an alternating shot), Fourballs (where the teammate with the lowest score on the hole is the winner), and Singles. The Ryder Cup is a nice addition to the franchise, standing as a well-respected competition that true fans of the sport will appreciate.

However, aside from the inclusion of the Ryder Cup, there are not many new additions to speak of, nor much innovation to be found in this entry to the franchise. The controls have been spruced up a little and have more of a focus on realistic play, but the level of realism (and overall fun) is still dwarfed by the Wii iteration of the franchise, which benefits from Wii Motionplus support.

Tiger Woods 11 feels much more like a transitional entry to the franchise overall, and it’s hard to imagine that the 2012 iteration of the series won’t shift the focus to motion sensing devices like Kinect. As a matter of fact, the PS3 version of Tiger Woods 11 supports Move right out of the box, allowing you to utilize the device in game when it launches this fall. However, while the refinements made in this version are certainly appreciated and do a lot to make the experience fun and more engaging than years prior, I can’t help but shake the feeling that the real innovation and gameplay changes are a year away.

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