Imagine yourself on Tea Olive, the first hole of the famed Masters course at Augusta National. Trying to avoid the bunker on the right side of the fairway, you aim your tee shot to the left -- but alas, you push it a bit too far, and it ends up in the trees. You can play conservatively and dig the ball out of the trees onto the fairway before trying for the green, but you're a pro golfer, and you can't afford the extra stroke against the stiff competition.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 (Xbox 360 [previewed], PlayStation 3)
An on-screen trail represents the arc your backswing should follow to execute your shot; a notch on the arc signifies the point at which you should begin swinging forward. You can extend your backswing or swing your club forward more quickly for extra power, but that will afford you a smaller margin of error on the accuracy of your follow-through. Tempo is important, too; a smooth back-and-forth motion is your best bet. Note that the arc of your swing will follow your left-stick motion exactly, thanks to new animations. I pulled back on the stick in all kinds of directions, and watched as my golfer changed his motion to reflect the new swing planes. After the shot, the game will tell you how well you executed your shot, providing information about over/underswinging, tempo, and accuracy.
In PGA Tour 13, hitting the top of the ball will produce a line drive, while aiming low will result in a shot with a high arc. (Of course, you can aim anywhere in between.) On the lower difficulty levels (Amateur and Pro), all you have to do is use the right stick to move the sweet spot cursor to a particular place. But Tour Pro and Tournament require you to hold the right stick in place at that spot while swinging with the left! You can keep the shot even lower -- say, to avoid tree branches -- by moving the ball back in your stance and hitting it from your back foot. The game also lets you open or close your stance to add draw or fade, respectively, to your shot. According to EA, all the permutations provided by Total Swing Control add up to about 62.5 million possible shots.
Last year, EA Tiburon redesigned the game around The Masters, delivering an experience like no other in a truncated development cycle. With a full year in the oven, PGA Tour 13 looks like it could provide the franchise's most significant change since the introduction of analog-stick swinging.