It seems like yesterday that EA released Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 for the Nintendo Wii. The Wii functionality seemed tacked on in order to quickly get the game out before year’s end and it showed. With the release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 we expected everything that was wrong with the previous installment to be addresed; unfortunately, aside from slightly improved controls and a confidence system, there really isn’t much more to be found in this outing.
The menu system is difficult to maneuver through unless you click on the octagon shaped menu boxes. We wondered why they just didn’t link the entire text, especially when you’re operating the Wiimote and you want to quickly navigate through the menus. This is a minor annoyance that is easily looked over, but a strange oversight. Before you can begin customizing your character or decided if you want to play the Tiger Challenge or PGA Tour, you’re forced to learn the game’s controls through a tutorial. This is actually a good thing because the added slice and hook controls require a bit a patience to master.
The basic stroke is how you’d expect: From a standing position the player points the Wiimote straight down while holding the B button. Complete a full swing to hit a straight power shot. A nice addition to the controls is the ability to hook and slice by simply tilting the Wiimote slightly to the left or right before you begin your stroke. This added feature mimicked turning the clubface, but we found the ball tended to hook even if we didn’t mean it to. Players that don’t like the idea of standing for 18 holes can change the settings to the “seated controls” where the player can simply flick the Wiimote to send the ball down the fairway. This is nice if you want to casually play through the game, but it was difficult to really get a sense of power and accuracy. The green is mapped with a color grid system with arrows moving in the direction of the slope. Unfortunately, it was hard to really gauge the greens because of this. It would have been nice to see the greens look similar to Wii Sports Golf where you can clearly see the slopes with the crosscut grass.
The “Player Confidence” system is probably the most interesting new feature added this year. Basically, the game keeps a record of how you perform your swing and tallies them accordingly to your created-player stats. For example, if you have a problem hooking all of your shots (believe us you will), you’ll see it reflected in your stats. This is further emphasized with the rumble feature and a heartbeat sound effect letting you know that you’re about to face your weakness. Overcome your weakness and you’re greeted to excited fan fair and notable mention from the game’s announcers.
An annoying addition to the game is the taunt system in multiplayer that allows you to add audio distractions while your opponent swings. The system is a bit juvenile, especially since this is supposed to be a “pro” sim, but we have to admit there is a bit of fun to be had messing with your opponent in multiplayer. Unfortunately, the fun can’t be shared online since once again there are no online party modes in 08.
Graphically there isn’t a lot of change over the previous Tiger Woods games. The game looks very outdated, but the five month turnaround from 07 probably didn’t help matters. The courses look on par with previous installments, but it would have been nice to see more variety in the environments, especially, outside of the fairway.
The audio is nothing to write home about, either. The announcers chime in occasionally with cynical remarks about your gameplay, but it doesn’t come across naturally and feels a bit forced. The crowd seems pretty formulaic as well with a lot of redundant chatter or clapping. I guess with a name like Tiger Woods attached to the title you’d expect a lot higher production value.
Tiger Woods 08, for all intents and purpose, should be a console seller for the Wii. The idea of the Wiimote acting like a golf club should, in theory, be a match made in heaven; for some reason EA has delivered a title that fails in every key area: No online support, spotty controls, and outdated graphics. If you already own Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 then you might want to wait for next year.
- Score: 6.8
- Not enough features or updates stand out to warrant this quickly released update to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07. Outdated graphics, spotty controls, and lack of online support hinder an otherwise solid golf sim.
— Jason Thomas