Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 (PS3)
The Tiger Woods PGA Tour series has been very similar from year to year adding small features here and there to an already solid gameplay experience. This year introduces Total Swing Control which is being touted as the “most significant leap forward in swing mechanics in over a decade”. Will this revamped gameplay mechanic make this year’s edition a hole in one or will it rest in the bunker?
The Tiger Woods PGA Tour series has had a long and relatively successful run since its debut in 1998 with the first iteration, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 1999. Since then, it has been a hotly anticipated release every year for hardcore golf fans. This year’s edition doesn’t disappoint. If you’re a golf fan, you’re in for a real treat.
The first thing I noticed when I booted up the game disc is the brand new menu which really gives a lot more of a connected feel with each tab. The menu is a new left to right tab and has a very clean and organized look. Everything is very easy to find and if you have a Move controller, it will be very easy to navigate around. Among the new items in this menu is a spot for Country Clubs. This option is a very interesting new concept to the game this year mimicking a clan feel from first-person shooters or even the EA Sports Hockey League from the NHL series. While I wasn’t able to do too much with this since there weren’t many active clubs from the ones that I tried to join, I could see the enjoyment in it. As you play the game after you join one of these Country Clubs, you’ll start to earn Status Points with each round you play anywhere in the game. These Status Points are used to rank up against your teammates anywhere from just a simple member to the Club Champion. The nice perk about being the Club Champion is that you’re able to go into a special tournament (you’re also able to set up club tournaments to compete against your teammates) against the other Club Champions from the various Country Clubs. It’s a great idea that can only be expanded upon.
As you step on the course for the first time, you notice just how much the visuals have been improved. Everything just looks so much better. The lighting looks to be the main focus of this with the sunlight reflecting beautifully off the water and the vegetation has never looked so lifelike. The golfers look better than ever and even the crowds seem to have a bit more polish. The only negative feedback I have about the visuals is a noticeable stutter on some drives. It isn’t consistent enough to be a detriment though. The thing I really sense from Tiger Woods as I play is that EA Tiburon really focused on the polish without having to add a ton to the game.
The biggest gameplay improvement this year is Total Swing Control. At first, I hated this new mechanic because I felt like it was too touchy but, after playing some rounds with it and really getting a good feel; I can honestly say that this is a huge step in the right direction for the series. It really does give you total control over your swing. The distance of your ball now is focused on the tempo of your swing which you can see on your Swing Meter which gives a great understanding on exactly how the ball was hit and what could be improved upon and also allows you to set your sweet spot exactly where you need it to be to get the best possible shot. Players can also setup their shots by dragging the aiming marker forward or back to create pretty much any shot you can think of. It’s insane to think that this has just now made its way into the game; it’s definitely a great new way to play.
Ever want to play as Toddler Tiger? Now you can with the Tiger Legacy Challenges; though I’m a bit mixed on this mode. It’s different and surely a nice side challenge to the other modes in the game but, I really feel like it’s just more Tiger promotion. You get each Tiger from the 10 different eras to play with after you complete each event along with Toddler Rory and Toddler Rickie when you complete the game mode. I’m sure players would have much rather had some other golfers from today or even legendary golfers. Instead, we get a whole lot of Tiger. Sigh. Coins are another new feature of Tiger ’13 which serve as the in-game currency and are earned as long as you’re connected to the EA servers. The great thing about these coins is that you can use them to purchase rounds at downloadable courses instead of having to shell out cash for each one. You can buy 1, 2, or 3 rounds on a course at a time. You can also purchase boost pins which give you, you guessed it, boosts. Each boost pin has a level that can be leveled in three tiers. The first level is bronze, then silver, then gold with the ability of the boost being increased each time.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour has improved a lot both visually and through gameplay. There’s a lot of content for golf fans to be excited about and the entire feeling of the game is a positive one. The entire presentation looks better than it ever has and really makes you feel like you’re on the course, total Swing Control will be around for many years to come and has been a wonderful improvement, and Country Clubs will only get better in time. I recommend Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 for anyone who is a golf fan. I truly believe it’s the best golf simulator available.
For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this game was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes. If you have any questions about this title the reviewer will be able to answer them in the comment section.