2 owners, this has been a year focused on God of War II and RPGs. That lineup is
quickly expanding with mainstream games like Buzz! The Mega Quiz that are aimed
at getting Grandma to pick up a PS2. Among the highlights are the expected
sports updates, some of which are turning out better than the 05, 06, and 07
Tiger Woods 08,
the zillionth golf game for PS2, comes to Sony’s 44-million-selling machine with
nearly everything you loved about last year’s game. And nearly everything
you loved about the version before that. Those who were expecting an overhaul
have come to the wrong place. That will have to wait for a next-gen version
sometime in the future. But if you like tweaks and can’t wait to take on another
Tiger Challenge, stick around – Tiger Woods 08 has all that and a bag of golf
have never touched a Tiger Woods game before may be cool with purchasing a
sequel that doesn’t offer any new content. The rest of us, however, would feel
like a ball that’s mistakenly hit the water – cold, abandoned, and hoping that
egg-eating fish don’t mistake us for dinner. To prevent our plight, EA has
included a new meter that measures each player’s confidence, which can increase
or decrease the difficulty of any given shot. Skills (attributes), the risk
level of the shot, and the past success (or lack thereof) with each shot and
hole determines your overall confidence rating. It’s a mishmash of elements that
can only be heightened by playing skillfully.
That’s not to
say you can’t screw up. You can and well – this is golf, the hardest turn-based
sport on the planet, remember? But you’ll worry more about your performance
knowing that it could negatively impact your success down the road. This is
quite different from the usual sports game mindset where skills/attributes
are typically the only things that matter. But in Tiger Woods 08, they are just
one of four elements involved.
If you suck
all the time, don’t fret – the game isn’t going to pound on players too
harshly. There’s always a chance to come back. The best way to play is to get to
know the controls, the courses, different wind types (which are never the same
twice in a row), and how each of these could hinder your progress. I’ve won by
default when opponents hit a water hazard that allowed me to score higher,
and I’ve won by luck from a birdie that was never expected to go in. But my
highest and most consistent scores came after I planned each shot according to
In Your Hand
Putting can be
your best friend or your worst nightmare. It can help you make par when only a
bogey seemed possible, or cause you to exceed the shot limit.
Tiger Woods 08
takes off some of the pressure with a new trial-and-error feature called Putt
Preview. With it, players can test a few shots (as many as you like until the
time runs out) before making an official attempt. Press X to bring up the Putt
Preview meter, which immediately starts counting down. Your time carries over
from hole to hole, so don’t spend too much time experimenting. In most cases, I
was able to land the shot within a couple of tries. If I couldn’t get it that
quickly, it typically wasn’t possible for me to make the shot from my position.
A more skilled player may have been able to pull it off. But with varying
factors affecting every shot (wind, steepness, etc.), even the best players are
likely to mess up.
“The more they
stay the same.” Nope, not here. The controls, camera angles, replays, and game
presentation are virtually unchanged from last year’s game. Tiger Woods 08’s
character models look like they were taken from a previous iteration (all things
considered, they probably were). There was once a time when the graphics were
thought of as being amazingly realistic, but the PS3 and Xbox 360 editions
pretty much squash that thought.
mini-game modes are unchanged. The season mode is new for the year but is the
same in concept and execution. You’ll get something different out of the Tiger
Challenge, whose lineup is different from the last game but contains many of the
same challenge types.
amounts to is a game that isn’t significantly different from Tiger Woods 07. I
know there are many gamers out there who don’t yet have a next-gen console, but
if you want the best Tiger Woods experience, don’t settle for anything less –
even if that means waiting to play it.
The Putt Preview is
great – even better than the scaled-down preview in the PS3 version. The
Confidence Meter is another worthwhile addition, but neither makes Tiger Woods
08 so special and unique that you should rush out and buy the game ASAP.
With no new
graphical enhancements to speak of (and some weird camera angles that detract
from the game), the PS2 Tiger Woods games are really starting to show their age.
Tiger Woods 08’s
commentary is actually worse on the PS3 version than it is on PS2. Either that
or my ears had been experiencing a recession after playing the PS3 version,
causing the PS2 version to seem less annoying. The dance music, however, is
still inappropriate for this kind of a game.
The game isn’t as
challenging – or feel as big or realistic – as its next-gen sibling.
With fewer additions
than its next-gen counterparts, Tiger Woods 08 feels less fresh on PS2. It does,
however, have a superior Putt Preview mode.
Pretty much the same
as Tiger Woods 07.
Given that the
Confidence Meter is a conceptual element (you can’t actually touch the meter),
the only physical gameplay difference is the Putt Preview. But unless you don’t
have the other Tiger Woods games or must own every single update, the Putt
Preview is not enough to warrant a purchase. This is still a good game. But it’s
one we’ve been playing for the past several years.