It seems eerily appropriate that we are just one week removed from Tiger Woods winning his first PGA tournament in almost three years, seemingly signaling a return to form for who many golf enthusiasts consider the greatest golfer of all time. The Tiger Woods PGA Tour series appears to be paralleling the golfers career stroke for stroke, after a few years of lackluster installments full of meaningless additions, everyone’s favorite golf simulator appears to be back on track and is boasting quite a few new features as well.
We’ll begin things with what is the most significant new addition to the golf franchise, the ‘Total Swing Control.’ For Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13, EA Tiburon completely scrapped the swing mechanic system in previous PGA Tours and installed a new control system they have dubbed the ‘Total Swing Control.’ The Total Swing Control is nothing short of a revolution in the Golf gaming world taking into account the smallest details when it comes to how you swing your club in game. EA Tiburon has incorporated tempo and speed of the swing into you shots this year, meaning that if you are trying to add a little more emphasis onto your swing to get those extra few yards down the fairway, the player can pause their swing at the height of their motion for a split second and drop down their club as fast as they can to smash the ball for a monstrous drive. The same goes performing shorter chips as well, if you just haul back and blast your shot, you are easily going to launch your ball clear over the green and into the crowd(something I learned the hard way.) The tempo of your shot also plays a huge part in the accuracy of your shot, trying to pull back you club and swing all the way through all in one motion will give you a much better chance to put the ball exactly where you want it. EA Tiburon has also overhauled the shot set up system with more emphasis being placed on everything from your stance over the ball to how and where you strike the actual physical ball. If you find yourself knee high in sand, then you might consider lowering the aiming marker to the lower half of the ball in order to dig it out of the evil sandtraps and get your round back on track. This feature will especially appeal to actual golfers who know how and where to correctly strike in order to achieve a perfect shot. While all of these new additions are great, they do come with a bit of a learning curve. If you are a veteran of the PGA Tour series, you will have the basics down already and will be able to ease into the new control scheme for the most part. However, if you are completely new to the series, these new controls are going to take some getting used to. This year is not like previous years where you can simply ‘grip it and rip it.’ It involves an extreme amount of precision and accuracy that might be a little too troublesome for casual gamers simply looking for a quick golf fix.
This is also the first year that EA has integrated full Kinect controls into Tiger Woods PGA Tour, but unfortunately for them the initial set is a bit forgettable. I had the biggest problem with the backswing simply not registering and every single shot would leave my club at an alarming speed. Considering the new control system which puts a precedence on being accurate with things like tempo and speed, it would have been nice to have seen the Kinect controls a bit more accurate. Hopefully Tiburon takes note of these problems and improves on them in next year’s build.
One of the more interesting features of Tiger 13 is the newly introduced Tiger Legacy Challenge Mode. In this mode, the player relives all of the the important moments in Tiger Woods’ storied golfing career. Starting you out on the Mike Douglas show as 2 year old Tiger all the way into the future to help him eventually reach his ultimate goal of breaking Jack Nicklaus’ record for most major wins. You control Tiger Woods at a number of different ages throughout his life all the way from toddler to ‘elder’ Tiger, each of which can eventually become playable in the ‘Play Now’ mode if you complete the corresponding objectives to do so. While this mode may seem gimmicky to some, it was a nice change of pace from the normal flow of things as you attempt to chip golf balls into the swimming pool of toddler Tiger’s backyard.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 features 16 on disc courses, 23 if you purchase the Masters Collector’s Edition and 15 more are available for download as DLC. Even if you don’t wan”t to purchase the extra online DLC courses outright, you may still play on them simply by playing the game to it’s fullest extent. As you play through the game in any of the game modes you will earn coins that allow you to go online and purchase rounds at the DLC courses as well as ‘Boost Pins,’ which give you round bonuses to help improve gameplay in a number of ways. Each course also has something that is referred to in the game as ‘Course Mastery’. With this Mastery, the gamer can play through and complete a list of different objectives that can eventually lead to the player being able to get the designated course for free simply by completing the list. I like the idea of being able to get these DLC courses without having to actually pay for them, this system is a fair trade off for fans and EA. If you play their game online enough, they will reward you with free stuff, kudos to Tiburon for that idea.
All in all, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 is still the premiere golf simulator on the market. EA has implemented a great new swing control system that is sure to have fans of the series coming back again and again to master the swing mechanic. With new additions like ‘Tiger Legacy Mode’ and what I am dubbing the ‘Play to Play’ financial system Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 is a major step in the right direction. So you can grab your controls(or Kinect if you dare) and hit the links with confidence that Tiger 13 will provide you with endless hours of golf goodness.Pros :
- Excellent new swing system
- Tiger Legacy Mode is a nice touch
- Online Country Club is a great idea
- Swing system has a steep learning curve
- Swing and a miss on the Kinect controls