As cliched as it may be, it’s still surprising that as much as things change, they stay the same. At this time last year, hardcore Tiger Woods PGA Tour fans were bemoaning the lack of features, courses and overall options in the Xbox 360 version. Fast-forward to this year, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 on Xbox 360 is on par with the other available SKUs. The graphics are of course improved, and EA implemented some new features for this version, which is nothing short of impressive. However, if you’re a course junkie or want to take part in the Team Tour mode, you’d better prepare for disappointment yet again.
Some will argue that Tiger is Tiger, no matter the SKU. For once, that’s actually not the case. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 on Xbox 360 has two new elements that change the way you hit the digital links. The first is called True Aiming, which makes players’ aiming circle (rather than a simple aiming flag) reduce in size as their skills improve and they gain more control over their shot. This makes you think more strategically about which club you’ll use for any given shot, because the club that makes the most sense might also have a larger aiming circle, which increases the chances of you not hitting the ball where you intended. The second new feature is the addition of mini games and training challenges, which add some skill-based fun while ironically pointing out the one feature that Tiger still hasn’t gotten right: the “skill curve.”
The Tour mode in Tiger Woods 07 follows the same model as the real-life FedEx Cup, complete with points, rankings and the subsequent championship at the end of the season. From a realism standpoint this is nice, as it makes the Tour feel a bit more “legit,” but it can be frustrating to see just how bad your custom-created player is when you first hit the course. We’ve all experienced the pain of being a digital rookie on the Tour, and with the new True Aiming mechanic, your player’s initial lack of skill is even more apparent (and frustrating). Playing the mini games and taking part in the challenges increases your attributes, but you almost need to play them in order to make the Tour bearable. In that regard, the additions seem more like crutches to compensate for the skill curve than they do actual “fun factor” additions.
It’s also odd to see the Team Tour mode missing from the Xbox 360 version (read our current-gen review for more information). EA probably nixed it in favor of the strikingly similar Tiger Challenge Mode, which involves a series of one-on-one (rather than team-based) challenges where Tiger (not his team) awaits at the top of the ladder. Considering how alike the modes are, though, the omission is quite curious. You’d think it would’ve been easier to port the Team mode over to the next-gen graphics than it was to engineer an entirely different Xbox 360 mode and content. Plus, the course junkies out there would probably argue that if porting the mode bought the development team some time, they might have been able to include more than the small-in-number but gorgeous-in-appearance dozen courses.
So again, as much as things change, they stay the same. The new True Aim mechanic and mini games are great additions for the Xbox 360 version of Tiger Woods 07, but the frustrating ineptitude of just-created golfers is still there, as is last year’s lack of courses. If you don’t mind that curve and find yourself sticking to just a couple courses, though, the Xbox 360 version is probably the best SKU this year of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07.
- Overall: 7.9
- The additions are conceptually great, but only True Aiming offers much innovation. Still the best version out there, though, if you don’t mind a reduced number of courses.
— Jonas Allen