I hate golf. It’s so slow and boring. Growing up, I’d wake up every Saturday morning to watch cartoons. Once I got myself settled in, what did I see when I turn on the TV and changed it to the channel that was showing cartoons? A golf tournament. Now movies like CaddyShack and Happy Gilmore might have made golf funny, but that still didn’t change my hate of golf. Like nearly every other sport, video game adaptations have been made.
From Golf on the NES to Golden Tee in the arcades, I avoided golf games like the plague. Even when pros like Tiger Woods started to emerge and get their own games, I made it a point to avoid them. That was until I was assigned to review the latest golf game, Tiger Woods PGA 12: The Masters. I know what you’re thinking: Mike’s blind hate for golf will lead him to bash the game like Tiger’s wife did to his SUV.
HOLE IN ONE
Road to the Masters - With past PGA games, the career mode wasn’t much of an experience. You would take either a pro golfer or a custom created one and play a season tour. With PGA 12, career mode is now Road to the Masters. Unlike past career modes, Road to the Masters focuses all on an amateur golfer rising up the ranks to eventually make it to the Masters tournament at Augusta. But not just any golfer, PGA 12 lets you put yourself into the game by either sending your picture to EA or using the PS Eye to capture your face and map it to the golfer. This isn’t something new, as this feature has been around for years, but never has it been so detailed.
Level Up Golfer/Clubs - In Road to the Masters, players will be able to customize their golfer’s attributes through an XP system. Winning or placing in different tournaments will catch the eye of sponsors that will open up additional clubs, clothing and other items to be used to customize your golfer in addition to XP. This XP is then used to fine tune your golfer’s swing, the clubs he uses, their stance and other aspects of their game.
15 Highly Detailed Golf Courses - This iteration of the series is by far the best looking. EA Tiburon (the devs behind the Madden series) used state of the art scanning technology to recreate the golf courses in very high detail, including our very own TPC San Antonio. The courses featured include some of the most exclusive clubs in the world and it’s great that EA Tiburon is giving fans of the sport a chance to see and experience the different courses virtually.
Caddie - A new feature in PGA 12, your caddie is more than just that guy who drags your golf bag around all day. Caddies now assist your golfer in determining the perfect shot for the situation, helping set up the shot by giving you a suggested club and advice on how to hit the ball just right. PlayStation Move works- To make the golfing experience a bit more authentic, EA Tiburon implemented the PS Move. The tracking and the motions were all well captured and registered precisely. The only problem that I had was that I have no coordination whatsoever. Nevertheless, the Move is a natural fit for the game.
Improved Controls - For those not wanting to use Move, PGA 12 introduces for the first time in the series the total control stick option. As seen in many EA games such as Fight Night, Skate, MMA, and Madden, total control brings a new level of accuracy and player control to their swings. For those wanting a more traditional videogame setup, the 3-click swing is also present as an option.
High Replay Value - In additions to Road to the Masters, there are other modes ranging from a round of golf to mini-games. The most notable modes are the Tiger at the Masters, which relives all of Tigers’ four wins and challenges players to try to beat his score. Master Moments, allow players to play though some of the most memorable and historic moments in Masters’ history. Online multiplayer gets a boost from past games as well, with 16 player tournaments, live stat tracking/ranking, the President’s Cup, daily challenges and other features too numerous to mention.
Online Pass - My one and only constant complaint is the implementation of an "online pass" that many games have been using. What really bugs me is that most games will either give you a small taste of online play or a free trial pass, which isn’t bad, but to have a game cut off the experience completely until you buy a pass is ridiculous. Tiger Woods is another game that falls into this cycle. In order to experience all that online play has to offer, a pass is needed, which is not a problem for those who buy the game new, but for those who want to rent it before buying it will have to pay $14 just to get an online pass to a game they might not end up buying.
I know a good solid game when I see one. Just because I don’t like a sport that the game is simulating, doesn’t mean I will judge it unfairly. Tiger Woods PGA 12: The Masters is a great game for fans of golf and for the series in general. It’s loaded up with extra features, a deep career mode, has high replay value and includes some of the most iconic and historic golf courses that most fans can only dream of playing. The only problem I have is with the online pass issue, the game plays great, the courses are beautifully rendered, and the overall experience is great. I still hate golf, but that’s just my personal preference. If you are a big fan of golf or the Tiger Woods/PGA series, then buy the game.