Tiger Woods’ extramarital affairs made headlines last year, but in spite of his off-the-golf-course troubles, EA Sports forged ahead with the 2010 release of their annual golf franchise. However, Tiger shares the cover spotlight this year with the young North Irish phenom Rory McIlroy, a telling decision.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 (PlayStation 3 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Wii, iPhone)
The mode works well because you don’t have to rely on your CPU teammates. A scorecard between holes lets you know how your side’s other two-person teams are doing; if you notice that a group is struggling, you can take control of them yourself and lend a hand. The only thing I didn’t like about the Cup’s implementation is that once you begin a match, you’re in for the long haul. There’s no way to save your progress during a round; you have to play all 18 holes in one sitting and can only back out to the main menu after completing one of the five rounds. It can take quite a long time to make your way through a full course, especially when four players are involved, so this is a maddening oversight.
Longtime PGA Tour players who find the core shot-making mechanic too easy finally have an option available to provide a tougher challenge: the new True-Aim mode. Here, you won’t have an aiming circle that shows your shot’s approximate landing area; instead, all you’ll get are distance markers along the course. From there, you have to take into account your ball’s lie, the wind, draw/fade, and elevation, in order to select the proper club for your shot. In addition, you’ll see variable wind this year (i.e., the wind won’t be a constant 5 mph; instead, it might range from 4–8 mph with gusts up to 11 mph), and even if you hit your ball perfectly, it’s no longer guaranteed to land dead center in the aiming circle. With the usual videogame concessions taken away, you feel much more like a real golfer.
Like Tiger before the scandal, the PGA Tour series is a paradigm of consistency. Year in and year out, EA Tiburon delivers reliably solid, if unremarkable, golf games. This year is no different: there isn’t anything about Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 that will blow you away, but a host of notable improvements and additions make this a worthwhile upgrade for die-hard fans of the series and a great choice for golf lovers everywhere. Woods himself may be struggling to regain his form, but Tiburon hasn’t lost its stroke.
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