Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 Xbox 360
Published by: EA Sports
Developed by: EA Sports
Being one of the more polished titles in the EA Sports range it’s become increasingly difficult for every release in the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series to significantly improve on the recent one. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 isn’t a major improvement on Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 and in all honesty I can’t see how it could have been any better on the current generation of consoles (next year may be a different story however with the release of PlayStation Move and Microsoft’s Kinect although they will probably only be HD versions of the games that have appeared on the Wii). However, this year’s game does manage to be a better experience making a few adjustments here and there and adding online team play.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 offers you the chance to take part in The Ryder Cup, a full PGA Tour season and a variety of skills challenges amongst other things, along with a new online team mode. The game offers seventeen courses, including Celtic Manor Resort; with the promise of more to come as paid for DLC (indeed four additional courses are available now for 800 Microsoft Points each). There is also a generous amount of professional golfers, such as Vijay Singh, Colin Montgomerie, Jim Furyk and Tiger himself, as well as a few fictitious crazy characters to play as or against.
One of the key differences this year is how your custom golfer will develop. In Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, you’ll earn XP instead of cash for hitting the green in regulation, making par, completing challenges and generally playing well. You’ll use this XP to level up your player’s attributes. Your player attributes aren’t set in stone though and you can go back to the My Skills page and get back the XP from one skill and apply it to another if you choose. You’ll purchase golfing clothes and equipment with XP too. Developing a player is a slow process however and in some respects it’s a shame you can’t simply import your golfer from last year’s game and continue your virtual golfing career without having to start all over again.
Some of the new features in this year’s game include True Aim, Focus and the ability to have online team play. True Aim is a more realistic option to the targeting circle that is used when you’re positioning where you want your shot to go. Rather than simply zooming in and positioning the aiming circle, you’ll be able to view a raised elevation of the course with small markers denoting the various distances from your position. Essentially this makes it more difficult to aim your shots and will be welcomed by those who have found previous games in the series all too easy. You’ll also notice the camera doesn’t automatically follow the path of the ball (although you can enable a ball trace to give you an idea of where the ball has gone). It should be noted that you can disable True Aim and go back to the classic targeting method if you choose.
Focus is a resource that you’ll use by using the various assists such as powering up and applying spin to your shots, increasing the accuracy of your aiming and using putt previews. Focus is used up rather quickly however so you’ll want to avoid using the aforementioned abilities unless you really need to. You can refill your focus gauge by simply playing without using any of the abilities that require focus but it’s a gradual process so you’re encouraged to play a game of golf without being too dependent on the various assists, which can only be a good thing.
The key difference with the online modes this year is the ability to play in teams. Teams can consist of as little as four players and as many as twenty-four. You’ll choose your preferred team and be paired off with another online team. Team games can be fun but it can be awkward to arrange a team match with a large number of players, you’re going to have to do a fair amount of waiting around before you can begin which a lot of people don’t want to do, and it’s much easier to organize and jump into matches that involve fewer players per team.
Visually Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 manages to look slightly better than any of the previous games in the series on the Xbox 360 to date. The seventeen included courses all look very impressive and it’s difficult to imagine how they could look much better on this generation of consoles. The player models definitely could look better however especially when you consider how they have been improved in other EA Sports titles.
You could say that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 is on a par with previous games in the series when it comes to its deaf gamer friendliness. The commentary isn’t subtitled but in truth it’s not much of a disappointment as the quality of the commentary and indeed its usefulness is questionable. Tutorials aren’t subtitled, which is unfortunate, but at least the basic information is shown in text so whilst the tutorials aren’t as useful as they should be for deaf gamers, they aren’t a complete waste of time. On various screens, such as the My Skills screen where you allocate your earned XP to your golfer’s attributes, you’ll receive some helpful advice explaining what can be done on that screen. None of the advice is subtitled, which is a little disappointing. For all the omissions however, there are no real obstacles preventing deaf gamers from enjoying the game.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 has just about enough changes to make it worthwhile for fans of the series. True Aim, Focus and online team play help to make this feel sufficiently different from last year’s game. Thanks to True Aim in particular, the game is also beginning to feel a tad more realistic. It is annoying having to begin again with a freshly created golfer however as it takes a decent amount of time before your new golfer is actually competitive against the AI. Still there can be no denying that this is a worthwhile upgrade from last year’s game and fans of the series will definitely appreciate it.