Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 Wii
Published by: EA Sports
Developed by: EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
Whilst there was never any doubts that Nintendo would make good use of the unique control system of their Wii console there was always going be question marks about the use that third party developers would make of the Wii remote. Whilst it's still too early to tell, the early signs are certainly good. Here we have the Nintendo Wii version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 and it's great to see that rather than being an idle port, the game really takes advantage of the Wii remote and lets you use it as a virtual golf club.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 on the Wii offers Play Now, Tiger Challenge, PGA Tour Season, Traditional Games and Arcade Game modes. As always in EA Sports games Play Now puts you right into a round of golf. PGA Tour Season lets you play through a full calendar of golf competitions. Tiger Challenge allows you to face off against a variety of golfers (real and fictional) with the ultimate aim of squaring off against Tiger himself. The game types on offer in Traditional Games are Stroke Play, Match Play, Bloodsome, Greensome, Skins and Alternate Shot. Arcade Games offer eight different games including Battle Golf, Capture and Target. The Wii version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 only offers offline multiplayer gaming but at least four players can take part.
What makes the Wii version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 stand out is the use of the Wii remote to create a virtual golf swing. Essentially you'll stand as you would if you were performing a real golf shot with the Wii remote in your hands as if it were a real golf club. You'll swing the Wii remote in a completely natural way that mimics a real golf swing very nicely. You'll have to keep the Wii remote level during your swing as twisting it will cause your shots to hook and slice. Holding down the minus button allows you to take a practice swing and when you take a real shot you'll hold down the B button. Spin is added in-flight by using the directional pad. I really like how the developers have taken time to make the Wii remote a good method of control. If you're using one the Wii remotes to swing then you don't need to use a nunchuk attachment as the menus can be navigated using the remote as a pointer. Using the Wii remote certainly isn't perfect though and you can see future versions refining the control scheme but it's a very good start. If I had to pick something I would change, it would be to include some kind of onscreen gauge (as in the golf game on Wii Sports) to show gamers if they are swinging correctly and also to give them an idea of how much power needs to be present in their swing.
The game manages to please those looking for a simple control experience and those looking for a very responsive golf swing. In total there are four different types of golf swing, the first three of which use the Wii remote in a natural, golf club-like way. Easy keeps things really basic. Here you can only do straight shots which make this a great swing method for younger players. Standard increases the difficulty somewhat in that it's possible to hook and slice, although there is only a small margin for error. Advanced takes away the margin for error and fully punishes swings that aren't just right. For those who just can't get on with using the Wii remote to mimic a golf club the developers have included the option to attach the nunchuk. The Nunchuk swing method is the same as you'll find on any other console version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 in that you'll use the analogue stick to carry out your golf swing. Whilst it's good that the developers have included this method you do have to wonder who would purchase the Wii version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 and then opt to play the game as if it were on a GameCube. I suppose it allows for the possibility of a visiting friend, who doesn't like the Wii remote, playing a game with you.
If there's one aspect of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 on the Wii that gamers are going to feel short-changed with it's the graphics. To be blunt, the Wii version looks no better than the previous versions of the series that have appeared on the Xbox, which is disappointing considering the game is on a new console costing almost £200. Still I daresay you'll be purchasing the Wii version for its control scheme and not its visual quality but nevertheless you can't help but feel a tinge of disappointment that the game offers no visual improvements over the last generation console versions. For the most part the frame rate is smooth with only the odd dip here and there. Load times are actually very nippy and are quite an improvement from the PlayStation 3 and 360 versions.
Whilst it's great to see a Tiger Woods PGA Tour game on the Wii it's a shame that the game has pretty much the same problems for deaf gamers as it does on the other formats. The tutorials are once again not subtitled. There are some brief text messages to explain how to use the Wii remote which is some consolation but it would have been better if the tutorials were fully subtitled. Game commentary is not subtitled. Any movies, hole flyovers and such like are also not subtitled. In fact it's pretty much the same as most sports titles in regards to its support for deaf gamers, which is disappointing if not altogether surprising.
Wii Sports showed us that the Wii has the potential to be a good console for fans of sports games in that it will allow us to play in a more natural way. Wii Sports is little more than a tech demo in truth and most will want games of substance to play for months on end. Those looking for a golf game to play on their Wii console are going to be happy with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07. It provides a solid and natural golf swing method and there are enough modes to keep most gamers happy. Not having an online mode is unfortunate however and this is something that I really hope is included in the inevitable Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08.
The Wii is perfectly suited for playing golf games and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 offers a satisfying and enjoyable virtual golf experience. The controls need a little refinement however and the absence of an online multiplayer mode is unfortunate.