It’s been about 2 years since I last ventured into a Tiger Woods game. It was Tiger Woods 07, which was quite successful at the time and was one of the first sports games on the PS3. We are now a few years further, where the golf giant Woods is now injured on the couch playing his own game. We were also able to take the game back into our hands to provide it with a review. Has anything changed since the previous games?
We know by now what the concept of golf means. Simply get the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. That task often seems easier than it is, but bunkers, water and high grass can ensure that you need a few more strokes than intended, and that is immediately punished in a game like this. The performance coach is therefore certainly necessary. The beginners will immediately gain the necessary experience with Hank Haney by their side. He teaches you to hit a ball, to realize power shots and to putt from close range. The foundation is therefore quickly laid, something that still requires quite a lot of effort in the previous parts. The game is therefore much easier to learn, especially in this part, although you will undoubtedly miss the easiest balls in the beginning.
However, the game offers tools that make it possible to better estimate golf. When putting, for example, you can use a one-time preview option, with which you can check how the ball will behave in a virtual put. As a result, you only have to determine the stroke speed and keep the analog stick straight when hitting. I mentioned earlier that a performance coach is included in this version, and that brings me straight to a new feature of the game. For example, there is a dynamic skill progression bar that checks how you manifest yourself on the lawns. If you pass many holes in one day, your skills including power, accuracy, etc. will be improved. If one day you perform better with the power shots, but you lack good putting, one stat will be screwed up and the other further down. However, with your coach you can see the lesser skills work up again and continue to practice with them to improve yourself.
Better integration of GamerNet and an added performance bar
The Career mode of the game of course has the necessary tournaments that you can endure. This concerns the well-known PGA Tour season that you can play, but the Tiger Challenge is also present. The game offers plenty of holes and game modes to get you started. There are also a few minigames available, including Capture the Flag, the Putting contest, Target to Target and the Approach contest, where simply a few separate challenges are examined. If you think you are ready for the real thing, you can of course also get started online. Quite a bit has changed compared to the past. For example, GamerNet is much better integrated into the game, so that the gameplay is better and, above all, faster than was the case in the past. With 4 people it is possible to play at the same time and you can immediately see how the other players have performed. This makes the waiting time a lot lower than before, which will make the game less sleepy for most. Each player curve gets a different color, making it easy to see how the others are doing in-game. With the L2 button it is also possible to save your best shots via EA Sports’ GamerNet. If that’s not enough for you, you can of course also adjust your own player to your wishes. It is also possible to upload your photo online via easportsworld.com to create new faces for your game there.
Better playable for the beginners
What has mainly improved about Tiger Woods is the retention of the good aspects of the game, expanded with some functionalities that lower the entry threshold. You start the career mode directly with a coach who introduces you to the game in a very easy and friendly way. Every inexperienced player can get started with the game and gain experience within 10 minutes. In addition, the performance bar works well and you can use it to determine which points you need to improve on yourself, although you will often notice that in-game yourself. However, it also partly serves as an incentive to constantly increase your level. The controls work well. With the O-button you can easily determine the direction of the ball via the shoulder buttons and it is also easy to give the ball an effect during flight. This makes it a little easier on yourself and makes the waves a little less boring than most would expect. The game functions well as a relaxation tool where the necessary fun and experience can be gained, and that makes this game an excellent, soothing game.
The commentary in the game itself is usually correct. If you take a lot of strokes on a hole, the two commentators will undoubtedly not keep their mouths shut, although they are usually only conclusions that you could have drawn yourself and they usually know a bit more, be it positive or negative, in it know how to rub. You as a player will often deal with the emotions in an exaggerated way in the game. The audience also reacts to a certain ball, both positively and vice versa. Graphically, the game is especially impressive. The grass looks razor-sharp and environmental factors such as the audience, sand and trees also look extremely sleek and realistic. You can view the repetitions from different camera angles and the putting animations can also be called quite variable, so that you will not constantly have the same images in mind. Aspects such as the air and the user interface have also been worked on again and have therefore been improved. Too bad the game doesn’t have trophy support, but with the in-game reward systems (by means of money) you won’t have too many problems with this, although they could have come up with some nice trophies for this game…
Tiger Woods 09 is mainly based on the novice golfers who also want to try this franchise. The game has a low entry level, but experience definitely needs to be gained in order to manifest yourself at the top. Graphically, the game has been developed in every detail and the added performance bar also makes the game more interesting than before. Finally, the improved online GamerNet applications have also been further improved, which means that the gameplay is less interrupted, and all of this makes Tiger Woods 09 certainly a topper for interested or novice golfers.
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Author: Jeroen Janssen | Genre: Sports | Release: 22-09-2008 | Publisher: EA Sports | Developer: EA SportsGraphics: 8.5 † Sound: 7.0 † Gameplay: 8.5 † Controls: 8.8 † Playback: 8.0 8.4