My first impressions write up for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 is going to be quite slim. Last night I ended up getting home late, and didn’t have a lot of time to truly dive head-on into the golf sim. I did get to play for a couple of hours though, and thought I’d share some of my thoughts about the game thus far.
I was able to get in a round of frisbee golf with the fam. Then I started up career mode and played through 12 holes of my first tournament. After both experiences, I can say that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 is the best true golf simulation I’ve ever played.
What you’re probably most curious about is if the Wii Remote MotionPlus adds enough to the experience to warrant a purchase. I can say without hesitation that MotionPlus has provided the Tiger Woods series the biggest step forward that the game has received since create-a-golfer. Nintendo definitely wasn’t lying when they said that Wii Remote MotionPlus gave the ability to provide 1:1 motion controls.
If you truly want to test the capabilities of MotionPlus, then the first thing you’ll want to boot up is frisbee golf — or Frolf for you Seinfeld fans.
The basics of the game are simple. The Wii Remote acts as your hand. You simply point at the frisbee on screen, press the ‘B’ button and the disc is in your hand — almost literally. Once you start moving the Wii Remote around is when you’ll start seeing the subtle awesomeness of MotionPlus. The movement recognition that the game is able to detect is unparalleled on the Wii. Even a slight turn of the Wii Remote is met with the exact same motion on screen. When you’re ready to throw, just pull your arm back and follow through like you regularly would throwing a frisbee. Let go of the ‘B’ button at the trajectory you want the frisbee to fly in, and voila the game reacts accordingly.
The entire act from beginning to end; picking up the frisbee, moving it around, and throwing it feels so natural. I can honestly say it’s the most fluid motion control I’ve ever seen on the Nintendo Wii.
Ok, so Frolf might be fun for a bit but how about actual golf itself?
When you first load up the game, you’ll be given an opportunity to customize your controls. I decided to use the advanced control option for ball striking, and the new precision putting for my short game. I haven’t tried the other controls so I can’t speak for them unfortunately. However, if you decide on the configuration I chose then prepare for two things: A very realistic golf simulation, and a heavy amount of frustration.
If you play golf in real life, then you know the frustration of which I speak. You’ll have unwanted draws and fades pop up when your swing is off. Something that I learned while playing is that you’ll actually hit the ball better when you keep your head down. I’m pretty sure I’ve never had to rely on that in a video game before. The game also does a great job of picking up exactly where you’re at in a swing. So, as you take a shot the amount of backswing you provide feels more natural and you don’t have to rely as much on looking at your avatar as a marker. In previous Tiger Woods Wii iterations, watching the player on screen was a must in terms of judging how much power you wanted in your swing. Not so with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10.
Along with the control of power, draws and fades have been improved. With MotionPlus, there’s a greater amount of precision when trying to apply a small or large amount of draw/fade to a shot. In my 12 rounds of golf, I’ve already noticed 6 various degrees of draw/fade which I think is triple compared to past games.
What’s been improved even more than ball striking, is the putting. EA has included a brand spanking new short game called ‘Precision Putting’. I haven’t tried the other putting mode, but I can say with a good amount of confidence that it probably isn’t more responsive than precision putting. The way it works is that a meter sits in the bottom left corner of your screen whenever you putt. As you take a backswing, the meter drops down which represents the distance you want your ball to go. There are markers on the bottom part of the meter that represent different amounts of power. Instead of measuring things in feet, the markers represent a certain percentage of power. So, you might only need 3% of your full power to sink a 3 foot putt. This provides a more realistic experience because you don’t have to switch ‘distance types’ like in previous Tiger Woods games. After your backswing, follow through with a smooth putting stroke. With precision putting the game will push or pull if you aren’t hitting the ball square. Luckily, hitting straight isn’t as much of a challenge in putting as with driving. It took me awhile to learn the system, but once I did I began liking it.
The precision putting is a bit difficult to explain in words, so here’s a video that shows it off better than I can explain…
(Skip to 1:55 For Precision Putting)
Graphically, the game is still a bit long in the tooth but the textures have definitely improved from 09. The courses, specifically the trees don’t seem nearly as pixelated but it still isn’t anything you’re going to ooh and aah at.
While the graphics were passable the sounds of the game, specifically the commentating came up short. Kelly Tilghman provides the ‘play-by-play’ and does a good enough job but just seems really bland. Scott Van Pelt, who is one of my favorite ESPN anchors, just seems to phone it in for this game. He’s as bland as Kelly but at the same time will annoy you when you’re doing bad. Annoying and bland aren’t two qualities I want when hearing someone talk about how bad my game is. I still stand by my belief that sports games should start using voice actors instead of commentators. Because in essence when you’re calling a game, you actually have something to look at. With voice recording, it takes a bit of imagination to make it seem authentic.
After a couple of hours I can honestly say I will be playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 for a long time. I dabbled into Career Mode, but didn’t get far enough in to provide anything insightful. Based on MotionPlus, and the new/expanded ways to play the game I can honestly say this game deserves your time. Even if you’re not a golf fan, you’ll still be impressed with the integration of MotionPlus.