Video Game Review: ‘Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10’ Delivers Par Performance

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CHICAGO – Just as John Madden has become synonymous with video game football, when a gamer thinks of playing a round of golf without a 5 iron, he thinks of EA Sports’ beloved “Tiger Woods PGA Tour” franchise. For the 2010 incarnation of the hit series, EA hasn’t changed the rules drastically but have produced yet another solid sports title that should satisfy fans, maybe even bring in a few new ones, and turn around many rainy days for golfers jonesing to get on the green.

HollywoodChicago.com Video Game Rating: 3.5/5.0
Video Game Rating: 3.5/5.0

“Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10” is intended to give players a chance to be a part of their favorite professional action. It’s not just a golf game. It is very closely tied to real courses, PGA players, and even real weather conditions. Players will find themselves playing through “greatest hits” of golfing history or even encountering the same rainy conditions that could be going on at the same time they’re sitting comfortably in front of their PS3.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10
Photo credit: EA

This year’s edition doesn’t do much to change the scope or gameplay of the franchise. If you’re familiar with last year’s “Tiger Woods,” all that’s really been updated is some online modes, a challenge mode, consistent weather effects, and other general gameplay tweaks.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10
Photo credit: EA

Through the very entertaining “Tournament Challenge” portion of the game, players will play through real-world situations from years past. For example, if Tiger himself shot a birdie on a very difficult hole, your challenge will be to match his shot on the same hole.

The online play is greatly enhanced by live tournaments that allow the player to compete and post their scores next to the professionals playing the real course at the same time. And the weather conditions are the same. If you’re scheduled to play a tournament at Spyglass and it’s raining on the actual course, you might want to wait to start your 18.

Progression through your virtual player’s career has also changed. There is no more assigning of attributes. They will merely improve as you proceed through the game. Consequently, don’t expect to blow Phil Mickelson off the back 9 from the first day you turn on the game. The career mode requires patience and development of your golfing alter ego.

Of course, all the standards that you would expect from a golf title are here, including basic play, a PGA Tour season, and even fun mini-games. New courses will be available online for download (two are on the PlayStation Network already for $7.50 a piece). With the depth of gameplay variety, courses, and detailed online play, the scope of “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10” can’t be denied.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10
Photo credit: EA

But what about the actual play? Being a relative newcomer to the franchise (I’ve played bits and pieces of previous titles but never committed to it like this one), I found “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10” a good title that stays just on the other side of greatness.

There are two ways to play an actual hole and the player can alternate from shot to shot. In the first, the player uses the left analog stick and swings it back, timing when to swing it forward with the graphics on-screen. It’s an interesting control scheme that has its pros and cons. It feels more like actual golfing than clicking face buttons but it’s damn-near-impossible to time a chip shot that you need to hit at 50%. For drives, it’s fun. Anything close to the green, it’s aggravating.

For those situations, players can switch to a 3-click system - one starts the meter, one stops it at the desired strength level, and the third goes for accuracy.

As for putting, if I had an actual putter, it would have been thrown through my window by now. My only advice is be patient. It took this player (and many others based on some message board perusal) much longer than I expected to get the hang of how to putt. And it’s still the part of the game that brings me the most heartache.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10
Photo credit: EA

Graphically, “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10” is one of those titles that impresses at first, but has a few too many flaws on closer inspection. There are some character models and animations that seem incomplete and the game is sometimes inconsistent with its presentation, falling just short of feeling like a genuine recreation. Rain and wind are neat elements to add but they need to play a consistent role that allows for player strategy, not just be superfluous details nor be impossible to figure out (putting in the rain nearly drives me crazy).

A few control quirks, some graphic disappointments, and the lack of a long-requested create-a-course function hold “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10” back from total greatness, but not every day on the fairway can be a legendary one and this annual sports classic is still the best golf simulation out there for a reason. “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10” may not have perfected the art of golf games but it definitely putts for par.

‘Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10’ was released by Electronic Arts and developed by EA Tiburon. It is rated E (Everyone). The version reviewed was for the PS3 but the title is also available for the Xbox 360, Wii, PS2, and PSP. It was released on June 8th, 2009.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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