Tiger Woods returns for the 2008 season with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08. Featuring the highly touted GamerNet and the impressive game face, it appears EA has given the Tiger Woods series a breath of fresh air, or have they?
One of the major new features EA has brought to the table is the Photo Game Face feature, where players put a photo of themselves into the game and 15 minutes later, like magic, you’re truly in the game. Photos of players can be taken using either the Xbox Live Vision Camera or uploaded via the EA Servers. Game Face then does its thing and digitizes your face; giving players what for many will be their only opportunity to play a round with Tiger!
One of the most important parts of a golf game is the controls. This year EA has revived the 3 click swing as a ‘classic’ option to compliment the analogue controls seen last year. Both handle well so the choice really comes down to personal preference.
The career mode is somewhat disappointing in the sense that it is exactly the same if not slightly worse than what we’ve seen before. As usual you either play with your own created golfer or a rookie Tiger, then venture off into the golf world with mediocre skills that will get you nowhere anytime soon. It takes a fair amount of time and a lot of challenges before tournaments are even a realistic option for your level-deprived rookie. For gamers who played the career mode last year, there’s no real reason to play it again this year.
The AI of CPU golfers is still absolutely absurd. One minute they can make a 300m drive straight onto the green, yet the next they’ll miss the 3 metre putt to the hole. EA needs to do something about this to make the competitors slightly more realistic and fun to play with.
The feature that EA has been touting in the lead up to the release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 is the new EA Sports GamerNet. GamerNet allows players to save spectacular, horrific or just plain strange shots for the entire world to see. These can also be turned into challenges for friends to try and play. Currently the service seems dominated by players hitting balls into spectators. However as the popularity of the service grows, expect GamerNet to add a new dimension to sports games.
The graphics engine used in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 is all but identical to the one from last year’s version. The golfers are generally realistic looking and stay true to their real-world counterparts. Some of the animations are broken but for the most part hold up fairly well. The scenery is mediocre at best with jagged edges very noticeable. The new camera angles are pretty horrific and the frame rate takes a noticeable dive whilst they’re being used.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 remains virtually unchanged from last year. The Game Face is an impressive feature and players will certainly have a lot of fun with it. The new GamerNet is also entertaining and shows promise. These two features added to what is almost the same game as last year makes it a hard sell for the high price tag.