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11 Sep, 2007

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 Review

360 Review | On par.
When it comes to the Tiger Woods series EA has done a great job, in fact they’ve done such a great job with the series that trying to find innovations for the franchise for yearly incarnations has been tough for them. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 was slightly better than 06, which was slightly better than 05. Once again Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 is only a little bit different to its predecessor, but Tiger still plays a relatively good round of golf.

When you first jump into Tiger 08 it isn’t exactly clear on what has changed from the previous year’s title. There are five tiers of game modes; my career, traditional game modes, arcade modes, mini games and practice modes. A lot of the gameplay options from last year’s game remain intact with the most notable addition being bingo bango bongo. Bingo bango bongo is a head to head mode where your golfer will be awarded bingo for getting on the green first, bango for getting the closest to the pin and bongo for getting the best score. The new addition is okay, but certainly isn’t a mode that would justify the purchase of the whole game.

A look at the course.

A look at the course.
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New courses and professional golfers have been added to the game as well. Westchester, TPC Boston, Cog Hill, and East Lake are all in the game which brings the total to sixteen courses. There are 21 professional golfers in the game, with JB Holmes, Justin Rose, Camilo Villegas, Cristie Kerr, Morgan Pressel, Paul Casey, Paula Creamer, and Natalie Gulbis all making their Tiger Woods debut.

The career mode begins with you creating a rookie or starting with a rookie Tiger Woods. If you choose to begin with a created rookie golfer there will be more customisation open to you, as starting as a rookie Tiger Woods will stop you from accessing the pro shop and customising Woods in anyway. At the beginning your skills will be low but they improve as you pull off good shots in events. Because you’ll get trounced if you immediately try to play in an event, most players will begin with the Tiger challenge, which consists of several specific golfing challenges, and completing these is the quickest way to improve your skills. The challenges are a lot more varied than in last year’s game and have been shortened, so you no longer have to play 9 or 18 holes for every challenge.

One of the neat additions to Tiger 08 is the photo game face mode. Using a digital camera or the Xbox Live Vision camera you can import a picture of yourself and Tiger 08 will digitize your face and put you in the game. It’s not a simple ordeal and takes a fair bit of time, but it’s worth the effort.

The man himself.

The man himself.
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In terms of gameplay a few minor things have changed, resulting in a marginally better game overall than last year. The 3 button press option from previous Tiger titles also makes a return. With the three button press option you use the right analog stick to bring up a meter, you push a button to start the swing, push it again to set power and then finally push it again to determine accuracy. This means there are two ways to play the game, and with the analog swing still being a little inconsistent most gamers will likely prefer using the 3 button press option. Putt mechanics have been changed marginally, so you can see a preview of where your ball will go before hitting it, and adding draw and fade to your shot is a little easier this time as well. All you have to do is press a button to see where the ball will land, then tapping the left bumper will add a fade to the shot and the right bumper will add a draw. It’s an easy system to pick up and quickly becomes second nature.

We encountered a few problems whilst playing Tiger 08 that were a little worrying. The game sometimes lags in menus - for example at the very beginning of the game the announcer’s speech was cut off several times while the game “caught up”. There also appears to be no way to skip your opponent’s turns which is awfully frustrating. Sure you want to see how your opponent is doing but you don’t want to be watching every stroke and every animation that goes with every stroke. There's also a bug which freezes the game during a specific Tiger Challenge, it can be avoided (by holding A) but should have been stamped out before the game made it to store shelves.

When it comes to multiplayer, four players can play online together. The game also includes EA Sports Gamernet. With Gamernet you can save your best and worst shots and then make challenges out of them. While this sounds like a good idea, there isn’t really a good reason to attempt half of the challenges. If a friend of yours has set up a challenge then it’s probably worth attempting but some of the challenges on Gamernet are so absurd you’ll take one look at then immediately go back to normal multiplayer play.

The man himself again, camera hog.

The man himself again, camera hog.
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Graphically the game looks better than last year’s title, but only just. The character models look great (especially Woods) but the crowd still look average. The soundtrack is of course pretty much what you would expect from a golf game. Those who enjoy playing Tiger 08 will get a lot of value out of the game, the career mode is extensive and leveling up your golfer’s stats is no mean feat. Achievements in the game are well scattered too, so you’ll need to play the game extensively to get the full 100 points.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 is a marginal improvement upon 07 and if we were gamblers we’d say the same will likely be true for Tiger 09. With the option to play with the 3 button press option and with an improved Tiger challenge Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 plays as enjoyable a game of golf as any. There are still a few frustrations (such as the fact you can’t skip the AI’s shots) but overall Tiger 08 will keep many a keen video golfer happy.
The Score
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 is an enjoyable game for those who love the gentleman's game, just don't expect much to have changed. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 Content

New course for Tiger 08 released
30 Oct, 2007 Fore-hundred points.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 Review
19 Nov, 2006 An improvement?
EA cages the Tiger till 2011
04 Feb, 2006 In for the long haul.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  30/08/2007 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $99.95 AU
Publisher:
  Electronic Arts
Genre:
  Sports
Year Made:
  2007

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