There’s a lot of discussion these days as to which gaming system is the best. Many people would say the the Nintendo Wii is a bit of a laugh and can’t compete with the other systems like the XBox 360 or Sony PS2/PS3. Certainly, the Wii isn’t designed like the others, which are basically PCs packaged for top graphics performance. Where the Wii may not have the graphics performance of the other systems, it has a user interface that is inovative and fun to use, making the game experience unlike any other system.
I broke down and bought a Wii a little while back, and the first game I purchased was Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10. I’ve been playing golf games since the original Nintendo and Sega Genesis and my old Apple IIc. What makes TW 10 appealing to me is that Wii interface and the new Wii Motion Plus controller that adds a whole new level of sensitivity to the controller. Every golf game I’ve ever played had some sort of swing scale, and you had to push a button to start the swing and push it again to hit it. It started getting pretty boring, until the Wii came along and made you get off your lazy ass and actually make a golf swing!
As I mentioned before, the graphics on the Wii version of TW 10 may not measure up to the PS3 or Xbox 360, but they do just fine in this game and there is certainly enough detail to know what you are looking at. Once you start playing however, the focus shifts to the user interface, as it’s a real stroke of genius. The new Wii Motion Plus controller adds an ultra sensitive accelerometer to the bottom of the wireless Wii controller and combined with the great control system in this game it makes even the slightest movement possible. I’ll get to that in a minute. Another benefit of the Wii Motion Plus add-on is that it adds length and weight to the controller, which to me makes swinging it through the air more realistic and gives me better tactile feedback.
The ultra sensitive controller now allows you to control the club and the swing with much greater accuracy. On the most sensitive setting, the interaction between the game and the player is almost 1:1, in that if you make a half swing the player in the game will make a half swing. If you rotate your right hand over the left during the swing, the game will interpret this, close the clubface and in the game you will hit a hook shot. It’s really quite ingenious and fun to experiment with. The only issue I found is producing a fade requires you to rotate your right hand under the left to open the face, and this isn’t a natural move when swinging. It’s a minor annoyance, and I’m sure future versions of the game may be even more sensitive to the swing path of the “club” in producing fades and draws.
Putting has been taken to a whole new level in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10. The Wii Motion Plus makes it so sensitive that you really have to concentrate on your stroke. The length of your backswing and the tempo of your swing determine how hard you hit the putt. It’s as close to real putting as I’ve ever seen in a video game, and it’s where the game really shines. Not only do you have to keep the controller/putter face square to the target line, if you jerk the controller too fast towards the ball you will hit it too hard. You really need to make a smooth stroke to get good results.
The next cool feature of the game is the real time weather conditions. If your Wii is connected to the internet, you can use the weather channel to download real time weather updates. If you decide to go play Bethpage Black and it’s actually raining at Bethpage State Park at that time, it will be raining in the game too. Now that’s cool, because you’ll never actually get wet! In the game however, the ball will roll less in the fairway if the fairways are wet, and the putts will roll slower too.
In the past, golf games have tried to add commentary and mostly it’s been botched and the execution was pretty weak. I almost always end up turning it off. In TW 10, we get a broadcast like presentation with the voices of ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt (formerly of the Golf Channel) and Kelly Tilghman from the Golf Channel. They present the action like you would see on a TV broadcast and give updates on tournament scores. They will offer up some praise for good shots and hammer you for bad ones. It’s pretty well done over all, with only one problem – Kelly Tilghman is almost as annoying in this game as she is on live television, which again has me looking for the option to turn off the commentary. I wish we could just turn off Kelly, because Scott Van Pelt is a funny guy. I love those Titleist NXT spots.
I haven’t tried playing online yet, but I’m sure online tournaments will add a whole new element to the game, where you will play with others all over the globe. The only real negative I can see with this game is that because of the accuracy of the user interface and precision needed to hit a great shot, it’s impossible to play a quick round in 10 or 15 minutes like the traditional golf games that use a joystick or keyboard & mouse. It takes closer to 30 minutes or even an hour for a 2 person game. The big plus of this game is of course the control. This game becomes wildly addictive when you play with others, and at least it makes you get off your butt a bit and concentrate on making a good swing or stroke.
There are 27 courses to play, and 24 PGA and LPGA pros to choose from, along with a host of fantasy players also. If you can name a famous US course, it’s probably on there, and at least you won’t get bored playing the same couple courses all the time. I wonder if EA will make additional courses available for download in the future. The only disappointment I have with the players is the lack of realism of their golf swings. The player attributes are not bad, if you play with Jim Furyk for example you won’t hit the ball as far as Tiger, but if you are expecting to see his trademark loop-de-loop swing you will be disappointed.
There are quite a few other features of this game that I haven’t touched on, but I can still highly recommend this to any golfer and gamer out there. Its the most fun and addictive golf game I’ve seen since the original Links 386 came out. Once you pick up that controller and start making swings and rolling in putts, you won’t want to put it down! I was up until 2:14am on the night I brought it home!
Here’s a summary of the game’s features as listed on EA Sports’ website. I also embedded a video of an EA staffer Jay Shenkman showing off the game’s features. Enjoy!
- Wii MotionPlus Integration – Through EA Sports Motion, gamers can now experience a true-to-life golf swing and have the ability to work the ball with precise draw and fade capabilities
- Play the Prestigious U.S. Open – The U.S. Open makes its inaugural appearance in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10. Known as one of the toughest tests in golf, Bethpage Black will challenge every player’s golf skills with its extremely challenging course conditions
- Real-Time Weather Conditions — Powered by The Weather Channel, real-time weather now effects gameplay by providing current conditions at actual courses. Putts will roll slower on wet greens and drives will be shorter due to the rain soaked fairways
- Broadcast Style Presentation — ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and the Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman form a new commentary team that adds to the new sports broadcast presentation, including hole overviews, up-to-the –minute updates from around the course, and more
- Tournament Challenge — Relive key moments in tournament history through an all-new character progression mode
- Precision Putting – Maintain complete control of your backswing and follow-through to ensure an accurate putt with all-new Precision Putting
- Take on the Leaderboard — Exciting changes are in store for gamers as Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 10 features new enhancements for the online tournaments. Get ready to step up and take it to the next level this PGA TOUR season
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