Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 PS3 review
If you’re here looking for jokes about Mr Woods’ various indiscretions, you’ve come to the wrong place. It’s been a long time and I’m better than that (maybe). I’d never cheat you readers out of a professional assessment, spraying cheap jibes about like a busted fire hydrant, and I intend to divorce myself from any such proceedings.
Right, now we’re clear, let’s get to the matter at hand. And what we have here is a much-needed overhaul that very nearly does for golf what Grand Slam Tennis 2 did for its sport: namely separate itself from all pretenders (and previous instalments) with an overhauled control scheme. Introducing Total Swing Control, which replaces the mechanic we’ve had since Tiger’s considerable talents found virtual form.
Before, you could pull the stick back, hold it there while you made a sandwich and some long-distance phone calls, and thrust it forward again, hitting a sweet shot provided your back-and-forth was in a straight line. No more. Now tempo matters, so you have to keep a consistent rhythm through your swing, and move your club along the ideal plane (drawn in a ghostly white line around your player) to be troubling the fairways.
Tee to green, it changes everything – and makes this the most authentic golf game out there. You have to alter your arc to put draw or fade on the ball, swinging too fast or too slow means you over or under hit, and your range of shots is exponentially increased by combining this with the strike meter (choosing which part of the ball you want to connect with).
Trouble is, the putting mechanic has been changed, too – and not for the better. Things get so delicate on the green that it’s now practically impossible to not put too much or too little power on your shots, meaning you frequently zing an eight-footer even further past on the other side, or come up short from just a few inches. Practice obviously improves things, but on my second day’s play I threw a pad for the first time in years – not the sign of a well-executed mechanic.
This is still a fine package, though. A new Country Clubs feature enables you and your friends to compete against one another and rival clubs, boosting your XP and coin-earning potential all the while, and the career mode is still huge. There’s also the new Tiger Legacy Challenge, where you relive Eldrick’s career from the age of two right into the future – it’s a massive, well-executed addition narrated by the man himself.
This is very nearly an excellent game. The visuals and presentation need working on for next year, but the new swing system is a great foundation for the future. And making it less than pad-gnawingly frustrating to sink a putt from two feet shouldn’t be too difficult, right?