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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 Review

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Developer: Sensory Sweep Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: December 14, 2004 Also On: None

Golf isn’t the most exciting sport in the world, but, in the last few years, it has seen its popularity increase. The reason is fairly simple to identify. His name is Tiger Woods. He has taken golf by storm, and thus, it is no wonder that EA’s golf games now bear his name. And with the release of the DS and its unique touch-screen abilities, it made sense to release a golf game soon into its life cycle. EA’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour was that game. But is it worth playing? Read on to find out.

Graphically, the DS version is obviously toned down from its peer console versions due to the DS’ capability limitations. Still, the graphics look decent for a DS launch title, especially a third party one. The characters look good enough as to be identifiable, and so do the courses, with the courses even being in slightly different color schemes to, I assume, display the terrain differences between the various courses. Everything looks as good as could reasonably be expected at the game’s time of release, so I have no real complaints.

So far as sound is concerned, my main complaint is the lack of it. There is music when you’re surfing the menus, although it isn’t the normal licensed stuff that EA usually uses for their console games. But there is no voice acting in the actual golf, not even one-liners like Madden 2005 had. There are some ambient sound effects occasionally like waves of water on water holes, and you can hear applause or oohing and aahing depending on how the shots go. Those sounds sound good, and are appropriate, but the rest of the game is too silent. It isn’t a make or break issue. It just means that maybe you should consider having a radio on or something when you play the game.

In terms of gameplay, this is a golf game. Instead of having a three-click swing mechanism, or even the back and forward motion of an analog stick, this game revolves around use of the touchscreen. There is an icon on the touchscreen where you can swipe your stylus down at an angle and then straight up to determine the power of your shots and also whether they draw or fade and how much. This mechanic for taking shots works very well, especially after you take some time to get used to it, and was the closest approximation to the real thing ever in a video game, at least until Wii Golf was released.

Before doing that though, you can use the touch screen to change the distance and direction that you are aiming, and the game automatically changes which club you use depending on how far you aim. This works fairly well also, and is significantly less cumbersome than having to use buttons like in the console versions. The stylus works well for just about everything in this game, actually, and makes it easier even to navigate the menus.

However, the putting interface I could have done without. Once again, you aim with the stylus, but you are aiming based on a grid compared to the hole and hitting the button that, for other shots, would bring up the shot thing, just hits the ball. The problem is that aiming for putts isn’t easy. You’re given caddy advice by inches and each square of the grid seems to represent a yard, so it’s very sensitive and hard to do right. You may get used to it over time, but it will take a while.

In terms of game modes, you can play stroke play or match play in exhibition either in single player or in multiplayer if each player has a game card. There’s also a legends tour that you can play through with your created golfer, and, like in the console versions, you earn money to upgrade your created golfer’s abilities. This is a reasonable amount of modes for a handheld game, and it makes for a good amount of game length and replay value. The game does have fewer courses and selectable real golfers than the console versions, but has enough to make the game last a reasonable amount of time, especially since some of them have to be unlocked.

In conclusion, Tiger Woods PGA Tour might not have as much stuff to offer as its console brethren, but as the flagship golf game on the DS, it is pretty good, and it gave a good showing for what golf games on the system could have become. For whatever reason though, it has not yet seen a direct sequel. Therefore, if you are a fan of golf and you are a DS owner, this game is probably worth considering.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 5
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7.2
Written by Martin Review Guide