Jason Picker
11 Jul, 2009

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 Review

PS3 Review | Not quite a toothless Tiger, but some teeth are missing.
Each Tiger Woods PGA Tour game presents reviewers with a difficult quandary. As each new version of the leading golf simulator doesn't tend to change a whole lot from the year before, should the reviewer criticise the game for being largely the same with only minor tinkering around the edges? Or should they accept that it’s an annual update and try and look at the game with fresh eyes? It probably should do both, but we're more inclined to treat it as a new game considering you're paying full price for it. What this means for our review of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 is that while we think it remains the best golfing simulator on the market and has some welcome new features, it isn’t different or innovative enough from last year's game to justify repackaging it as a full-priced experience.

It’s often the case that gamers will have to enjoy watching or playing the sport at least a little bit to enjoy playing the game. However, we think Tiger Woods is the exception. The real-life version of golf takes around four hours to get through a single round, it’s frustratingly difficult even for the professionals, and it’s not particularly interesting to watch. However, the Tiger Woods gaming experience costs around a third of the price of a good driver, can see you achieve pro-like scores with relative ease, and doesn’t involve all that pesky exercise. Sounds like a good deal to us.

So what exactly has changed in this year’s version of the game? Glad you asked. The new putting system is probably the major change to the core gameplay, and one which will likely divide players between the three putting options now available. Precision putting, as the new option is called, provides an on-screen metre which shows you how hard you need to hit the ball to reach the spot on the green you are aiming for (which is hopefully near the hole). It works much like playing shots in the rest of the game where you pull back on the stick until you reach the power you want and then press the stick forward to simulate the swing. Precision putting offers a nice balance between arcade and simulation putting. For those who enjoyed the other two putting options from previous games, you'll be glad to know they are still available. Having a third putting option, we can only imagine the tantrums this will cause at parties when people argue over which should be used and which is ‘cheating’ (just for the record, the 3-click setup is cheating!).

Um...it's...you know...golf...and stuff.

Um...it's...you know...golf...and stuff.
Career mode continues to offer extensive and deep gameplay. You can create a character using the thorough create-a-player tools or you can use your own mug via EA’s Photo GameFace technology. Playing and completing in tournaments will increase your statistics and will unlock custom drills to help improve parts of your game that may need work. Clothes and accessories can also be unlocked to increase your statistics (Mythbusters would have a field day with that one), and if you are really rich and lazy you can just purchase some via the plethera of paid downloads that launched at the same time as the game. Smells like profiteering to us.

Also gone are those banal Tiger Challenges. In their place are Tournament Challenges that put you in the sensible golfing shoes of some of the greatest ball-strokers as they take on some of the real-life situations they were faced with. This might include sinking a monster putt or getting around a certain part of the course in a particular number of shots. While it works largely the same as the Tiger Challenges, the Tournament Challenges at least feel more like you’re achieving something golf-related rather than ticking boxes so you can progress further in the game. For the first time, the game also allows you to compete in the US Open on the very challenging Bethpage Black course. You can also take part in the USGA Championship and abide by the USGA's Rules of Golf. This is a nice addition that was sorely missing from past versions of the franchise.

Also noticeable this year is the attempt to make the player feel more like they’re playing a real game of golf. During your rounds, score updates will flash across the top of the screen and the commentators will mention that there is movement on the leaderboard. Adding to this is the crowd, who have increased in number and are a bit more excitable than in previous games (but still look a lot like the living dead). Another nice addition is hearing the crowd cheer other players on different parts of the course, giving you more of a sense that you're competing against something other than numbers on the leader-board. Adding to this sense of realism is the reduced driving distances. Gone is the ability to drive 400 yards with a maxed out driving skill and +3 undies. While some people will disagree with this change, it brings the game back to reality, increasing the reliance on medium-range shots.

New weather effects have also been included in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 that actually affect your play. When it rains, the ball with slow down faster on the greens and fairways, requiring you to re-think your strategies. You can also choose real-life weather conditions the same as those that are currently being experienced on the actual course you are playing, which is implemented through updates via the Weather Channel. We’re not sure what happens when a major hurricane goes through a course and how that is represented in the game, but it seems like a bit of a gimmick as the 30 or 40 minutes it takes to play a virtual round of golf is hardly enough time for real-weather conditions to change that much. You're better off picking the in-game weather changing option.

A golfer's dream, minus naked people and zombies. Or maybe that's just our dreams.

A golfer's dream, minus naked people and zombies. Or maybe that's just our dreams.
Returning to this year's game is Tiger Woods’s coach, Hank Haney, who takes you through the basics of each mode. While this is a good idea in theory, Haney doesn’t come across as very interested or excited to be helping you with the game. This is consistent with the rest of the audio in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, which is pretty bland. As is the case with every other game in the series, the commentary is as dry as a camel’s throat. You’ll hear the same lines again and again and the delivery of the dialogue from Scott Van Pelt and Kelly Tilghman sounds like it was given under duress. We’re not sure why commentary is not just recorded live during a real event and added to the game later on, as the current method is clearly not giving the desired results. On the other hand, the sound effects are crisp and solid, such as the sound of the club striking the ball, but it would be hard to get that wrong and they all seem to be recycled from previous versions.

Visually the game is still very solid, but other than the new weather effects, you’ll be hard pressed to tell the difference over last year, with player models, their animations, and the look of the courses all having a sense of déjà vu about them. Online, the regular features have been maintained in the Live Online Tournaments with a few extras chucked in. One of the nifty new features is the Play the Pros mode that allows you to compete against real-life leaderboards as achieved by the pros from an actual tournament, further increasing the feeling that you’re in a game of golf.

Overall, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 is a solid experience which has been given a couple of minor, but interesting, additions. Whether you’ll find the new features worthy of a purchase if you already have last year’s version will be up to personal taste, but in our opinion, it isn't. The Tiger Woods franchise needs to take a leaf out of the Fight Night book and stop the annual updates for a few years to re-build the game from the ground-up. Otherwise, we will continue to only get subtle improvements from year-to-year rather than mind-blowing innovation. We know which we’d rather have.
The Score
While Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 gives us more new features than last year's outing, the franchise is in need of an overhaul. We want more roar from the Tiger Woods series, and less meow. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 Content

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4 years ago
Now review it for wii. wm+ is brilliant with this game!
4 years ago
^ Agreed - would love to see a review of Wii version. I read a preview that said putting was problematic prior to release of the Wii version and would like to know if its been fixed prior to spending $'s on it.
4 years ago
I have no problem with putting, it works really well if you ask me. And putting is far and away my biggest weakness when it comes to golf.

But yeah, agreed - although graphically inferior, the Wii version of this game, using Motion+, is fantastic. It deserves a separate review and should not be lumped in with other versions.
4 years ago
@Crank, technically this PS3 version is controls inferior. Of course no one actually takes marks off bcoz of this, that would be insane.

Meanwhile graphics on the Conduit are marked down simply bcoz the Wii does not have the power to show HD flash. Hypocrisy is ripe in this gen.
4 years ago
Waz - your comment is not actually correct. If you look at the metacritic (www.metacritic.com) scores for Tiger on the PS3 and Wii, you'll see that on PS3 the game received 82 combined of all reviews, while the Wii version has 88. So most reviewers are marking the Wii version higher because of the controls, even if the graphics are worse.

As the Conduit isn't on all systems, we can't compare to see if there is hypocrisy.

PALGN doesn't have a Wii version of Tiger, so we can't review it.
4 years ago
Yeah, I don't think there is any hypocrisy here. Seems like TW PGA 10 on other platforms is getting marked down to a lack of inovation. The Wii version would have suffered the same fate if it lacked the Motion+ controls.

The main complaint I've seen with The Conduit is also a lack of innovation and it's overall brevity, not it's graphically inferior nature. Nobody expects a Wii game to compare favourably to other versions in that department.

If you want a 'review' of the Wii version of the game, check out the thread in the Nintendo section of the forum, where you will get a diverse range of opinions on the game, most of which can be summed up thusly: it is awesome.
4 years ago
Well it would be great if i believed this but the general view is that Wii versions are always inferior. Yes there are circumstances where WM+ or BB controls give Wii the edge but generally speaking, its called "waggle" by the reviewers themselves, they have inherent biases that influence the assessment.

The audience is almost always reflected in the style of reviewer so it is not surprising when "core gamers" compare all games to other popular core titles.

I think Ign got it right by ensuring Wii reviewers only work on the one console. While not always possible, this idea alone suggests reviews ARE influenced in some way.
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Australian Release Date:
  2/07/2009 (Confirmed)
  Electronic Arts
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