Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (XB)

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (XB)
Publisher: EASports
Developer: EASports
Genre: Sports
Release Date: 9/20/2004

EA Sports’s annual golf-fest has hit store shelves again this September in the form of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005. New to this season’s edition on the Xbox is finally the addition of online play via Xbox Live, mixed with an incredible amount of single-player depth.

Let’s review…



Story

As has been the tradition the past several years, EA requires you to play a mandatory tutorial before you can do ANYTHING at all in the game. Once you survive the boring ordeal of practicing all the strokes,, you’ll be offered plenty of goodies to keep you weekends filled throughout the fall and winter.

Features returning this season include Real-Time Events, which are based along with your system’s internal clock as well as the PGA Tour Season mode. The real-time events range from obscure people’s birthdays (Diego Diaz, anyone?) to special holiday tournaments. Like Nintendo’s Animal Crossing, unless you manipulate your system’s clock, the real-time events give you reason to turn on the game on specific days throughout the entire year… as they are ONLY offered on the day of the event and each provides an exclusive reward.

One of the cooler little tidbits EA added to the RTEs is that the conditions will vary based on what time you play the game. If you do your challenge at 10:45pm at night ‘your match takes place in the dark, lit by only moonlight. Little features such as that really emphasize the fact that you”re playing on a specific day and time, and add to the overall fun.


PGA Tour Season also returns, giving you a full slate of four-day tournaments based loosely on the real-life PGA tour. In most cases, you basically play the same 18 holes four times in a row, which may get boring to some gamers at times. However the end result is generally worth it if you”re good, as the purse prize for the tourneys are much higher than any other event that the game has to offer right off the bat.

Using the Tour Season in the early going is a very good way to boost your attributes in a hurry. Attributes can be purchased in the incredible “GameFace II’mode, which we”ll talk about a bit later.

The final noteworthy addition is the more detailed Legend Challenges. Greats such as Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus lead stables of oddball opponents (including Justin “The Hustler’Timberlake) that you must defeat in match play in order to challenge the legends. Not to be outdone, Tiger Woods himself also has a pod of legend challenges, but you must defeat all other legend pods before even starting with him? Fair? Perhaps not, but it is his game afterall.

Overall, the depth is unbelievably deep for offline single-player game. Repitition may get to some gamers, but for the hardcore and even semi-hardcore Tiger Woods PGA fans, the modes will keep you busy for the long run.

Story: 9.0/10

Graphics

Admittedly, this is the first edition that I”ve played on the Xbox since jumping ship from last year”s version that I played on the Playstation 2 ‘although I must say there is a huge difference graphically between those two versions of the game. The Xbox features so much detail in both the players and the individual courses. The colors of the greens and roughs is very true and lifelike, and almost every course has a very unique look and feel to make it different from the others.

Each player has an unbelievable detail, and it could be argued that the player faces are the most realistic of every sports game spanning all genres. The GameFace feature has been improved even more in the slightly renamed “GameFace II”, which offers a more detailed Create-A-Player than any other game ever released, and THAT is undisputed.

GameFace II now allows you to customize and create tattoos, moles, and every other facial feature imaginable ‘to go along with the customizable details of every feature on the human body. Creating yourself can be a long ‘yet fun process, which myself involved yelling for people to come near the TV screen to help coach me into the exact location of my eyebrows and depth of forehead. It simply doesn”t get any better than this, and other genres that provide a Create-A mode should take notes and learn from this incredible feature.

The only noticeable glitch in the otherwise perfect area of visuals is the “deep’roughs on some holes. The “longer’grass is inconsistent, with only certain strands of grass being long ‘it basically looks like a few weeds coming out of the fairway and for a game so perfect graphically, the “deep’rough looks minor league compared to everything else surrounding it. Without the glitch, it”d be hard to fault the graphics in virtually any area.

Graphics 9.0/10

Sound

The usual announcers are back from another run, and are well-prepared to taunt and mock you every step of the way. No sign of delays or misplaced sound bites, as the announcers flow is perfectly fluid throughout. Whether you find their quips irritating or not is left solely up to the gamer, but I found that proving the announcers wrong was well worth listening to them when they”d mock your abilities.

In recent years, EA has boasted pretty deep soundtracks for almost every game they”ve released, but it seems as if they”ve taken a break with Tiger Woods 2005. While EA Trax seems to include a playlist unless you mess and manipulate, you”re likely to hear a remixed version of “The Way You Move’by Outkast over and over throughout your journeys through the main menus. Obviously, no soundtrack is appropriate while you”re playing, so the overall sound throughout the game isn”t too spectacular.

Sound: 6.5/10.0

Control

The easy and fluid controls are back this season and a few minor changes will make a huge difference for long-time Tiger fans. You”ll still use the analog trigger to make your swing, and in the Xbox version use the black button to control spin and the white to control the power on your swing. New this season is the ability to basically push or pull your ball to compensate for wind or a dog-legged hole. You can intentionally arch your shot by pushing the analog stick at a diagnol depending on which direction you want to hit the ball.


The mandatory training helps you learn the new push and pulls, but through several tournaments, legend challenges, and online play I have yet to actually use the new feature in a game as of yet. Expert Tiger players may welcome the challenge, but generally speaking you should do fine simply aiming your shot the old fashioned way. In either case, the controls are still as solid as ever, and little additions will give the diehards something new to practice.

Control: 8.5/10

Balance

This is what you call one perfectly balanced sports game. This year”s edition finally allows you to take your game online via Xbox Live to give you a healthy dose of real life competition. Those without the online itch have several different modes to add plenty of variety to GOLF! Considering the genre, it”s hard to find too many balance problems, but in the end, it”s still a golf game.

Balance: 7.0/10

Replayability

Nothing that hasn”t been covered already, a perfect mix of modes and online play will keep golf fans happy for quite some time. People who aren”t fans of golf and are just looking for a sports game of some kind may find the variety of courses very similar and eventually boring, quite similar actually to real life golf fans. In the end, if you enjoy golf at all, you should have enough to keep you coming back ‘especially Xbox owners this season with Live play. PS2 owners may not have quite as much as a bump jumping from 2004 to the 2005 edition.

Replayability 8.0/10

Originality

We have to cover all the categories, so here is one that will hurt all sports games. Tiger Woods isn”t exactly something we”ve never seen before, in fact, if the franchise were a child, it”d be in grade school by now. Links 2004 was the first Xbox golf game to go online, so again, TW isn”t being revolutionary by making the jump to Live. The depth and Real-Time events are what set them apart, and the RTEs qualify in my book for originality points ‘even if they were in last year”s edition. Stretching the score as best I can to aÃÆ’¢?ÃÆ'”šÃ‚¦

Originality: 6.0/10

Addictiveness

To make this category fresh by not beating a dead horse that I”ve covered in other areas, I”ll use my own personal experience as a testament to TW”s addictiveness. This is the fourth year I have possessed the Tiger Woods series, and I found myself to play the last two editions less and less, with my EA Sports BIO to prove this fact. While EA”s BIO system (which is notably missing from TW 2005) generally scares myself as well as my social life, my current time of play on last seasons Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 was 1 hour 43 minutes.

Maybe it”s that I switched from the PS2 to the Xbox. Maybe it”s the wide variety of new modes. Maybe I”m narcissistic and simply enjoy watching a very similar likeness of myself on the television screen. Or maybe I”m just practicing up for some eventual tournament wins on Xbox Live. In any case, I have yet to stop playing Tiger Woods since its release, despite several other major releases hitting store shelves in recent weeks (Def Jam Fight For NY, Fable, Burnout 3, Silent Hill 4, NHL 2005, etc.) Something about it just has me hooks, and you only need to look at this review for the reasons why. I don”t consider myself one of the hardcore Tiger Woods following, but this year it has me finally becoming one.

Again, this is only my personal experience, so others may find playing season mode tournament courses again and again (four in a row) may see and exploit cases of repitition. I didn”t.

Addictiveness: 8.0/10

Appeal

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 will hook and own the lives of diehard golf fans. It will lure and hook casual fans (such as myself), and could quite easily attract new fans as well. Others may simply hate golf, find them all to be the same, or be content playing a previous version of Tiger to their hearts content. To each his/her own, but golf definitely has the niche that will leave some specific gamers extremely happy.

Appeal: 7.0/10

Miscellaneous

The game has finally arrived on Xbox Live, and some may actually be a bit disappointed. Last year, Microsoft released Links 2004 on the Xbox Live/XSN service and allowed four player simultaneous action that was quick and innovative. Tiger on Live only supports two players. Use of the communicator headset will be more personal, and tournaments will provide depth, but failure to provide four-player action may upset some people, who will simply have to hope and wait until next season. After two years of negotiations, Xbox Live fans should simply be happy the franchise is even ON Xbox Live as we speak.


The final notable addition that you may have seen in the ads is the addition of “Tiger Proofing”, which is the ability to edit and manipulate courses to make them more difficult. You have the ability to make the traps deeper or shorter, increase or decrease the lengths of the greens, fairways, and roughs, and even change the colors! Ever seen an orange putting green? You can make one for one trippy course. The tougher you make it, the higher your “Prestige Rating”.

Tiger Proofing may be overlooked by many who are in favor of simply playing actual golf. The feature is there, and can be fun to try if you”re looking for a change of pace or want some extra holes to play with against your friends’such as a contest as to who can make the toughest course? In either case, its there and is something those who may be interested in being a future Golf Course Management Pro ‘or not – can enjoy or appreciate.

Miscellaneous: 7.0/10

Ratings
Story: 9/10
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 6.5/10
Control: 8.5/10
Balance: 7/10
Replayability: 8/10
Originality: 6/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Appeal: 7/10
Misc: 7/10

With Reviewers Tilt: 7.5/10