Players: 1 to 2 Player Game | Release Date: 10/27/02 | Genre: Sports
Over the past few years the Tiger Woods series has dominated the PS2 in a genre of sports that has been seldom touched by other companies. The only other golf game on the Playstation 2 was Hot Shots Golf 3, which is an arcade golf title. With no real competition Tiger Woods PGA Tour has always been the King of golf on the PS2. Even with no competition EA Sports has always made a great golf game. Does this trend continue for EA?
To start off, the game begins with frustration. The game modes option is not available until you first successfully finish the training mode, which is fairly short. Games like these should be user friendly and should have these options available. The crew behind Tiger Woods PGA Tour has dedicated a great amount to adding more game modes, which include stroke play, match play, online, speed golf, tiger challenge, my career, etc. The most in depth mode is the career mode, which places in a position of a golfer who is an amateur. You must work your way from the amateurs to become one of the best golfers in the world. One similarity that almost all of the game modes share is the new camera mode, which allows you to see the hole no matter where you are on the hole. Using this camera you can position your shot properly in accordance to the hole. One new interesting feature in the career mode is the new addition of an online stat tracking system. You can take your high scores from your tournaments and put them on the web for others to view and break as well. A good majority of the game supports up to four players. The multiplayer features are fun and addictive especially when you have three friends over.
The game also includes new courses from the Scotland and custom-made courses by EA Sports. One of the coolest features in the game is the course creation tool. The player is given the option of creating a course with simple tools. One of the other problems I have with this game is how some of the holes seem very similar to one another. You get the initial feeling that you have already played this hole before. There is a large returning cast of all-star golfers, which range from Vijay Sing, to Davis Love. The golfer selection screen is where another issue in the gameplay pops up. There is a wide range of golfers to choose from but most of the professional golfers are locked out with the exception of Tiger Woods.
It seems that EA has taken a side approach towards developing an arcade title. Some of the characters that EA included are more humorous than real. This may present a problem to hardcore simulation golf fans but this addition shouldn't take too much of the realism away. With all of the game modes though there is one down point on the game modes. There is no official PGA tour mode. The career mode mimics the PGA tour to some extent but not fully. This really doesn't make Tiger Woods PGA tour as authentic as it really could be. Even with the games minor issues it still stands out as a true console winner in golf.
On the outside the game looks very pretty, but sadly that cannot be said for everything in the graphics department. The weather affects are amazing especially with water, fog and sun showing up in separately during each course. The tall grass effects are well done as well. The courses and golfers look very well detailed but the game suffers from frequent slow downs. Sometimes when the ball is either rolling on the green or fairway the frame rate does take some noticeable hits. Some textures appear bland on the course especially the fairway, which look toned down from everything else. The game's loading times are amazingly quick.
EA Sports has stuck with announcers David Feherty and Bill Macatee. They both do a tremendous job of commentating and also do a great job of bringing the great sport of golf into your living room. Bill Macatee is always in the EA Sports booth commenting on player's approaches to different holes while David Feherty is placed on the course following the golfers and analyzes each individual move a golfer attempts. The new EA trax mode has been incorporated into this year's version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour. The soundtrack is nothing short of great. The music goes along well with all of the game menus.
The controls are probably where most gamers will have their issues with this game. I am no exception. For those who are amateurs and have not played much of the Tiger Woods series you may find yourself frustrated at crucial times. To swing and hit the ball is either the left or right joystick, which sometimes can prove to frustrating. If you do not move the joystick from down to up in a straight line your shot will curve and leave you in a difficult situation. The most difficult part of Tiger Woods 2003 is the putting system. Even though the new option of using a camera to anticipate where the shot is headed was added it does not help a great deal when putting. When you are on the green and you activate the camera by pressing O, a new angle will appear with a line going through the direction the ball will be headed. The problem lies in the distance the ball will travel. If the arrow is pointed on the very top of the hole your shot will usually fall short. You will need to position your arrow just a little past the whole so the ball does not lip out or miss the hole by an inch. Veterans of the Tiger Woods series should have little or no problem grasping this game's controls.
With a full dish of game modes to choose from you won't be playing anything else for a while. The minor issues in the game take a bite out of some of the game modes. The career mode will have the simulation fans hooked onto this game while the other modes of play should attract fans of the multiplayer sports games. The game is not perfect because of the many flaws that hindered the gameplay but it will be the best golf game you will find on any console. Hopefully next year EA Sports can make some more improvements in perfecting this title and hopefully in the future make the online feature even deeper. Fans of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002 should check this one out but amateurs might want to rent this one first.