Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters Review
|March 29th, 2011 (UK)
|Andy Hemphill (Bandit)
How can there possibly be so many PGA games? I can't get my head around it. How can there be so many? How can EA keep re-releasing the same sort of thing over and over, and people keep buying it? It makes no sense.
This game, however - Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters (I'll just call it 'Masters') - actually offers something new: the official digitized version of the Augusta National course - the Masters itself. In fact, in many ways, the course takes the spotlight this time around, leaving Tiger in the background - not that he isn't still regularly popping up.
Along with the usual selection of courses, which includes St Andrews and it's ilk, Augusta is the true star of the game, offering golf fans the chance to play on the hallowed turf and try for that green jacket.
Of course, being as I'm not very good at golf games, I never got that far - 36 over-par isn't exactly brilliant...
Gameplay-wise, Masters follows the system created by previous PGA games, allowing the gamer to select the strength and angle of the particular stroke with the analogue sticks to a surprisingly accurate degree.
The ease of this system allows even a golf-noob like me hit huge drives or delicate putts with equal skill, though the finesse required for some of the more difficult shots takes some getting used to - the analogue stick isn't the best tool for soft uphill putts.
The game also provides you with a caddy - who will dispense advice when asked for it - and is usually pretty helpful, minus the sometimes puzzling dispensation for huge drivers when a three-wood is needed.
There's also an in-depth practice mode and plenty of help on hand, should you need it, and if you don't fancy honing your chip you can try to match some of the great moments of golfing instead.
This mode allows the gamer to try to recreate moments from golfing legends, stretching all the way back to the 1950s, and offers a nice distraction from the main game - the career mode.
Like previous titles, the meat of Masters is the create-a-golfer mode, which allows the gamer to dream up a golfer of any size or sex and work your way up from club part-timer to the big time, earning sponsorship from big names like Addidas or Nike, training up your shots and eventually trading blows with the golfing greats of the current season.
This part of the game sucks you in pretty well, and watching your golfer gradually reach the big time is great fun - especially with the commentators' spiel gradually becoming less hostile and more respectful as you rise through the ranks.
The game is also pretty challenging, the professionals putting up the sort of fight you would expect from people skilled enough to be comped into a computer game - punishing any spooned shot with the professionalism you would expect.
The physics is also spot on, the ball behaving exactly how you would expect it to, and the adaptive camera keeps your eye on the action - which is just the thing when you're stuck in a bunker and need a decent angle on the green.
Aside from the singleplayer, the game also offers a robust and fun multiplayer mode which, despite the sometimes oddly difficult lag, is a fun addition, allowing the gamer to try his or her swing out against other players across the world on the large selection of courses - thankfully, the matchmaking works as well.
Aside from the commentators' repetitive nattering, the game's sound effects are pretty good, with the voiceovers being spot-on - and the meaty sound of a driver striking the ball as clear as ever.
Graphically the game looks pretty sharp as well. Though the crowds who eventually cluster around your tee are still pretty low-res, the course itself is a riot of green fairways in the summer and auburn-coloured trees as winter approaches. The motion capture is also brilliantly done - even in the often-hilarious gestures of annoyance when your superstar golfer fluffs that easy birdie.
Overall, Masters is another solid offering from EA. Though the addition of the Augusta National is a nice touch, there's nothing really innovative and new, aside from the chatty caddie. While I would recommend the game, if you already own PGA tour 11, and aren't big on the Masters, I'd think before parting with your cash. The only real shame is that there's no 'Tiger Woods' outrun your golf club-wielding wife' mode...
- Augusta National included
- Chatty caddy mode is very useful
- Good graphics
- Addictive gameplay
Not so good stuff
- Predictable and repetitive game modes
- Low-res crowds spoil the beautiful graphics
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