While the man himself has been a firestorm of controversy this year considering his personal issues and less-than-stellar performance on the golf course, you cannot deny that Tiger Woods is one of the most well-known and dominant people in the history of the sport. Additionally, EA’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise has also been recognizable for gamers, due its constant presence in gaming for many years now; second only to Madden NFL in terms of sales success in the US.
Last year marked a big change for the Wii iteration of the Tiger Woods golf franchise, as it allowed gamers to use Nintendo’s Wii MotionPlus peripheral. It allowed for unprecedented shooting accuracy over rival golfing titles, and helped cement the game as one of the best golfing titles you could buy on any system.
This year’s iteration doesn’t reinvent the wheel, playing mostly the same as its ‘10 counterpart. The graphical presentation is largely the same as it was last year and new additions — which include a new first-person view for swinging, the Ryder Cup, and mini-golf — are few and are not terribly groundbreaking. EA did make refinements to the controls, making the swinging even more responsive and intuitive than ever. That said, this is still a fine improvement, and one of the best games of golf you’ll find.
As the level of realism is higher now than it has ever been, the gameplay is also a lot more difficult. As the Wii MotionPlus attachment will pick up on every twist of your wrist or slight movement in your swing, and just as in real golf, it will have effects on where the ball ends up on the course. It can be very tough at first to find your groove when playing the game, but practice makes perfect.
The Wii version of the game also introduces two new control modes, Advance Plus and Tour Pro. Advance Plus tracks your swing direction and whether or not your wrist is twisted. The Tour Pro mode is for the hardest of the hardcore, and is as accurate as it gets, picking up on all of your movements and acting as though you are holding a real club with a ball in front of you. Tour Pro mode certainly isn’t for everyone, especially not those who are experienced at actual golf. However, it is definitely a good way to see how far video games have come in representing a true-to-life interpretation of the sport.
One of the biggest new additions to the game is the new Ryder Cup tournament. This allows players to select a teammate from either the US or Europe, and play it out in a tournament to see who’s got the better rosters of golfers. This is definitely more geared towards golf fanatics, especially since many casual fans will be at a loss when it comes to even knowing what the Ryder Cup is.
Another big feature in the game is the inclusion of mini-golf, which joins the roster of mini-games that includes disc golf, TIGER (a variation of HORSE), and several others. Unfortunately, mini-golf isn’t as entertaining as it could’ve been, with fairly bland courses offered.
Graphically, the game is halfway decent, but nowhere near better than last year’s game. The character models are well animated and the courses look good, but this is nothing you haven’t seen before. The game’s soundtrack has generic tunes, lacking any licensed tracks and only featuring bland themes that have no flare. At least the commentary is solid.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 is a fine addition to the series. While the additions here are marginal, the actual mechanics of the game still benefit greatly from the Wii MotionPlus attachment, making for the best golfing game you’re likely to find this year.