It’s always interesting getting sporting titles in for review in our office. Geoff suddenly forgets how to speak English, Darryn is keen as mustard to strap on his cricket pads to hit the golf course and score a touchdown and Yolanda just points at the pregnancy bump and waddles away. So it’s left to me to review these titles which works for me as I actually love sports.
I’m actually even a golfer…well a hacker of beautiful fairways and a master of raking the bunkers so this was going to be an experience. The last Tiger Woods I played was Tiger Woods 11 so I was interested to see how the gameplay had improved and what had been added.
The game starts up and you are given the chance to customise your golfer in quite a lot of detail; my guy ended up with a purple spiked goatee and some very angry eyes… something which you wouldn’t see on most golf courses in the world.
You then get to choose some clothing and quickly realise that anything you would want to wear outside the house is locked and can only be chosen once you have ranked up significantly, but I’m not a style guru so I slapped on whatever I could and hit the course.
The controls are very straight forward. When standing on the tee box you push up to zoom to where the ball should land, you can then move that target around and then hit X to zoom back to the tee box. You then use the right stick to choose where you would like to strike the ball and when you are ready an arc is drawn for your swing.
Pull the left stick back until you are happy with the power you are going to use and then push the stick forward to strike the ball. If you do this perfectly the ball will fly as planned (taking wind into account) but if you are a bit ragged with this motion you end up with the ball fading or drawing possibly out of bounds.
It’s a very simple mechanism to get to grips with but pretty difficult to perfect, especially on the short game.. which is exactly how I find golf to be in real life.
If you don’t want to use the club the caddie chooses for you then you simply tap R1 or L1 to swap clubs and when you are putting (and are using base settings) you can tap L1 and the game will draw a line of where your putt is going to go.. you can only do this once per shot however and it’s vital if you are new to the game.
And that really is all the game is about… only it is so much more detailed than that. You start off on the amateur tour and after the first tournament you have two more tournaments available. The third tournament is the Web.com qualifier where you need to finish in the top 50 to be allowed to proceed to the next level of the game and unlock more of the tournaments to enter and to start winning some real cash.
Unfortunately – try as I might – I simply cannot do it. I’ve tried to get past this level a ton of times now and I’m simply too impatient. As in real life, if you rush golf it all goes horribly wrong. The most frustrating thing about golf however is that if you make one big mistake it hurts too much, going out of bounds pretty much confirms you are going to get a double bogey for that hole. Which means that you are then going to try hitting the great shots to make up for the dropped shots which leads you to drop more shots.
However if you are a real golfer you will know that you mustn’t do that and simply play the safe game and make the cut… I’m just not very good at listening to the sensible voice in my head.
But in true EA Sports style the single career mode isn’t the only option that is available in the game. In fact there are tons of other options including
- Online play
- Online Ranked Play
- Legends Challenges
And with all of those you can play a normal four ball, a two player standard or even some skins.
You can also create your own country clubs online, pick a mascot and colours and then get your friends to join your club. Then you can compete in intra and inter club competitions with a whole barrage of leader boards to gloat over if you are in the lead.
I gave the online gameplay a try and I can definitely see the appeal when playing against friends but my experience with random people on the internet was something that I could happily never do again. All I received was random swearing by Scottish drunks, Call of Duty-styled insults and deadly silence… The game itself was good and lag doesn’t really come into the picture at all.
As for the Move compatibility, I found it enjoyable and relatively accurate but it would take someone with a lot more knowledge of golf than I have to really say whether it’s that accurate or not. The smaller club made it feel a little fake to me and that’s why I preferred the standard controller input.
But it’s not all good, the 3 biggest problems I encountered are
- The graphics; They really do feel a little out dated and I expected better
- Loading… the loading times on the PS3 are insane and I can’t see any reason why
- Apparently I’m not allowed to buy a season ticket for the game.. and it won’t tell me why
According to the EA website however the reason I can’t have a Season Pass is because I live in South Africa… and that infuriates me. South Africa has some of the best golfers on the planet and we have full PSN and Xbox Live support here so this sort of discrimination is despicable.
Tiger Woods 14 ships with 20 highly detailed courses with 15 more available to download. It also includes 29 professional golfers replicated as best as possible with their real life counterparts.
If you are a golfing fan then you are going to thoroughly enjoy Tiger Woods 14 and I found it to feel as close as possible to the real thing as possible in a game.