Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 Wii
Published by: EA Sports
Developed by: EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
It was only just over six months ago that reviewed Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 for the Nintendo Wii. Despite it not being that long ago, I have been looking forward to playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 on the Wii. Both the golf in Wii Sports and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 showed that the Wii remote provides a potentially great control system for a golf game. I say potentially because as yet I don't think any golf game has quite got it absolutely right but to be fair the console is still in its infancy being just over ten months old. Whilst I wasn't expecting Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 to be a major advancement, I did expect it to be an improvement on TW PGA Tour 07 and for the most part this has proved to be the case.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 features twenty-three professional golfers, new courses, a new confidence mechanic, a taunting mechanic, a new putt preview feature, an extra control option and, exclusive to the Wii, a new mini putt game (essentially it's just mini-golf and in all honesty it's a feature you won't bother with much as the holes are uninteresting). As ever, the game features arcade games, the Tiger Challenge and, of course, a career mode. You even have the bonus of being able to play in the FedExCup. The game can be enjoyed with friends as long as they are in the same room as you. Online play still hasn't been included, which is a little annoying since it's a feature even the PlayStation 2 version offers.
The main point of interest with the Wii version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 is the control system. The previous Tiger Woods game did a great job with the controls, for a first attempt, so naturally most will be hoping the controls are even better this time around. In actual fact the controls feel a little better, in that it feels a little tighter. You can even play sitting down this time as a new sitting swing style has been added. Essentially you'll swing the remote in front of you to perform the shot. It works very well although for some reason I was able to perform shots with much more power using this method. As before you can either play with just the Wii remote as a virtual golf club (requiring you to stand of course) or you can choose to use the nunchuk attachment to perform your virtual golf swings with the analogue stick. Sadly, there is no option to use a triple button press control system as there was in the 360 version of the game.
Whilst the majority of how the game plays is pretty much identical to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07, the short game has undergone a change thanks to the addition of the putt preview feature. The putt preview feature is exactly the same as the one in the PlayStation 2 version. Here you press the A button and take practice swings until you are happy with the line the ball is taking. The catch is that you only have a limited amount of time to use the putt preview for the whole round. Once you've used the time up, you won't be able to use the putt preview again for that round. If I have one criticism of the putt preview feature it's that it can make putting ridiculously easy. Essentially it's giving you at least half a dozen mulligans per round, which seems to be taking things a little too far in terms of making putting accessible.
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 targeting 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.
Graphically there's no difference at all between TW PGA Tour 07 and TW PGA Tour 08. To a certain extent this is hardly surprising with only six months separating the release dates of the two games, but you have to admit it's slightly disappointing. The Wii, at least in theory, should be capable of more than PlayStation 2 level graphics but at the moment that's the only level of quality we are seeing in games such as this and it's a little worrying. The game even appears to have the same frame rate issues of the PlayStation 2 version. The game is even presented in a similar style to the PlayStation 2 version adopting the same menu layout and general look of the game.
If you've played previous games in the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series, you'll be disappointed to learn that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 has most of the usual problems as far as deaf gamers are concerned. The commentary is once again not subtitled. All of the video clips, including the hole flyovers, are not subtitled. The tutorials are a little better this time around however. When playing through the tutorials, you'll notice an Objectives button in the top right of the screen. If you click on this you'll find text instructions for the tutorials which is most helpful. As ever, all of the essential information in the game is displayed via text, numbers or icons so deaf gamers should be able to enjoy the game despite it not being fully subtitled.
There is no denying that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 is the best golf game yet on the Wii. However, it's only fair to call it a slight improvement upon Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07. The Wii exclusive features such as the mini golf and the taunting feature aren't worthwhile in my opinion. The taunting is practically rendered useless anyway without the ability to play online. Graphically it doesn't make any advancement and whilst this isn't an important aspect of the game, it would be good to see the extra power of the Wii being utilised rather than having to put up with graphics that look as though they've been lifted straight from the PlayStation 2 version. On the plus side, the controls feel a little better and you can definitely see that progress is being made in this respect. There is definitely a lot of promise here that hopefully will be realised in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09.
The Wii version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 is an enjoyable game that slightly improves upon the 07 version. The changes aren't as dramatic as most would have hoped for however and it's a real disappointment that online play hasn't been included when even the DS version allows you to play online.