Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13

Posted On: 3/26/2012  Publisher: EA Sports

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This past weekend, Tiger Woods topped the leaderboards once again winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Its was his 72nd PGa Tour victory and the 7th time he won at this tournament. Tiger is starting to display some of that magic we have come to know from his golf game and itís good to see him back on top. This week, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 hits stores shelves across North America and EA looks to display that same type of magic in this yearís version of the Tiger Woods franchise. We have had the opportunity to play it over the past week and I have to say that Tiger Woods 13 has to be the best golf game I have played since the good ole days of the Links franchise. This review only dives into a portion of what the game has to offer honestly. And that reason is because the review could just go on and on so I had to make some content cuts somewhere. EA didn't cut any content, thats for sure!

Tiger Woods 13 is a solid game in itself just playing with the controller alone, but EA has now introduced Kinect support into the game and while it may not be perfect it is definitely a start. Iíd like to touch on the Kinect support a little before really diving into what this game has to offer. And trust me, there is so much in this game that you could play it for the next year straight and still have new experiences. My hats off go to EA on this one.

Now, Kinect. Well, I was pretty excited to have Kinect integration built into the game especially since the PS3 had Move integration last year. Golf seems like such a perfect fit for motion gaming and as an overall whole it is. You will experience both good and bad moments in the game with Kinect. Navigation seems to be the worst thing on the list of pros and cons when it all boils down to it. The menu navigation seems very touchy and actually will quick jump to new menus that you were not trying to access just because it feels like it. I calibrated Kinect a few times over the past week and while it helped somewhat the jumpy navigation was a glaring issues and I found it much better to use the controller when at the menus.

Kinect is on all the time of course, and to activate the mode you just have to raise your hand. Youíll constantly see a box down in the right hand corner displayed whether you are using Kinect or not. I do wish there was a way to completely turn it off because I had a few instance again during menu screens when I was using the controller and then suddenly Kinect took over. You can turn it off for the actual round though so thatís a good thing. But enough about the navigation. Yes, it needs work. Letís talk about the actual gameplay.

 
 

Tiger uses both motion and voice control with Kinect. You can change clubs, aim and change your shot and ask your caddie things. Your basic movement control consists of basically addressing the ball and then taking a swing as you would in real life. Itís a little difficult without a prop to really get any kind of technique down but you will get used to it. I do not suggest using a golf club as a prop. Bad things could happen! The results on the screen are usually pretty satisfactory of your swing as long as you have good tempo and a consistent swing. The only issue I had with the motion controls was putting. Putting is all about finesse and you just donít get that feeling when putting using Kinect in Tiger 13. Overall though, Kinect functionality is pretty good and a nice experience but if you are anything like me, in the end youíll end up using a controller once the new car smell wears off.

So the swing meter has changed completely from previous years and in my opinion while it has advanced forward I think itís using old school thinking. Golf is a game about tempo and EA has done a fantastic job incorporating tempo into the game. If you tempo is off a little you may hit a ball think or fat and cause an undesirable result. Holes in one and holing out from the fairway, while it can still be done, will be less few and far between. Now honestly, I did hit a hole in one within the first 2 days but ironically it was while playing the Masters which is played on the hardest difficulty. So that was all me baby! I really like the new swing meter and it really has a good mix of both the Tiger Woods arcade feeling as well as some solid simulation style play.

Where do I begin when talking about content in Tiger Woods and the abundant game modes and tasks you have at your disposal? EA packed it all into this yearís game and more. The vast number of courses is enough alone to keep any golfer busy for quite some time. There are pins to collect, courses to master, coins to collect to buy free rounds at DLC courses and so much more. Youíll even get to play as Tiger through the years from the age of 2 to the present and even to the future.

So you want a wide variety of courses? Well dependent on whether you get the normal or CE version of the game youíll have a large host of courses available to you. In the standard edition you get a total of 37 courses (16 of which are actually on the disk) but there is a catch I will get into shortly. The CE version gives you 22 courses on the disk and the other 16 courses are obtainable through DLC.The full list of courses that are available to play almost immediately includes: Atlanta Athletic Club*, Augusta National, Banff Springs*, Bethpage Black Course, Blackwolf Run*, Celtic Manor, Costa Navarino*, Crooked Stick, East Lake, The Els Club, Emerald Dragon*, Greek Isles*, Highlands*, Kiawah, Liberty National*, Oakmont*, Pebble Beach, PGA National*, Pinehurst*, Predator*, Royal Birkdale, Royal County Down, The Royal Melbourne, Spyglass Hill*, St Andrews Links, Torrey Pines, TPC Blue Monster*, The Old White TPC*, TPC San Antonio*, TPC Sawgrass, TPC Scottsdale, Valhalla, Waialae CC*, Whistling Straits*, Wolf Creek* plus a Bonus Course that is unlockable. In that list there are five brand new courses to the franchise.

 
 

So in the list above you can see certain courses marked with an asterisk. The asterisk represents a downloadable course meaning itís not included on the disk with the exception of a few on the CE version. Now of course you could buy the courses outright if you like but for those not willing to shell out the money there is a way to earn them. For free. There is an in game coin currency that you will earn as you just play. These coins can be used to by free rounds on the DLC courses. You just download the course when prompted at the ďBuy RoundsĒ screen and voila, you have the course. But you do not have unlimited rounds on that course yet. You need to Master the course in order to earn unlimited rounds. So in essence, you can get every course for free but youíll definitely be investing some time into rather than money. I personally think itís a brilliant idea and it is basically a reward system for playing the game. Mastering a course to the gold level requires about 6 rounds of good golf play to accumulate the general tasks you need such as 100 Pars or Better on that specific course or 5 Eagles. Just to name two.

Ok, what in the world do I talk about next. I am really serious when I say there is so much content in this game that I canít even begin to touch all of it in this review. So letís touch on the new Country Club feature. This mode allows you to form your own Golf Club of sorts with friends. You can host tournaments, go head to head with each other and even face off against other clubs. Youíll earn status points for everything you do in the game that helps your club gain notoriety and climb the rankings. Youíll even earn special invites to tournaments with other clubs as you climb the ranks.

Another thing I want to mention is the new Pin system. Youíll have all sorts of pins from attribute pins known as boost pins to course pins that give you bonuses when playing that specific course. Before each round you can choose to activate up to 3 pins for the round. The Boost Pins you can activate are: Created Golfer, Driver, Accuracy, Workability, Recovery, Putting, Good Lie, Shot Preview, and XP Multiplier. You will have a certain number of times you can use the pin before you have to buy a new pack of pins to replenish your stock using your in game currency. Decisions, decisions! Do you spend your coins on rounds at DLC courses or do you buy Pin Packs? The choice is yours how you spend your coins. You'll still earn equipment and clothing that have their own boosts and attributes, so no worries there.

As you progress in any of the modes youíll earn XP, coins, Status Points for your Club, and course mastery tasks as well. Iím telling you, this game basically rewards you through and through just for playing it. Now of course youíll have to have some stellar rounds to earn the maximum potential. Gaining XP allows you to build up your created golfer with skill points. As you increase in points for different categories such as Driving and Putting the points will get more expensive in the terms of XP spent.

Finally, Iíll just mention one more game mode an thatís the Legacy mode where you will play as Tiger through the years from childhood to the future. In this mode youíll have specific challenges that you have to meet in order to unlock the next challenge. Oh and you know what? Once again you are gaining Status Points, XP and Coins. So be sure to check out the game mode for some fun and a bit of a Tiger history lesson.

 
 

So of course the game is not perfect, but itís easily the best Tiger in the franchise to date. One of my pet peeves was the fact that at times you didnít always play the ball from where it landed. For instance a few times when I landed beside a bunker when the next screen came up the game placed me deep into the bunker. It was not the result of an unplayable lie or anything. Itís just an annoying glitch that happens here and there and isnít specific to anything really. There is one glaring issue I do want to touch on though. The lips in some of the bunkers are impossible to hit over at times. I am referring to the flat elevated edge. I had a few instances where I was stuck in a bunker and ended up taking the max strokes for a hole because I could not get out. As a matter of fact , it just happened to me on the Dubai course. Very frustrating and while yes you can take a different angle and hit away from the flag stick, itís not the point.

Commentary is so so as usual and honesty I really donít listen to much to them. I did see a few instances where the commentary was jumbled a bit by either the same announcer saying 2 lines at the same time or 2 announcers talking over each other. And finally, while the game looks outstanding there are a few instances of clipping and framerate issues here and there. I tried it on 2 different LCD televisions and got the same result so it wasnít just my hardware. I did have one lock up but couldnít really come up with why it locked up. One other graphical issue I had was with the swing meter blending in with the sky. This is pretty bad at the Dubai course.

Hands down, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 is the total package. With the variety of things you can do in the game and everything being intertwined in one way or another youíll never get bored with this one. Toss in the fact that with some effort in playing time that youíll also be able to unlock all the DLC courses for free. I still can hardly believe that EA took this route but my hats off go to them. They have given you plenty of reason to pour your heart and soul into this game and keep it from collecting dust. Other than the few minor glitches like ball lies drastically changing and the occasional screen stutter this game is solid through and through. Even if you have not been a fan of the Tiger games in the past, I urge you to consider picking this one up. Itís worth every penny and hour you will spend with it. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 is brilliant from beginning to end.

 
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