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OS Scores Explained Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters Overview (PS3)
Pros
Plays a fun game of Golf, Augusta is realistically created, Build up to the Masters is well done.
Cons
Realistic touches not there, courses sometimes run together, game just feels dead and uninspired.
Bottom Line
If you want a fun game of Golf for you and friends and can forgive it for not being totally realistic, Tiger Woods 12 is your game.
6.5
out of 10
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters REVIEW

Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters Review (PS3)

We recently changed how we do our reviews. Read about the new process here, then check out the new scoring guidelines and revised scoring rubric.

Article 1: Tiger Woods 12 Initial Impressions


Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters is the latest iteration of EA Sports' golf series that has prominently featured Tiger on the cover for the better part of the last 10 years.

While the series has seen some controversy, EA has stood by its man so far. However, EA decided to hedge its bets somewhat by taking Tiger off the cover of most versions of the game this year, replacing him instead with the most prestigious course and tournament in golf.

Beyond the debut of Augusta National and the Masters in video games, there are also new golfers and the usual selection of new courses and our old favorites. But does all of this equal a great game of golf? The answer to that question depends on what you want out of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters.



Gameplay

I could sum up the gameplay in Tiger as something that's a lot of the old formula you've gotten used to with a couple of notable additions that will either make you love or hate this game.

First off are the new caddies, and they either add or subtract from the game depending on where you sit (or stand if you are playing the game with a motion controller).

To me, the caddies take a lot away from the game. I think this is EA taking a concept and force feeding it down users' throats without giving us much of an option in terms of how it should be implemented. What I really think would have worked better was an option for how much or how little caddies can help you. As of now, I just don't think the implementation of caddies works at all.

Golf is a game of imagination, creativity, focus, skill and luck. You have to have all of these things to be a great golfer. But in Tiger Woods 12 you just need to listen to your caddie and swing at the right percentage.

The classic controller option is still pretty much the same, with you having to flick the left analog stick down then up. I always thought this was about as close to perfection with a classic gaming controller as you can get, and the formula still works.

Controlling your putts is moved over from last year's new setup, and if you haven't played Tiger in a few years I'm sure you'll grow to like the putting system. As it stands, I have no complaints about the control scheme in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12.

The gameplay itself is put together in a fashion that works for some players, but it won't for others. As I will note later, if you want a realistic experience you are going to be sorely disappointed with Tiger. But if you can find a magic balance point with the game, you will have fun with the game.

Online

Your enjoyment of the online modes will come down to how much you enjoy the game itself. However, there are enough options for online golfers to inspect and enjoy.

The online elements of Tiger are enjoyable if you have a good crew to golf with (and if you check out our golf forum, you'll find that good crew), but again it just feels like EA hasn't fully explored what online golf could be. There's really a lack of imagination with the modes, and while they are far from bad, they aren't quite as good as they could be.

Presentational

This is one of Tiger's weak points. As a personal bias, I've always wanted games to take a point of view, stick to it and do it well.

For instance, if you do broadcast presentation go all out from that perspective. Make it as close to the real thing as possible. Same thing for on the field/course/track.

Developers may think dabbling in both is creative or that it might work, but it really just makes both aspects shallow, and it really makes the whole package seem uninspired. Thus, enter Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12.

The presentation of Tiger Woods is a strange mix of being on the course with your caddie and watching a pseudo-broadcast on TV. The problem with this, of course, is that neither aspect is explored with the depth that it should be.

While many people think golf is a bore to watch on TV, it's hard to beat the tension and buildup of the Masters or any other major being broadcast on TV. However, camera shots like one of the leaderboard, cut-ins of other players and so on just are not present. You don't even know who you are playing with during a round. Remember how Tiger would defeat opponents by simply being paired with them a few years back?

Don't expect that in this game.

Simply put, Tiger is packaged to be a pseudo-broadcast/simulation/arcade experience through and through. It's shallow but tries to go deep enough to keep you pleased. In the end the presentation just feels vapid and stale after a few rounds.

Simulation Realism

With the idea in mind that I don't know if Tiger is exactly meant to be a total simulation of golf, it's hard to fault the game for cutting corners on the course.

In case you are wondering, you can still post ridiculously low scores at the US Open, some greens feel like mini-golf, and if you simply focus on power and putting you'll dominate in this game.

That's not to say the Tiger series has not taken positive steps toward simulation realism over the past few years, because the game is slowly heading in a positive direction. It's just not quite there yet.

Drives on lower difficulty levels are automatic. Once you climb up the levels a bit, then they become more unforgiving. However, the caddie simply makes drives automagic. You don't have to change anything yourself, just pull the stick back and push it forward to the correct percentage, and you hit the drive your caddie envisioned. It's like you two have a secret ESP link -- or worse, that the game is doing all the work for you, but I'm trying to give EA credit for imaginative storytelling here.

Approach shots are still quite boring to me. I don't know why, but approach shots are my kryptonite in the game of golf because I personally lack the touch needed sometimes. In Tiger there is simply no imagination or touch needed. Thanks to the Caddie feature, you can simply choose to not use anything. Instead, just try to focus on the right motion with your analog stick, and you will be successful every time (or close to it).

Putting is mostly a frustrating mix of being too easy or just ridiculously hard. First off, your caddie gives you a blueprint on where to aim with a circle on the green. If you just aim your shot within the circle, most of the time you will end up with a putt that scrapes the hole.

Then there are the moments where putts roll back past you if you miss an uphill shot (or roll to the next county if you are putting downhill). Sure, this happens sometimes in golf -- and a lot in miniature golf -- but for it to regularly happen on some courses is just ridiculous.

The controls themselves are definitely fine, and, to repeat my theme from a previous section, EA has done a really good job with the control scheme of Tiger. What the developers haven't done well is create a game that fits coherently together.

Nevertheless, while the game has issues simulating real golf, it's hard to say the game is not fun. There is definite balance within the game, and you can obtain realistic numbers if you simply find the difficulty settings that work for you. At the same time, realistic results are hit and miss and can't be fine tuned to any meaningful degree.

The best way to put it is that Tiger, while not totally realistic, can achieve a semblance of balance if you put some work into fine tuning the game for yourself. However, there are notable flaws and holes in how the game was put together, which makes it seem like the developers cut corners in order to give the game an appearance of being more realistic than it really is. Thus, Tiger Woods 12 will frustrate those looking for a more realistic experience.



Road to the Masters

The main game mode is the Road to the Masters in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12. While the game mode has a new name, it is largely the same mode you have been playing for years, with just a few changes in the process.

The basic format is play a tournament, play well, advance, play another tournament, play well, advance. While this game mode is fine, it does not even begin to realistically simulate a golfer's pursuit of a FedEx Cup.

Thus, once again people looking for realism will be disappointed by the main mode in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12, but those looking for a mode -- albeit a shallow one -- with logical challenges will find themselves enjoying Road to the Masters since there is a buildup and then an end point to the whole thing.

As with previous Tiger games, you gain XP for completing tasks on the course. You can then use the XP to build up your golfer and purchase new items to improve his performance, which is a straight up copy of the RPG character-building formula. This is not new for the Tiger series, and I think it's something sports games should look into, even if I can't help but feel it's a bit cheap.

If you believe in microcosms, I think the upgrade system in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 is a definite example as it really can be used to sum up the entire approach of the game. While the bounds of realism are completely stretched beyond belief, the system is logically put together and makes sense. Once again though, if you have played golf and who want a realistic experience, you may be sorely disappointed.

The progression you can make from your first event all the way up to the Masters is faster than any golfer could possibly improve, but it is fun to see your character grow before your eyes and make his way up the golfing ladder.

The main game mode will probably take you about 20 to 30 hours to complete if you get a realistic balance going for you. That's a good amount of golf, but you need to make sure your settings are going to fit your play style. If you aren't careful, you'll easily fall into the trap of making the game way too easy or ridiculously hard.

Masters Moments/Tiger at the Masters

These modes are what I would call a wasted opportunity. Perhaps licensing was too much, but I came away from both modes feeling a bit underwhelmed.

The Masters Moments simply call for you re-creating shots or runs with your created golfers to match historical moments. That's fine, but with a tournament so deep and rich in history as the Masters, to not take full advantage of that and instead only go halfway feels cheap to me. The same can be said for Tiger at the Masters, as I really felt there were a lot of perspectives you could've explored there. Instead, you are only given one option, and it just left me wanting more.

Perhaps it's the cynic in me, but I really think both modes were a giant waste of time as implemented.

Final Thoughts

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters is a game that falls into a trap so many games have fallen into. It tries to be one thing, but it then tries to claim another banner. Unfortunately, if you hold it up to either banner, the game really falls short.

At the end of the day, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 is not a bad game. I pointed out a lot of flaws in the game from the realism standpoint, but the game is far from a bad game. If you take the game for what it is and apply some tweaks to balance it for you, the game turns out to be a fun game of golf.

The game is not for those looking for a realistic game of golf -- the caddie feature alone guarantees you can't enjoy that type of a game. I understand the reasoning for Tiger being made to appeal to the masses, but perhaps adding another level for hardcore golf fans in the future will round out this game and make it truly great. As it is, the game is sorely lacking in-depth, balance and realistic touches that separate the good games from the great ones in our genre.


Visuals: The grass textures look plasticy to me, and each course really runs together. The graphics aren't technically bad, just stylistically they don't work as well as they could.

Audio: Commentary isn't quite what it should be (or shouldn't be). Golf sounds are good, crowd noise from the gallery is adequate. It's really a very average package.

PS3 Move: Move controls are average and don't risk too much -- future iterations should be better. It's kind of hard to get the hang of touch shots since you have to get percentages right.

Course Choices: The number of courses in the PS3 version is pretty solid, DLC will help as well. There's enough variety to give you enough challenges for sure.

Lasting Appeal: How long you play Tiger 12 will depend on how you feel about the brand of golf it gives. But there is enough here to keep you busy for awhile.

Learning Curve: With the caddie function, you just need to learn the stick movement, and you can begin golfing like a pro. You can learn how to do it yourself, but it seems pointless with the caddie (via ESP) setting up your shots.

Score: 6.5 (Above Average)


Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters Videos
Member Comments
# 1 rangerrick012 @ 04/06/11 04:02 PM
Well I think how much you enjoy the game depends upon how much you like/dislike the caddy feature, and it sounds to me like you didn't like the caddy at all or see any positives to it whatsoever. I personally don't like the caddy, but can see how for the casual gamer it's a good addition. Just wish that EA would patch in the option to turn the caddy off completely, especially on tournament difficulty. I disagree that it's just a game of 'hitting the percentages' though.

I still think the addition of the Masters as well as the tournament difficulty (save for the caddy) make this a solid upgrade, but again it all goes back to how much you hate the caddy, and it seems like you hated him and found no benefit whatsoever.
 
# 2 Dazraz @ 04/06/11 04:08 PM
I don't think I've ever read a review where I agree with every single point that has been made. Your evaluation of PGA 12 is spot on.

Totally agree with your comments regarding EA's efforts to bring a broadcast & player perspective style into one package & falling short on both. Reiterating your point regarding the Caddy. Having a caddy who gives you tips on preparing for your next shot would be a good thing. Having a caddy who pinpoints your exact shot location is totally unrealistic.

On PGA 11 I fely EA had made some good strides forward, this years effort appears more of a stumble forward.
 
# 3 jestep123 @ 04/06/11 04:15 PM
Color me a casual gamer or maybe just ignorant enough about golf but I love the game.

There are alot of advantages to not knowing every nuance of a sport.
 
# 4 speels @ 04/06/11 05:44 PM
I agree they need to give us the option of using the caddy or not, but in all honesty................name 1 PGA golfer that doesn't use a caddy.
Is it annoying? I'm sure it is for some, but if I had the opportunity in my life to have a fulltime caddy that helped me aim and knew exactly how far I hit the clubs and could read a break for me on the green, I would have one in a second.

Sure casual gamers will like it because it makes the game easier, but if you have ever golfed at a high level you would know that having a caddie that knows you well can take you from a +3 handicap to a scratch golfer easily. Two sets of eyes on the green alone can save you 2-3 strokes a game.

I guess I just wish people weren't so quick to "hate" this feature as it makes the game more realistic IMHO. I mean football teams don't just leave the game calling up to QB's, they have pritnouts and pictures and coaches helping them to find weaknesses in the other teams defense. Take replays out of a football game and tell me how good it is. (I am talking for hard core gamers that study the game)

Again, I completely agree there should be an option to turn it off, but I don't see it as an absolute disaster like many do.
 
# 5 kerosene31 @ 04/06/11 06:31 PM
The caddy is not realistic in any way. You never have to aim, just make the shot.

The way true aim worked in TW11 was way, way more realistic in my opinion.

TW games in the past few years have done a great job catering to casual players and those seeking much more realism with options, etc. The fact that you have to play the game one way is completely puzzling.

Based on the demo I'm glad I didn't buy this. I will just play TW11 for another year. That is one of the best golf games in recent years.
 
# 6 OpusX910 @ 04/06/11 06:50 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerosene31
The caddy is not realistic in any way. You never have to aim, just make the shot.

The way true aim worked in TW11 was way, way more realistic in my opinion.

TW games in the past few years have done a great job catering to casual players and those seeking much more realism with options, etc. The fact that you have to play the game one way is completely puzzling.

Based on the demo I'm glad I didn't buy this. I will just play TW11 for another year. That is one of the best golf games in recent years.
As someone who has played tournament golf with a caddy (and failed miserably), this is exactly what my caddy did for me most of the time. They suggest an exact shot to hit, if you agree with him/her, all you're left to do is hit the shot. My caddy knew my game probably better than I did.

As far as the caddy in the game, I hate it....the game was already easy and this makes it easier....like many have said I just want the option to turn it off.
 
# 7 statum71 @ 04/06/11 06:55 PM
I think I'll just keep my Tiger Woods 10.

I'm disappointed you can't turn off that caddie. I'm really really big on broadcast presentation. Not that TW10 was perfect....but its closer than that.

I figured with Jim Nantz and Augusta they would go all out to make the game seem like a Sunday telecast.
 
# 8 kerosene31 @ 04/06/11 06:59 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by OpusX910
As someone who has played tournament golf with a caddy (and failed miserably), this is exactly what my caddy did for me most of the time. They suggest an exact shot to hit, if you agree with him/her, all you're left to do is hit the shot. My caddy knew my game probably better than I did.

As far as the caddy in the game, I hate it....the game was already easy and this makes it easier....like many have said I just want the option to turn it off.
The caddie did not line up your body for the shot and tell you to let it go. Club selection and shot, sure, but I bet your caddie knew distances to the front of the green, etc. TW12 has none of this.

It would be like buying a Call of Duty game and having someone else aim for you.

Even as annoying as it is to turn off every hole, you still can't use the camera properly to manage your shots.
 
# 9 DivotMaker @ 04/06/11 07:21 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerosene31
Based on the demo I'm glad I didn't buy this. I will just play TW11 for another year. That is one of the best golf games in recent years.
If you ignore the Caddy which I do, I find TW12 FAR more challenging in Tournament difficulty than I ever did with TW11....sorry to hear you will be missing out.
 
# 10 kerosene31 @ 04/06/11 07:45 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DivotMaker
If you ignore the Caddy which I do, I find TW12 FAR more challenging in Tournament difficulty than I ever did with TW11....sorry to hear you will be missing out.
I cannot play without the putting meter. Tournament difficulty is not an option for me. Sorry. I know you love the game but I want to play with the putting meter on with true aim, and I can't do that anymore.

I honestly don't know how any human can make a putt without the meter. TW11 putting with the meter was perfect realism for me. I would two putt most reasonable putts, but still miss the occasional short one (as well as drain the occasional longer one). Speed was a little easy to manage, but you still had to get the combo of speed and line right.

I really would like to buy this game if I thought I would enjoy it. The graphics are a huge step up. EA just took the game I loved and removed my style of play on it.
 
# 11 DivotMaker @ 04/06/11 08:05 PM
Putting in 12 is far more realistic and challenging than 11, IMO. And I really thought 11 was challenging, but it pales in comparison to 12 so far for me. I will admit it takes alot of practice, but draining birdie and par-saving putts is very rewarding. I have always wanted a Golf game that challenged me to break par, but I am finding 12 challenging me to MAKE par in Tournament difficulty. I'm really immersed in the challenge 12 provides. Sorry 12 doesn't interest you...
 
# 12 BDawg35 @ 04/06/11 08:16 PM
I haven't played T-Woods since the PS2 days. I played the demo last night and thought, "WTF." There was no way to aim the ball myself. My first drive was outstanding. Hated the caddy feature. Couldn't figure out what was up with putting. This review cinches it - I won't be getting the game, as much as I love the addition of Augusta. I may just get an older copy to get my T-Woods fix on the PS3. At least I won't have to spend much money.
 
# 13 kerosene31 @ 04/06/11 08:21 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DivotMaker
Putting in 12 is far more realistic and challenging than 11, IMO. And I really thought 11 was challenging, but it pales in comparison to 12 so far for me. I will admit it takes alot of practice, but draining birdie and par-saving putts is very rewarding. I have always wanted a Golf game that challenged me to break par, but I am finding 12 challenging me to MAKE par in Tournament difficulty. I'm really immersed in the challenge 12 provides. Sorry 12 doesn't interest you...
Putting is much, much harder (not something I asked for). Meterless putting is something I knew of only a few people wanting, now it is the only way to get a realistic game?

Meterless putting is lunacy with a tiny thumbstick. 10 feet on the green is tiny millimeters of pressure on the stick. I could go out on a PGA Tour Green for real and do better.

True aim in TW11 is way more realistic for approach shots. Even tournament difficulty makes aiming approach shots easy. We're back to the magic aiming camera even if I pick true aim.

They forced meterless putting on me, and removed my favorite part of the game.
 
# 14 kerosene31 @ 04/06/11 08:24 PM
I figured out why all my shots are wild, when you disable the caddy, he still will put fade or draw or whatever he thinks on your club and you have to change it yourself to just hit it straight.
 
# 15 GamerzIgnite @ 04/06/11 10:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerosene31
The caddie did not line up your body for the shot and tell you to let it go. Club selection and shot, sure, but I bet your caddie knew distances to the front of the green, etc. TW12 has none of this.

It would be like buying a Call of Duty game and having someone else aim for you.

Even as annoying as it is to turn off every hole, you still can't use the camera properly to manage your shots.
That's a prety bad analogy since in golf the caddie tells you how to aim. No he doesn't put is hands on you and line you up, but we are talking about pro golfers here who know how to aim their own body...so a caddie might as well be a lot of the times.

I like the feature but agree it could be toned down a bit in some manner. I did turn the audio off instantly...which is ironic because I think the sysmte would work a lot better if it was more audio heavy without the direct visual lines and whatnot.
 
# 16 DivotMaker @ 04/06/11 10:30 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kerosene31
Putting is much, much harder (not something I asked for). Meterless putting is something I knew of only a few people wanting, now it is the only way to get a realistic game?

Meterless putting is lunacy with a tiny thumbstick. 10 feet on the green is tiny millimeters of pressure on the stick. I could go out on a PGA Tour Green for real and do better.

True aim in TW11 is way more realistic for approach shots. Even tournament difficulty makes aiming approach shots easy. We're back to the magic aiming camera even if I pick true aim.

They forced meterless putting on me, and removed my favorite part of the game.
I guess we'll simply agree to disagree. Glad you have TW11 to keep you happy and I have 12 to keep me happy. We each win....
 
# 17 lnin0 @ 04/06/11 10:55 PM
Why will no other publisher pick up the golf mantel and try to knock Tiger down already. Golf must be seen as a no profit genre or else someone would have challenged the struggling Tiger series by now. I miss Links!
 
# 18 rangerrick012 @ 04/07/11 12:47 AM
I don't like that people look at this score and say that this is a bad game. It's not a bad game, just that EA made a terrible design decision by not giving users the option to shut off the caddy. You can still disable the caddy and set up shots on your own by hitting B on the 360, but it's unfortunate that you can't shut him off completely. But the reviewer kept going back to the caddy when the fact is that you can set up shots on your own, even though his suggestions are still staring you in the face. In the end it's up to you as a gamer to hit the shots, the caddy isn't swinging the club for you.

The career mode is the best that it's been in any TW game and a step in the right direction. Online play w/ daily tournaments (even though people shoot obscenely low scores) is ok. Presentation is an issue in most EA games save for FIFA or NHL.

Quote:
In case you are wondering, you can still post ridiculously low scores at the US Open, some greens feel like mini-golf, and if you simply focus on power and putting you'll dominate in this game.
Play on tournament difficulty and see how many low scores you post at the US Open. Also the options to tweak AI scoring in career mode are another addition (which were not even mentioned by the reviewer).

It just feels like the review was a bit overly nitpicky and negative, and let the caddy take away from any enjoyment he could get out of the game. I agree w/ some of the concerns about it still being a bit lifeless, but I think this is another (even if small) step in the right direction, especially considering the fact that they actually added a goal oriented career mode. I'd give the game a 7.5-8, but think that it's unfair that people will look at this relatively low score and not give the game a shot for themselves.
 
# 19 kerosene31 @ 04/07/11 08:04 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by GamerzIgnite
That's a prety bad analogy since in golf the caddie tells you how to aim. No he doesn't put is hands on you and line you up, but we are talking about pro golfers here who know how to aim their own body...so a caddie might as well be a lot of the times.

I like the feature but agree it could be toned down a bit in some manner. I did turn the audio off instantly...which is ironic because I think the sysmte would work a lot better if it was more audio heavy without the direct visual lines and whatnot.
I've been harsh on the caddy. My biggest beef with it is he gives me a shot out on the fairway (which I often find they are too risky for no reason on drives), so I want to move it a tad to be safe. I can't. So, even if I wanted to give the caddy a shot, I can't even adjust the aim. If I could I could probably actually use it more.

Ok, so I turn the caddy off, and now my aim is 3 holes over to the right. Fair enough, I chose to go alone, but now I have to bring my aimpoint all the way back. All this interface just got in my way.

I never gave the demo a fair shot (I just quit and deleted) when it first came out. I tried to give it more patience last night and I found it less annoying. I guess I don't mind that they give you a shot to make, but if only I could adjust the aim on that shot a bit. In my short experience with the demo I found the caddy aiming to be fairly bad. Anytime I did it myself I did better.

I played the demo more last night and got more used to it. I might actually break down and get this. The graphics are amazing and it seems most of the TW11 live tournaments are gone which is the only mode I play.

Does anyone find the caddy useful? Again I'm only on the demo right now but anytime I let the caddy take the shot on tourney difficulty it usually ended poorly.
 
# 20 rolltide1017 @ 04/07/11 09:34 AM
I think some of you do not understand how a PGA Tour player and caddy work together. A few people have said they have played in tournament with caddies and the game gets it close. That maybe your experience but, on the PGA Tour, it is quite different.

I'm not trying to one up anyone but I worked for the Golf Channel for 5 years and have heard many recordings from mic'd golfers and caddies that don't always make it on the air. The stuff I heard was more of a discussion between caddy and player. Yes, the caddy has all the yardage and course info but, the player isn't clueless about that stuff either. These guys are pretty familiar with these course so, the caddy makes suggestion, they discuss options and the player may decided to go completely with the caddy's thoughts or his own; or they may come up with something entirely different based on there discussions.

It is not as black and white as some of you make it sound and it is nowhere near as black and white as the game makes it. In the game, the caddy doesn't stop at suggestions, he aims it exactly right, adds the correct amount of fade or draw, adds the right amount of spin and chooses the right grip. That isn't even close to what happens in real life with a caddy. I think it would have been much more realistic if the caddy just verbally made his suggestions in the game. He would just tell you some thing like "it looks like a 4 iron about 8 yards left of the pin and a little draw. Maybe a little back spin but not much, we should be attacking the pin with that shot." That would be closer to real life IMO.
 

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