By Philip Dunkley and Christo Eagleton
So everyone has been waiting for the review on this title, as it’s been stirring some pretty good reviews in the industry. Firstly I apologise that this has taken a bit longer than expected, but we have a little surprise for everyone this time around. We managed to secure the help of Christo Eagleton, a Professional Golfer in South Africa, to help us out with the review of this title, so I will be including his comments into this review.
Firstly, let’s go to the history here, and refer to a comment that was made by Lazy a few days ago. This title seems to get better every two years, due to the development cycle, and he is 100% correct on this. Last year’s title was a little disappointing, and seemed to be a rehash of the year before, just not as compelling as the 07 title. This year however, things have taken a decent step forward, and as from my experience, this is a great title.
I have always been a fan of the series, and look forward to its release every year, and this year I got that little bit more excited, maybe because The Gary Player Country Club has been included in this year’s title, and it suddenly hits home that our country is on EA’s Map. And let me tell you this. I have played the course a few times in real life, and it is very well done, and accurate as hell, and I even found myself attacking the course in the game exactly as I had been taught on the real course. It is a great addition to the series, and it is by far the best addition this year (Not an SA biased opinion).
From the gameplay, things have changed this year a bit, and whilst you still have a large amount of control over the appearance of your player, and the ability to use Photo Game Face, the way your player progresses has somewhat evolved. In the previous titles, you would carry on with drills on the driving range, and these would push your attributes up. This year however, Hank Haney, Tigers coach, has been added to the mix, and he will judge your stats by how well you play. Basically, the better you play, the better your stats improve. You are still able to do the drills, but these stat upgrades are not always permanent, and can disappear after a round or two. This adds a nice addition to the game, and the coach actually does help with the process of figuring out what’s going wrong with your game.
From a control point of view, things have also changed a little here, or rather become more consistent. Last year’s title was a little unforgiving, and I found myself hooking and slicing the ball rather severely in the higher difficulties, but this year, the game offers you a dynamic feedback mechanism to see exactly how you are striking the ball, and as in real golf, this can actually be a serious habit, and can be corrected with certain tweaking of the clubs. So EA has added a custom club feature, where you can add a specific bias on the club, just like in real life, to compensate for a draw or fade. For a first iteration in the series, I can’t believe how well this works, and makes a huge difference to the title. Also, the standard analogue swing is available as usual, as well as the 3-Click-system, just not in the higher difficulties.
The online has changed dramatically as well, with the EA servers being a lot more stable this time, and a new feature of simultaneous online play a great addition to the series. Now you no longer have to wait for everyone to take their shots, but rather all hit at the same time, and watch the opponents ball flight with a coloured line displayed on the screen. Nice, no more long waiting times.
The graphics look as good as usual, with a few new tweaks here and there, especially on the water front, and the game looks and feels just right. Character animations seemed to have tweaked a little as well, and this makes a nice change.
From a sound point of view, this is only section in which this game sucks, but not from a music perspective or sound effects, but purely from the commentators. They have replaced Gary McCord and David Feherty with Kelly Tillman and Sam Torrance. Now I know the previous guys were not the best, but we all loved to hate them, but these new ones are the most boring pair I have ever heard in my life. EA, change this ASAP, it’s actually over irritating, and I have had to turn them off. Another thing I did notice was that on some courses with heavy wind, the sound effects sounded more like a horror movie than real wind, quite eerily actually. Not a bad thing though.
In conclusion, this version of the game is by far the best in the series so far, and to anyone who enjoys golf, is a definite purchase, and it might even convince the non fans to convert. The addition of one of our own beautiful courses in the game, and a few tweaks here and there, certainly puts this game in the running for sports game of the year.
Now here’s what Christo Eagleton had to Say:
â€œThe Gary Player Country club is a particularly good recreation of the original course, and at no point did I feel that it was not accurate. The games control system this year is a fantastic interpretation of the golf swing, and the feedback system allows the player to fine tune his playability, and the new custom club feature is something that happens on tour all the time, so this felt very familiar. The inclusion of Hank Haney as the coach, coupled with the new performance statistic system, allows the player to develop and work on the part of their game that is causing problems. Having played many of the EA Tiger Woods game’s, this is definitely the best in the series so far, and be assured I’ll be playing this on tour frequently.â€
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Christo for his time and effort on this, and also to EA for providing him with a review copy.
Now to the competition, EA has kindly sponsored 3 copies of the game (PS3 or XBOX360) for giveaway, so here’s the question to qualify. Name one other new course in Tiger Woods 09, excluding The Gary Player Country Club? That’s it, send the answer to [email protected], and we’ll announce the winner next week. We would like to thank EA for the prizes, we do appreciate it.
Gameplay: 9.5/10 [Great Entertainment]
Presentation: 9/10 [Looks great]
Sound: 7/10 [Please loose the commentators]
Value: 10/10 [I’ll be playing it all year]
Overall: 9/10 [A fantastic addition to the series]
Last Updated: September 11, 2008