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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 Review

Developer: EA Redwood Shores Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: October 17, 2006 Also On: None

Last year’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 launched with the Xbox 360 in a good fashion, standing among the best of the launch’s numerous sports titles. Last year I concluded my review of Tiger 06 saying, “I hope next year’s version of Tiger is fleshed out and features more while continuing to improve on the great gameplay.” Well, Tiger 07 is just that game I hoped for. It’s a fleshed-out and well-done edition of a fine sports franchise, and now stands near the top of the Xbox 360’s stack of sports titles.

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Tiger 06 initially whipped me. It beat me into shape and forced me to learn the subtle things about golf, the things that make the ball roll just a little closer or land at a better spot on the course. It, however, could eventually become the easiest video game around. Tiger 07 looks to change this, forcing even more realistic difficulty into the gameplay. The core mechanics remain mostly unchanged–you still swing dynamically with the left analog stick, pulling back to backswing and pushing forward to foreswing. However, this year’s game has a little twist; rather than Tiger 06’s arrow that showed you where exactly your ball should land, Tiger 07 features a wide aiming area on each shot. This circular area represents where your ball can possibly land. Unless the golfer makes perfect contact and accurately judges the lie, the wind, and the spin on the ball, it is entirely possible for the ball to end up yards away from where it was intended to land.

Fortunately it’s as simple as ever to take a shot and after practice it’s quite easy to learn all of Tiger’s tricks. Things like the wind and the lie only require a little time to get a feel for. I noticed that hitting the ball off of the side of a hill now has a very dramatic effect on where it will go in the air, and it feels almost like backspin and topspin on the ball no longer send the ball flying in the intended direction when it lands. Though the game is noticeably tougher and definitely punishing, Tiger 07 is difficult to put down.

You’ll start Tiger 07 by creating your golfer with the deep Game Face system. My golfer looked so much like me that it was almost scary to look at him on the course. Following that, the game offers a long and engaging career mode; one that sends you week after week playing through tournaments at familiar courses like Riviera, Pinehurst, and Pebble Beach as well as Bandon Dunes, Carnoustie, Firestone Country Club, and more. The amount of courses I just rambled off is equal to last year’s puny list of six, and Tiger 07 features even more. Similar to real life, getting better in your career can only be done by playing more. At first, this is difficult; your golfer’s initially a total chump on the course. By performing golfing drills, competing in golfing games, and most simply, playing, your golfer’s stats will raise and your on-the-course performance will improve. All of the stat changes are dynamic. By hitting a lot of lucky shots, your Luck stat will increase. Getting close on approach shots will improve your overall Approach stat, and using the game’s Power Boost ability (jam a button to increase the power of a shot in mid-swing), you’ll benefit from a bigger Power Boost stat. Tiger 07 doesn’t give you a lot of freebies; to get better at the game you just have to play more. After a while you’ll be blasting the ball down the fairway and having no trouble with that aiming area.

Tiger 06 looked great on the Xbox 360, and somehow Tiger 07’s added even more detail to the beautiful courses. EA’s Universal Capture technology looks great on Tiger Woods but all of the other characters animate well and swing animations look great. The fans that crowd the course are a little too numerous but it’s interesting and cool to see them walk towards your ball and follow you around the course. The commentary, done by the same two fellows from Tiger 06, isn’t much different. It’s very appropriate to golf, and it’s fun to hear them mock each other from time to time. I especially like when one of them calls my shot incorrectly and the other says, “What are you talking about? That was a great shot!” Every virtual golfer needs a confidence boost from time to time.

Tiger 07 plays better than any Tiger before it, it looks beautiful, it sounds great, it comes chock-full of modes…the list goes on and on; EA Redwood did a fantastic job. As a result, the second next-gen golf title is a winner. Though it’s a little tough at first, Tiger 07 has few flaws and it’s one of the better next-gen sports titles. Virtual golfers should definitely check it out.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 6.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 8.3
Written by Cliff Review Guide