The sport of golf generally translates pretty well into a video-game. While the sport isn’t represented in droves, with only Everybody’s Golf and Tiger Woods being the major franchises, the gaming public know that playing a game of golf on a screen with a virtual character is far less frustrating than a game of golf in real-life and maybe even more stimulating. Golf games are developed (most of the time) with accessibility in mind, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 on Playstation 3 and XBOX 360 is no exception to this.
Tiger 09 doesn’t offer anything new to the franchise in terms of modes, but there are some noteworthy tweaks. There’s also the same old, accessible and solid style of gameplay that has made the Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise one of the most successful sport-game franchises over the years.
When the game is first booted up, Tiger Wood’s own real-life coach, Hank Haney, will greet you. It’s done in the same vein as John Madden in Madden 09, but with far less worth. Firstly, Haney’s voice-acting is terrible and on occasions he offers some really bad advice. Even if you don’t know much about golf, you’ll notice that his advice is sometimes inconsistent with what you’ve actually done. However, he’ll often notice some bad shots you’ve made and correct you, pointing out some ways you can improve the next time you’re in a similar situation. Like in Madden 09, Haney grades you and gives you a rating before you’re set off to take on career mode.
The inclusion of Haney can be applauded because it allows you to connect with the game on a far more personal level. While its execution isn’t quite as good as it could have been, it highlights areas you can improve in. Furthermore, it allows you to set a standard of play in the game based on your skill, much like how the Madden IQ system was used in Madden 09.
Player creation is back again with no noticeable changes. It’s deep and accessible and is definitely one of the better player creators available to gamers in a sport game. There’s attribute-boosting apparel, which is available in The Pro Shop, which also offers the same large number of appearance changing options for your player. The term “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies here, as the whole creation aspect of this title is just as good as it has been in previous years and there are no areas that really need improvement.
If you’re expecting an all-new package with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09’s game modes, you’re probably going to be disappointed. There isn’t all that much different in this year’s version from Tiger 08, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Last years game was very solid and deep, with great modes, gameplay and visuals. It’s the same old this time round, and major aspects of the game are still present and great.
Firstly, the Tiger Challenge mode is back on offer with ten golfers, each of which offer nine challenges and a playoff, as well as the very tough match-up against the legend himself, Tiger Woods. The challenges aren’t that difficult but they give you a good insight into how the game rates your skill based on performance. You’ll notice your attributes changing depending on your play and it gives you incentive to continue.
When it comes to your attributes, you no longer make changes to them using points gained through gameplay as it was in Tiger 08. Instead, the game changes your style and skill based on your performances. While it’s important to maintain a consistent level of playing style, it’s also integral to your player’s success that you focus on areas that are falling behind. For example, if your short game is better than your long game, slowly work your slow game up near the level of your long game. The last thing you want is a player with exceptional skills in one area, and then terrible skills in another. When it comes to playing the pros and you’re in a situation like that, you’ll get fed to the shark (pun intended).
One of the major additions to the gameplay is the inclusion of the wonderful feedback meter, which judges your swing and lets you see where you’ve gone wrong. It gives you an accurate analysis of your swing and follow-through, so if you’ve hit a bad ball, you’ll be able to see what it is exactly that caused the ball to swing.
Heading online in Tiger 09 adds a whole new level of enjoyment to the gameplay, with a simultaneous play that decreases the playing time of a match of four people very considerably from last year. Matches play far more fluidly and with more excitement and they don’t last 3+ hours like in previous years.
On the presentation front, the environments look great and vibrant with no noticeable graphical glitches. The character design is a little off with only Tiger Woods looking worthy of a prize. It looks like Tiger 08 but with slight improvements in textures and color.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 is a solid golf title that continues on the consistent style of gameplay for the series. The game modes all make a triumphant return from previous years, with a few extra great features like the feedback meter and improved online play.
Accessible gameplay, even for those unfamiliar with the sport. Plenty of length and fun modes and an improved online mode.
Nice environments but lacking character design.
The commentary team of Kelly Tillman and Sam Torrance throw off the presentation of the game and Tiger Woods coach Hank Haney needs major voice-acting lessons. The sound effects are good and the soundtrack is decent.
There’s plenty to do in this game, with enjoyable single-player modes, great online and a lengthy career mode.
This title gets everything that Tiger 08 did and adds a little extra spice and flavour to it with great success.