Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 07 Review (Wii)
Submitted on: Mar 28, 2007 by Shawn Drotar
Golf and the Nintendo Wii - it seems like the best possible videogame pairing since… well, the Wii and bowling - but I digress.
Electronic Arts' Tiger Woods series moves to the Wii this spring, with the intent of extending Tiger's domination to yet another platform, and it does the job in workmanlike fashion.
If you're familiar with the Tiger Woods series at all, you'll find nothing truly new here save the control scheme, so I won't belabor the point. Tiger for the Wii is essentially Tiger for the PlayStation 2, minus a game mode or two. What's new and interesting - and what I'll focus on here - are the new motion-sensing controls that bring the game to life.
Like many Wii titles, the controls are easy to use and intuitive. You'll aim with the D-pad on the Wii Remote and then, while holding down the B button, you'll grip it and rip it; swinging the Wii Remote just like you would a golf club.
It's important to note that the game doesn't use a 1:1 ratio during your swing life, say, Wii Sports Golf. In essence, beginning your backswing works like an analog stick movement, starting the golfer's swing animation, and swinging forward works as another stick movement; setting the power and moving the club head to the ball. Your golfer won't really pull the club back at the speed you do, as the setup doesn't truly match your movements; rather it uses your movements as timing.
While this may sound somewhat disappointing, in the end, it doesn't matter much. It still feels natural and sensible, and many gamers may not even notice how the proverbial sausage gets made. Your follow-through (in this case, wrist stiffness) will determine any hook or slice. Roll your wrists, and you'll be picking it out of the deep stuff.
You can practice your swing in order to get a feel for the timing and power before any shot - it's a welcome addition. The only real issues with the setup occur around the green, where chipping and putting controls become a bit more unpredictable due to the smaller movements of the controller. Overly-long or short shots on or around the dance floor happen with some frequency, but once you get a feel for the peculiarities of the Wii Remote, they do become less common. Either way, the occasional hiccups aren't likely to stop you from playing what can be an engaging and entertaining round of golf.
The control's difficulty can be raised for a real challenge (and I recommend it!), and there's even the option to give up on the motion-sensing and use a plugged-in Nunchuk to use the analog-stick control scheme used in the other console releases of Tiger. Spin is imparted on the ball by pressing the D-pad and shaking the controller. I've never been fond of Tiger's spin mechanic until this year's Xbox 360 version, and the Wii's is patently ridiculous. It's overpowered, and I can't imagine something that could take a gamer "out of the moment" more than having to shake their golf club like they were mixing a vodka martini for James Bond.
The game sports a boatload of variations, 20 pro golfers and 18 courses to choose from, plenty for a first outing on Nintendo's new system, and more than enough to keep most gamers interested for some time. Tiger's PGA Tour mode, complete with the wonderful Game Face feature, is here in full, and it's one of the most rewarding single-player experiences in console gaming.
The game's sounds are pleasant enough, although commentators Gary McCord and David Feherty are still far too mean-spirited for a game like this. You'll hear the sound of the club hitting the ball through the Wii Remote's speaker - a nice tip of the cap to EA's latest host.
However - there's no delicate way to put it - this game is ugly.
I feel awful saying so, but I've got to come clean - it looks like a first-generation PS2 game, not a game released for a four-month old system. I realize the Wii's emphasis is not graphics, but EA is usually renowned for the graphics in its games; if this is they best they could do, then something's wrong with EA or the Wii… or both.
Textures are poor, "jaggies" are everywhere, text can be hard to read in widescreen mode and fog looks like someone covered your television with a screen door. Curiously, the players' faces look nice enough - which only makes it more confusing that you're watching a squirrel (at least, I think it was supposed to be a squirrel) scamper amongst the trees, two frames of animation at a time.
I'm a gameplay-over-graphics guy, but this… suffice it to say that the center will not hold.
Fortunately, both the nature of the Wii - and its audience in general - makes it more likely that gamers simply want a copy of Tiger so they can have some fun taking whacks on the virtual links; and there's no doubt that grabbing some buddies and playing a rambunctious round of Skins fits the bill quite nicely.