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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 Review

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 Box art
Developer:EA Sports
Publisher:Electronic Arts
Genre:Sport (Golf)
Platform:PC
Official Site:http://common.ea-europe.com/tiger/
Release Date:October 7th (UK)
Reviewer:Matthew Irvin (hobgoblin)
Buy now at Amazon.co.uk

Graphics

Visually tiger woods 06 is both handsome and beautiful. With all the detail turned up full (assuming your machine can handle it) it is one fine looking game, especially the course environments. You see everything from windswept grass to convincing water effects and elegant lighting gives a sense of ‘place’ to the game. This effect is evident all the way down to the weather. So, for instance, try teeing off on a dull, gloomy morning at pebble beach and try to feel optimistic about the round. The same can be said of the rainy, wind swept St. Andrews course and in fact every course in the game.

These graphics do come at a price, however. Even on my gaming rig which is rather powerful, I did experience the occasional frame rate hiccups, some so severe that it caused me to mess up my swing. There is also the odd graphical glitch in the animations such as golfers swinging in weird positions. If you have the power though, it will be put to good use in this game. If you however have a low end card then detail and frame rate may be lacking, beware.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 screenshot 1 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 screenshot 2 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 screenshot 4 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 screenshot 4

Sound

Commentary is once again given by David Feherty and Gary McCord, but then again, this is nothing new for Tiger fans, who have come to be used to the witty repartee and easy accord between the two commentators. Other sounds such as birds chirping and the blowing wind all sound really good to me although I don’t claim to be an audiophile by any means. It would however have been nice to have heard that lovely "PING" off the tee as u strike the ball a bit more often, you have to strike the ball almost perfectly before you do. Still, it's not like sound effects are really of major importance in a golf game but what effects are there, are perfectly fine. There's little or no music to speak of either, save for a few unoffensive menu tunes that almost no-one will ever pay any attention to.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 screenshot 5 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 screenshot 6 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 screenshot 7 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 screenshot 8

Gameplay

Tiger woods 06 for consoles is a very enjoyable game, though one that (as in previous years) lacked in challenge. This is not the case for pc users. There is enough compelling gameplay and challenge to keep you engaged for ages. If you’ve played tiger woods on the xbox or ps2 (which I have) you will be familiar with most of the options used in the PC version, like rivals mode, pga tour mode and game face. Each option has been tailored specifically for the pc’s flexibility, and the result is more fun and challenge across the board.

Take the PGA tour mode, for example. The console version consists of you starting off with a standard character with set attributes (face and body customisable of course) and playing through the weekly or monthly events and trying to beat the pro’s. The PC version however has you starting off as a golfing hack with absolutely no skill with a golf club. You visit your home golf course with your friends on weekends and try to beat them at standard stroke play and match play etc. and at the end of the year you enter the hack golf tournament.

Along the way you have specific goals you have to achieve in order to progress to the next level, such as minimum amount of tournaments played, a certain scoring average and winning tournaments. Apart from that you can enter as many tournaments as you like (providing you have the cash to enter and pay travelling costs).

Progression up through the ranks of golf’s greatest feels like a natural evolution. Once you’ve created your golfer with the game face its time to hit the links. You have a long way to go however before you join the ranks of Tiger Woods and Ernie Els. For starters you will find it hard to hit even 200 yards with a default golfer, and only by earning experience points and assigning them to the 5 attributes, namely power, long game, shot mastery, short game and putting, will start to look like a real golfer. Each attribute point assigned makes a real difference to each stroke taken, and there are shots which you have to unlock and master via lessons which also come into play.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 screenshot 9 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 screenshot 10 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 screenshot 11 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 screenshot 12

The rivals mode is basically match play all the way. You go back in time to play matches against history’s greatest golfers like old Tom Morris and Arnold Palmer. The idea of this mode is to defeat all comers thus becoming the greatest golfer of all time. In previous versions of Tiger Woods these characters you played against all seem a little easy to me, but in this version you can't sit back and expect them to 3 putt all the time and cruise to victory. As you complete the challenges in this mode you will unlock new things like clothes and accessories which you can use in the game face.

Online play is good fun mostly, although I don’t like the new ‘ready play’ option which easports have incorporated. This option basically lets everybody play through the hole as soon as they are ready, instead of having to watch each player take his shot in turn. While this feature does speed up the games it kind of goes against the camaraderie that is golf and there isn’t much time for friendly banter when a shot goes wrong. That aside there is a good variety of games and options when playing a game online. The user interface, while tacky, is easy to use and allows quick access to online tournaments and games of each type and skill level. While there is a rating system, the one thing missing from this version which I hoped they would implement was a ranking system for novices and intermediate users.

Summary

All in all Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 is an excellent game with tons of challenge and enough to do to keep you busy for ages and ages. That combined with online play should make this game a must for all golf fans, and yes even those that aren’t really golfing fans. For those of you that own tiger woods 2005 and want to know whether its worthwhile paying for the latest version, the answer is yes most definitely.

Good stuff

  • Superb graphics
  • Excellent playability both online and off

Not so good stuff

  • Occasional graphical glitches
  • Lack of ranking system online


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