It is still computer golf's de facto standard, worthy of consideration even by those who previously purchased last year's model.
Arm outstretched, Tiger Woods points defiantly toward the camera on the front panel of his latest namesake PC golfing game, thus stealing a page from the legendary Uncle Sam "I want you!" pose. But what is he really saying? "I want you...to buy this game?" or "I want you...to stop hero-worshipping Vijay?" Whatever the case, Mr. Woods remains the big box office draw despite the ageless Singh's incredible year and deserved new world number one ranking. Whether we'll one day have a Vijay Singh PGA Tour 2006 is somehow doubtful, but one thing is clear: EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour remains the uncontested champion of virtual golf, even if the man himself currently is not.
Sporting a bevy of upgrades and alterations--including a revamped Game Face utility that may have you spending more time conceiving digital players than putting them into action, the new "legends tour" mode, wherein you climb a competitive ladder to square off against such luminaries as Ben Hogan and Gary Player, and a nifty course-warping tool that custom converts even relatively sedate venues into supreme tests of skill--Tiger 2005 is more sophisticated and engaging than anything prior. Though the game doesn't introduce any serious gameplay mechanic advancements and though it remains weighed down by several quirks that become only more annoying with time, it is still computer golf's de facto standard, worthy of consideration even by those who previously purchased last year's model.
Indeed, one of the most newsworthy developments over the course of the last year is the ongoing absence of a Tiger rival. Microsoft's once-vaunted Links series hasn't seen an update since 2003 and it does not appear to be reappearing anytime soon. As for other alternatives, the horizon looks as bleak as a rainy morning at Troon. Yet even if one or more Tiger alternatives did currently exist, chances are they'd simply be too inferior to effectively battle the genre leader.
Tiger developer Headgate Studios has been designing golf games since Sierra Entertainment's 1997 release, Front Page Sports Golf. In Sierra's subsequent long-running PGA Championship Golf series, Headgate really came to life, fashioning revolutionary advancements such as the mouse-movement swing and fully animated golfers, thus proving just how entertaining and fully interactive computer golf could be. Its technical aptitude wasn't yet on par with that of the generally acknowledged top gun of the time, Access Software's otherwise comparatively staid and traditional Links, but together they lay waste to other competitors. The fact that just one of the two is currently active at least partially verifies which tactic proved to be superior.
Today, Tiger is an unparalleled smorgasbord of golfing delights that packs no less than 11 courses into its three-CD 2005 format. Granted, that's seven fewer than last year's 18-course edition, though Tiger 2005 features a total of eight brand-new courses to Tiger 2004's five. For the fantasy fans, the game features the Australian outback-inspired Red Mountain Creek and the gorgeous Asian masterpiece, Emerald Dragon. Word to the wise--venture to the latter only if you dare. It may well be one of the most difficult courses to ever emerge from Headgate. New real-life, licensed courses include California's Sherwood Country Club, South Africa's diverse Links at Fancourt, and Arizona's red rock paradise Troon North Monument course. Returning favorites include Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, and TPC at Sawgrass. It almost goes without saying that Tiger 2005 delivers virtually every form of golfing environment on the planet--and even a few that aren't.
The roster of available competitors is better than ever, though it still lacks some of pro golf's most notable standouts. Though you will find Woods, Singh, John Daly, Colin Montgomerie, and the curiously fashionable Jesper Parnevik, you won't see top-rung players such as Phil Mickelson or Ernie Els. The LPGA is also poorly represented by any stretch of the imagination, with last year's holdover Nancy Gulbis being the only participant.
Yet it's in its depiction of fantasy players that the game truly excels. Not only has Headgate supplied 14 prebuilt imaginary characters--including several that look like they should be anywhere but a golf course--but also it has provided a godlike control over the design of new personas. Deemed Game Face II, this highly addictive, in-game player-creation utility is quite possibly the finest to grace any sport game to date. The question isn't whether you want a long or a short nose or beady versus large eyes, but instead how incredibly detailed you want them to be. A nose design, for instance, will include the following parameters: nose length, width, slope, and depth; nostril height and width; the presence or lack of left and right nose moles; and the choice of four types of nostril and bridge piercings. Impressively, each alteration is displayed incrementally in real time. When you factor all the minute parameters and adjustments available in the Game Face utility--including such trivial elements as jewelry, tattoos, and even freckle or age spot density--you have literally millions of different possibilities. And that's not even counting the game's wide range of player-skill attributes.
Indeed, it's not just the stunning exactitude through which a player can be created that sells the whole routine, but the amazing humanness of each new character once he or she is on the course. Never has a golf game featured such a massive roster of believable player animations and expressive faces. That each character looks so good to begin with and so smoothly transitions from one action to another, is yet one more precedent for this already standard-setting series.
As for the world that surrounds each of your golfers, the news on this issue is both encouraging and slightly disappointing. On the upside, each environment is wonderfully "alive." Trees, foliage, and flags move with the wind. Flocks of birds soar through the sky, clouds and translucent low fog roll across the screen, and ocean waves pound against the shoreline at locations such as Pebble Beach. Lakes, meandering streams, and water hazards look lustrous and liquid, veritably glistening in the sunlight and accepting errant shots with a kerplunk and a splash. Elegant lens-flare effects materialize at the most opportune moments, framing your golfer's silhouette in the glow of the late afternoon or early morning sunshine. And, as usual, painstaking graphic detail is evident throughout.
- Player Reviews: 17
- Game Universe:
- CyberTiger (N64, PS, GBC),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2000 (PC, PS),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf (PS, PC, PS2),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 (GBA, GC, PS2, XBOX, PC, NGE, MOBILE),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002 (PS2, PC),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 (PS2, GC, PC, XBOX, MAC),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (PS2, GC, XBOX, PC, DS, MOBILE, MAC),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour (PSP),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 (PC, MOBILE, X360, XBOX, PS2, PSP, GC),
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 (PS2, WII, PSP, X360, XBOX, PC, PS3)
- Offline Modes:
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players: