Tiger Woods has already
proven that he’s the best of the best but even the best of us hit that career
slump. Yet when it comes to video games, the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series
is at the top of its game and even more so now thanks to some refinements in all
the areas that make this a beloved franchise. Tiger Woods PGA Tour
2005 might not feel like a complete all-new experience, but it does make for
a far more complete package worthy of fans of the virtual green. So grab your
favorite iron and let’s take on the world’s best golfers.
First of all, nothing has
really changed since the 2004 game . . . a game that tweaked the controls just a
little bit to make things a little more comfortable. The lack of newly
redesigned gameplay features is very good news, though. Why ruin a good thing,
after all? What have changed, however, are the advanced features that made the
2004 such a much-loved game. The Game Face feature is back and so are many of
your favorite modes but now there’s a couple of new features that make 2005 the
year the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series struck gold.
You’ll be able to play
past favorites such as the Traditional Games mode filled with the same single or
multiplayer modes. SkillZone still has its collection of challenging and fun
mini-games such as Bully’s Eye and Battle Golf is a Match Play game that has
players battling for each hole (and the removal of the other’s golf clubs). My
Legend Pursuit has four different game modes and is the mode that will put your
true skills to a test by going up against top legends like Arnold Palmer and Ben
Hogan to name a few. There’s Legend Tour, Legend Scenarios, My Dream 18 (create
your own course using Tiger Proofing, but more on that later) and–the heart of
the game–PGA Tour Season. The PGA Tour Season puts your golfer through a
season of going against veterans in an attempt to dominate the leaderboard.
By far the coolest mode is
My Dream 18 that allows you to create your own course using an existing course
(like the Sherwood Country Club, for example) as a template. The new Tiger
Proofing features is a tool that lets you sculpt the environment to add and
change the layout of the course. You can create massive bunkers or modify the
fairway to your liking. It’s a great feature that just adds more replay value
to the game so old courses feel like new ones you can use in the various modes
available. As long as we’re on the subject of new features, Tiger Vision is
also new to the game and a welcome addition for those who need a little nudge
here and there during putting. Tiger Vision allows you to line up putts the way
Tiger would if he was coaching you. All you have to do is line up the targeting
marker on the spot indicated and go for it. Of course, you can only use this
feature a few times in a given round and you have a limited time to line up the
targeting marker. It’s a great feature so I hope we get to see more of Tiger
Vision next year.
Game Face II even sees
some additional features that make this–again–the best create-a-character
feature found in a game. You’ll be able to create characters that resemble you
in almost every possible way (except, of course, the hair . . . WWE Day of
Reckoning has it beat in that department). Still the new features could
also add lip-gloss, piercings, scars and even aging blemishes such as liver
spots. You’ll also be able to create a unique swing for your created character
so you can be as inventive as you want. The Pro Shop is filled with all new
goodies you’ll be able to purchase so there’s a bigger variety now.
I have to admit that I
love good eye candy even though the gameplay mechanic is more important to me
than dazzling graphics. Yet it’s hard to resist the charm of a GameCube game
that has gorgeous visuals and PGA Tour 2005 is one gorgeous-looking
game. The environments practically come to life and the characters are so
meticulously detailed that you’ll be amazed how Tiger looks like the real deal.
Even the swing animation is identical to his swing. It’s good stuff.
Imagine you’re out there
in the green, a putter in your hands and the sound of distant birds all around
you and the rustling of leaves as a breeze passes through the trees. This is
what this game sounds like and it’s just the way we like it. The commentary is
lively and even informative, although the “Well, what is he/she waiting for?”
comments might get annoying. As for the soundtrack, BT is the featured artist
and the music is filled with soothing techno beats and a hip-hop tune that
accompanies the game’s main menu. I kind of miss the collection of licensed
tunes of last year’s game but this isn’t bad at all either.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour
2005 is an addictively fun game of
golf that is certain to appeal to new and old fans alike. It doesn’t raise the
bar in terms of gameplay but with all its game modes and new features, you’ll
have a hard time finding a golf simulator that matches up to PGA Tour 2005.
If you don’t own a Tiger Woods game, this is the one to have. If you’re a
returning gamer, all the extras are worth the money.
Control-wise, nothing has changed
but this falls under the If-it-ain‘t-broke-why-fix-it? category. Even on the
GameCube the controls allow plenty of freedom to swing the way you think is
best. If you can’t trust your own judgment, the new Tiger Vision feature allows
you to line up the putt marker the way Tiger would if he was in your place.
There’s some clipping but it’s not
excessive. Who cares, though? This is a gorgeous-looking game with beautifully
rendered characters with detailed facial features and expressions. The
backgrounds are even more attractive this year.
There’s some great techno and hip
hop music playing during the menu selection screen but once you’re on the green
you’ll hear the sounds of the great outdoors and the cheering fans that either
applaud or react to mishaps. The commentary is back and it’s still good.
Think you have what it takes to take
on Tiger Woods or legends Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer? Think again, these
masters of the fairway put on quite a show and–thanks to smart AI–they do
offer quite a challenge. It’s a good thing, though, that as you can upgrade
your golfer’s stats RPG-style.
If the wide assortment of
addictively fun game modes wasn’t enough, the Game Face II and Tiger Proofing
features just makes this a complete package. You can now design a character
that looks eerily more like you now that the extra facial details were added.
Tiger Proofing lets you be as creative as you want and sculpt your dream
course. And I can’t think of anything funnier than having my “Brittany Spears”
created character beat the pants off unlockable character Justin Timberlake.
Now who’s “crying a river?”
Even with the lack of online
connectivity, PGA Tour 2005 is a multiplayer fantasy come true. Up to
four players simultaneously on a golf course you yourself have Tiger Proofed
using golfers you and your friends create? Sign me up!
It’s hard to imagine something so
good get even better but EA Sports has done it again. Tiger Woods PGA Tour
2005 continues to be at the top of its game and even more so now with this
year’s amazing title. If you’re new to the series, this one is the perfect
introduction and a great title to have among your GameCube library.