Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 Review
Fall is in the air which means two things. First, I will ride a roller coaster of emotion every Sunday for about 16 weeks as I watch my beloved Dolphins stink up the place. I really wish I didn't care sometimes. Second is that EA will start releasing their annual cash cow franchises on the gaming world. Sometimes these perennial updates consist of little more than minor enhancements while in other years truly remarkable improvements are made. Sure we always hope for the latter but are more often stuck with the former. Our topic tonight is Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 for the PlayStation 3 and if it's more of the same or if something special is happening here. Let's see shall we....
I suppose it difficult to come up with big improvements year in and year out. This is even more true when the game you're releasing every year is already a pretty good game. It's challenging to step up from a "B" game to an "A" game, much more so than making the leap from a "C" to a "B". Tiger 08 is a "B" game that just can't seem to make it to the next level. There's nothing wrong with being a "B" but after being around for so long doing the same thing you'd think they would just completely nail it one year and be done with it. Then again if they did that I guess there would be no need for another installment the following year. What I do find odd is that one of the "new" features in Tiger 08 is really an old feature brought back from the dead. It's called the 3-click swing and is the way people used to play back in the day. Much happiness happened several years ago when golf games started using the analog stick to control the swing. It seemed so natural and simplistically beautiful and was pretty much regarded as the way golf should be played. I guess someone at EA had a hankering of nostalgia and wanted the old-school 3-click method of controlling a swing brought back. The first click starts the power meter, the second click actually sets the power, while the third click sets the shots accuracy. Gee, that's much better than the analog stick the game reviewer says sarcastically. It seems that in order to get gamers to try out the 3-click method the developers increased the sensitivity of the analog control to an extreme level that takes almost ninja type skill.
Another addition, which is actually new but not directly related to gameplay, is EA Sports GamerNet. This is an online community that allows you to record parts of the game and post it online. Say you just had a ridiculous shot that careened off a dude in the gallery, skipped across the water, and still managed to get within 3 inches of the cup. You would probably want everyone in the world to know about and see such a shot. With GamerNet you can do just that by saving the shot and then posting it online and even challenge other gamers to duplicate the shot.
A new feature that actually does affect gameplay is Shot Confidence. This tracks your previous success, or failure, on each hole on each course. So if there is a certain hole on a course that is giving you problems your confidence level will be low and in turn make it that much more difficult to make the shot. Since golf is such a mental game this adds an interesting element.