Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 Review
By Monica Bair |
Fans definitely got their money's worth with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004. Whether they opted for the sim-oriented PC version or the slightly more arcade-like approach of the console version, Tiger was a big hit across the board last year. While EA's policy of yearly iterations may seem more palatable in sports where rosters change and mechanics are freely reinvented, the esteemed PC golf series has to find other reasons to bring players back year to year. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 may not necessarily have owners of 2004 lining up outside of the stores but there are more than enough features and enough content here to make it the game to own for PC golf fans.
Rather than changing the gameplay, the team at EA have maintained the more sim-like approach that separates this title from its console counterparts. A host of new customization options let you create your own golfing persona, complete with performance statistics you can upgrade through play while new challenges and lessons can be found all throughout the game at a variety of skill levels. If you're completely new, the game takes your hand and leads you through a variety of skills you'll need to learn. If you're an old hand, the game offers some massive challenges.
At the heart of the game is the TrueSwing mechanic. This system uses mouse movements to simulate the golf swing and it really allows for a level of fine control that you just don't get in the two- or three-click systems that many of us grew up with. Assuming you're using the vertical method of TrueSwing, you simply pull the mouse back for the backswing and push it forward to connect with the ball. (The horizontal method works the same but seems less natural as you're moving the mouse left and right instead.) There are all sorts of nuances here and you can put fade, draw, hook or slice action on the ball if you divert too far from the line of your swing.
No golfer starts off perfect, of course, and an instant analyzer provides feedback on how you're swinging. You can add more power by drawing the mouse back even further and you get better drives if, on the downswing, the mouse hits the spot where you began the backswing. Tempo and angle analysis also lets you know if you're going too far to the left or right or waiting too long at the top of your backswing. By making adjustments based on the analyzer, you can find your shots improving hole to hole. Fans of the more relaxed approach may be disappointed that the PC version of the game doesn't allow you to cheat with the consoles' "Tiger Vision" feature. About the most help you get here is the small grid overlay that shows the slope of the green.
It seems like every game in the world is now using some kind of outrageously flexible face and body creation tool. The one in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 is plenty good. While it's not quite up to the level of the one we saw in The Sims 2, there are still a seemingly endless array of sliders that let you get just the right brow height and chin texture you need to recreate virtually any face, from your own weathered and worried countenance to the wide-eyes and trusting smile of an EA PR intern. With that said, I find it odd that there's not a single hairstyle in the office that's represented in the game. Come on, EA; ducktails and tonsures never go out of style. And they look especially hot together.
Sue me, I think tonsures are cool.