Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online Review (PC)
Arnie Palmer and his manager Mark McCormack were the first to ink a player-manager relationship decades ago. These two would help shape what we now know as athlete representation and management.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online (TWO) has a lot in common with the management of a professional athlete.
In TWO, I cannot help but feel as if I am managing a golfer’s career like an agent. I make huge financial decisions and career moves for him off the links by entering him in to the best tournaments and landing successful sponsorships.
From there, I get to control his success on the course with my TruSwing controls.
When you log on to your TWO membership account, you are welcomed by a number of personal customization and career features that you can tweak. The My Golfer screen provides gamers with a comprehensive overview to manage the day in the life of a pro golfer.
As a manager of your self-made golfer in Tiger Woods Online, you will be checking your inbox for potential sponsors. You can also check the social statuses in your notifications inbox and view which new friends want to be associated with your client.
You can work on your golfer’s swing mechanics with experience points, which the developers have dubbed XP, and you can also study the courses that your golfer will be attacking during his career.
Simply put, everything in the game is here to help you navigate your athlete to be the best online golfer in the world and make some massive amounts of e-cash in the process.
Of course, we all want to align our golfer with the right people. We want him in the top player circles with guys like Tiger, Phil and those who have worn the sought after green jacket.
In TWO, your support system is your sponsors. And so you must sponsor your friends with unwavering support on the golf course –- then when they win, you win. Every time one of your sponsored golfers makes the daily cut, your golfer’s camp gets paid
Managers must wisely sponsor other golfers and make sure each golfer is the right fit. The first step to a successful sponsorship is to scout other golfers who are tearing up the greens and befriend them on your friend’s list.
Tailor your golfers from head to toe in the latest dry-fit materials. Select the gear that will add distance to their shots and keep them cool under the heavy pressure at the majors. How else will you attract sponsors without the clean image?
In the pro shop, you can purchase clubs and attire with earnings and XP -- real money can also buy you XP to spend on your golfer with a credit card.
Progress your golfer’s skills via the daily challenge entitled The Cut. The Cut challenges your golfer on a daily basis to one-up his previous scores. The Cut will set an arbitrary score to beat, which is based on your golfer’s skill level. Continuously making The Cut on a daily basis will get you and your athlete some extra bonus cash to spend on personal training or upgraded gear.
Your golfer can get right out on the links with the Play Now button. Here, you can choose up to how many players you wish to play with, what course settings and wind conditions you would like, and adjust green speeds and the length of the rough and fairways.
With a full membership, you will have access to all the courses in the game. In the beta, only a select few courses had been open to the public -- the beta closed in early May 2010.
Most of the courses we have seen recently in the Tiger Woods series are here including TPC Sawgrass, Torrey Pines, St Andrews, Pebble Beach, Sheshan Golf & CC, Harbour Town Golf Links, Wolf Creek GC, Wentworth and others.
Daily and weekly tournaments are also available. In these tourneys, you can compete against the community-filled leaderboards.
The classic three-click swing makes a comeback in the PC version of TWO. It is a functional system, but at times it feels a bit too much like a throwback for my liking.
TruSwing is also available for those who do not enjoy the classic three-click system. TruSwing is a swing mapped to your mouse movement: pull straight back for a nice backswing and then follow through straight to strike the ball in the center. This feature creates a much more realistic sense of gameplay because you feel like you are in control of your golfer’s swing.
TruSwing mirrors everything that the analog swing does well on the consoles, only with the improved tempo measurement. There is even precision putting here. If you turn the mouse slightly during your putting stroke, your club face will start to turn, which will result in missed putts.
The game calculates your tempo during both your backswing and downswing, so it is important to have a good pace throughout. After you swing, there is also feedback that is displayed in real-time via the virtual golf ball in the bottom right corner of the screen. This feedback will help you tremendously in terms of how to straighten out the kinks in your swing.
The arsenal of shot types are here. You can chip, flop and pitch your way through the courses. Before they swing, golfers may also pinpoint exactly where on the golf ball they wish to strike the ball to add some english to it. This is a nice feature that we will also see in the new Tiger Woods 11 titles this year.
The entire browser-based game is done online. The game integrates your Facebook account and shares your accomplishments with your Facebook friends. All the matches are equipped with chat windows, ball markers and ball trackers of other competitors.
Tiger Woods Online gives you the ability to plan your approach on the course and your financial success off of it. Done entirely online, this game is built on sharing and competition with friends in online tournaments. Compete for prizes and rewards to upgrade your athlete and see who will be the Tiger of the EA Sports online community.
On The Links: Do not be fooled by this browser-based game: this title is deep with controls, shot types, approach grids and ball lies. The tempo measurement is a nice touch, and the depth of the controls carry this title.
Graphics: The game is not visually appealing, nor does it have many customizable features for your golfer. The course architecture is well done, and it looks as if the layouts were directly ported from the console versions of Tiger Woods.
Sound Design: Your typical fly over the hole voice-overs are here. Crowd sounds are present, and the crowd reacts to your shots. Other than that, the sounds in this title are not much to talk about.
Entertainment Value: Managing your golfer to the top with buddies and sponsors is a fun concept and should keep gamers coming back for more. A full membership ($59.99) will grant you access to all the courses and online tournaments, but the game only costs as much as much as you want to spend.
Online: Friend's lists, e-mail inboxes, notifications from friends on their golf statuses and online tournaments help to create a strong social-gaming community.
Score: 8.0 (Very Good)