Alex reviews EA Sports Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11

Post by Alex Lamoureux in

1 comment

Tiger's back in the game thanks to EA Sports

Golf, they say, is a good walk spoiled. When you remove walking from the equation, what do you have? A golf video game, and it should hopefully be a good one. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 is a good representation of the golf experience, with a solid share of dramatic putts, frustrating sandtraps, and tournament-losing meltdowns. It's an annual installment in a series, so it's most worthwhile to discuss what's new and what isn't.

First, to those new to the series, allow me to explain the gameplay. The player's invisible caddy automatically recommends a club and aiming point, and a circle on the course indicates where the ball will hopefully go. This invisible caddy has a tendency to be an idiot, however, and players may have to overrule his decisions. To swing, players move the joystick or Wiimote in a motion roughly approximating a golf swing. A straight, true, and well-timed swing will send the ball towards the aiming point, provided the ball is unobstructed. It takes skill to hit the ball straight, but it's much easier than perfecting a real golf swing.

Once hit, the camera follows the ball as it sails through the air to its target. A new feature called True Aim gives players the option of keeping the camera at their virtual golfer's eyes. This increases the feel of an authentic golf experience; specifically, the experience of squinting at a distance white dot and trying to see where it lands. This realistic new feature provides a new way to play the game, though EA Sports has yet to add a golf cart simulator to the Tiger Woods series.

Another major new feature is the Ryder Cup. This is a prestigious biennial golfing competition between Europe and the United States. Ryder Cup mode lets you choose a side and play the entire cup; however, relying on AI teammates can be rather unpleasant. The golfing AI in this game doesn't seem to understand the physics of where the ball will travel, nor does it recognize patterns. When you watch the computer players golf, they will sometimes hit the ball repeatedly into trees or lakes. Luckily, this behaviour is rare, and can be corrected by leaving the match – though this isn't easy at the end of a long game. Team-based tournaments can also be played online with human participants, if you manage to find enough players.The new features are interesting, though nonessential additions, but there is one notable exclusion. Banff Springs, the only Canadian golf course in the series, is not available on the Xbox 360 version. PS3 users can still buy the course, and it was never available to Wii users, but 360 players will have to play Banff Springs in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10.

The choice between a current or older Tiger Woods PGA Tour game is the real question for someone looking for a golfing video game. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 only gives marginal improvements to the impressive graphics of the series. Those who want to play the Ryder Cup, or watch their shots from the perspective of a golfer rather than a spectator, should get the latest iteration in the franchise. Less dedicated players would enjoy an older game in the series just as much, and could simply choose a recent Tiger Woods game with the lowest price.

Rating: 8/10

The Good:

  • Smooth controls, as always
  • Videos of other players' best shots
  • Beautiful graphics and landscapes
  • Deep character customization
  • New features: Ryder Cup, 24-player mode, True Aim

The Bad:

  • Similar to older games in the franchise
  • Banff Springs missing in some versions
  • AI is very stupid all around

- post by Alex Lamoureux

1 Comment

I hope the new game has better spin on the ball as tiger 2010 had virtually no back spin on shots unless severely downhill.

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