Here’s the thing about Tiger Woods: If you tweak the settings appropriately, it’s a fun, challenging golf game. If you play at the defaults, it’s a too-easy, arcade-y piece of crap. After we double-eagled a par-5 on our third hole with a miraculous 95-yard hole-in, we figured something screwy was afoot. The longer we played, the screwier things got.
In just a few hours of play, we managed to make more 80-foot putts, eagles, and insanely long chip-ins than an accomplished amateur could expect to make in a lifetime of regular, real-world play. Hell, we even made a hole-in-one! Once we changed the difficulty from Mickey Mouse, the game became more fun. However, the difficulty gap between the default Novice setting and the Intermediate setting is massive. Intermediate is downright hard. Ideally, there would be one more level between the two that omits the miracle-shots without being too tough-love.
Tiger eschews the old-school “three-click” swing technique for one based on mouse movement. In order to succeed with the mouse-based TrueSwing, you’ve got to maintain the tempo and direction of your mouse movement perfectly. It’s possible to have a wicked slice in this game. You’ll quickly get the knack of the long game, but we wish there was a little more guidance within the short game. Players who aren’t experienced at reading greens in the real world will have trouble using the standard putting grid to accurately make putts.
While the courses are absolutely beautiful (and there are plenty to be had), the graphics for the PC version are less impressive than in the Xbox 360 version. And we’re curious why the PC version doesn’t sport the streaming ESPN radio featured in the console versions. There’s something indescribably cool about sitting down to shoot a round of golf and hearing regularly updated baseball or hockey scores while you set up your game! There are also many more multiplayer modes in the 360 version, which add some needed variety to the standard golf-game types. We don’t, however, miss the ridiculous in-air steering that’s included in the console versions of Tiger.
The final reckoning for a game like this is tough. We’d like to see more game modes, and a more evenly scaled difficulty scheme, but for $40, we can’t complain too much.
+ PITCHING WEDGE: Mouse-swing method feels great and gives good control. Lots of courses!
- SAND WEDGE: Steep difficulty curve, so-so graphics, and missing console features.