Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 PlayStation 3
Published by: EA Sports
Developed by: EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
Just over a week ago we looked at the Xbox 360 version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08. The game didn't exactly resemble a giant leap for the series. However, it offered more courses than last year's game and a couple of interesting new features as well as the return of the classic, three button press golf swing. Here we have the PlayStation 3 version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 and the game is exactly the same as the one we reviewed on the 360.
This year's Tiger Woods PGA Tour game offers five new courses, a new confidence mechanic, an all new championship format, a new Photo Game Face, twenty-one professional golfers and the return of an old control method amongst other things. Cog Hill, Harbour Town and East Lake are just three of the new courses and the course total is now up to 16. As before you'll get to play through a virtual golf career, play all the usual wacky characters in the Tiger Challenge and play a variety of traditional game modes, which now has the Bingo Bango Bongo game variation. There are also a variety of arcade golf games and mini-games in addition to the practice mode. Both offline and online multiplayer games support up to four players.
Before you begin your virtual golfing career in TW PGA Tour 08 you're going to have to create your own golfer. Whilst you can do this in a manner that's similar to the previous games in the series, we chose to test out the new Photo Game Face feature. Using the Xbox Live Vision camera (yes it works on the PlayStation 3) I took pictures of my face and profile and after doing so I had to move several markers over key areas of my photographs. The whole process probably took around fifteen minutes or so. I was actually expecting the results to be quite horrible. In actual fact the results were pretty good. I wouldn't say I created a perfect virtual representation of myself but certain facial features were surprisingly accurate. It's not a key feature but it's certainly a good addition. Of course you could opt to use digital photographs to create your golfer. The game manual suggests that higher resolution pictures will give superior results. You'll need to upload your photo to www.tigerwoods08.com in order to use them however.
In terms of how a round of golf plays, there aren't too many changes from TW PGA Tour 07. There is a new putt preview feature. This allows you to press the LB button to see the path the ball will travel. You can only use this feature once per shot however. The game now models confidence for every shot and every shot type you take on every hole. Essentially the game remembers how well you hit certain shots and which holes you've hit them on. If you hit a specific shot well you'll gain confidence (causing the confidence meter to fill) and this will give you a better chance of hitting that type of shot well next time. Of course hitting a bad shot does the opposite and makes things a little more difficult. Confidence affects the size of the targeting circle. The bigger the circle, the more room for error. Playing well and gaining confidence will decrease the size of the circle. Attempting risky shots can also decrease your confidence. Confidence is carried over from round to round, essentially adding a level of realism to your virtual golfer. New controls have been included too, which makes it easier to perform draw and fade shots.
On the multiplayer side of things, the new EA Sports GamerNet feature allows you to save replays of a single shot, a hole, front or back nine and even a whole round and then post it online for others to download and attempt to beat you. Of course you can also download other players' challenges and have a go at them. It's a solid addition to the game. As far as online play goes it's pretty much the same as last year's game. There is noticeable lag at times and it's not uncommon for the connection to drop.
Another new feature this year is actually a reintroduction of an old control method. It's been a while since the triple button press control method has been used in an EA Sports PGA game but TW PGA Tour 08 gives you the ability to switch to this classic control method at any time you wish. All you have to do is press down the right analogue stick to switch from the default analogue swing method to the three button press golf swing of yesteryear. I've often wondered why this control method hasn't been included in the previous Tiger Woods PGA Tour games. Sure, analogue swing controls have been in vogue for quite a few years now but there are plenty who just can't get on with it. I would have had a lot more success in playing offline multiplayer games over the years if the option to use the classic three button press golf swing had been available. As always, you'll press a button (the X button) to start your swing. Press the button again when the power gauge is at the required setting and finally press the button a third time to determine your accuracy. Whilst you would expect this three button press golf swing control to work well, you wouldn't expect it to be so sensitive. Never has a three button press golf swing control been so difficult in a golf game.
Graphically the game hasn't improved much upon Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07. Sure the extra courses look good and in terms of presentation the game is quite impressive but there are some elements, such as some of the trees and various objects that line the course, that just look like they've been ripped from the PlayStation 2 version. The frame rate is prone to dipping too, perhaps a tad more than in the Xbox 360 version which itself suffered from minor frame rate issues. Thankfully the frame rate dips do not occur during the golf shots and therefore won't affect your enjoyment of the game. Nevertheless, the frame rate problems should have been sorted out by now.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour08 is pretty much the same as last year's Tiger Woods game in regards to its support for deaf gamers. The commentary is once again not subtitled. The movie clips that highlight the new features are not subtitled, although you can read about the new features in the game which represents something of an improvement. Text instructions are provided for the tutorials found in the game. All of the essential information is provided in text so whilst there is plenty of information that isn't subtitled, it's still possible for deaf gamers to enjoy what's on offer.
If you're a longstanding fan of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series then there's a good chance you'll want what Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 has to offer. The new courses and new features manage to make the game slightly better than Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07. That said, those who only buy the occasional golf game and who bought last year's game might feel as though the new additions aren't enough to justify another purchase. Of course this would require that your console be connected to the Internet. All things considered then, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 on the PlayStation 3 is another solid addition to the series.
Fans of the series will no doubt appreciate the extra courses and additional features. There hasn't been a significant jump in quality from Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 but it's still well worth your attention if you are a fan of the series.