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Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14

by April 4, 2013

Buy it.

Hmmm, from the look of my other reviews I usually do 1500-2500 words in a review, not sure if two is going to cut it.

Ahem, ladies and gentlemen. If you are even faintly interested in golf, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is the best golf game you will ever play to date.

I’m someone who plays every installment of Tiger Woods. For this year’s version to impress me is quite a feat, but like Bobby Jones pulling off the first Grand Slam, it did so in impressive fashion.

So is this is what it feels like to break into a country club at 3 a.m.

So is this is what it feels like to break into a country club at 3 a.m.

When you start Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 the first thing you’ll see is that there’s an abundance of game modes.

Career: This mode is rather self explanatory. You create a golfer and try to become the best in the world either in the PGA or LPGA. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 marks the first time that you’re able to have a full career in the LPGA playing against the best of the best on the LPGA tour.

Legends of the Masters: You relive highlights of eight (nine if you choose the historic edition) of the most accomplished golfers the world has ever seen. You’ll have to recreate some of their greatest victories and at the end of their timeline you’ll play them in a match that is the equivalency of a boss fight. If you’re able to take down the legend that player will be able to be used in the game.

Each era you play has it’s own personality. You play with the equipment of that time period including clubs and attire that make each golfer’s era feel genuine. There are also different filters on the camera to make each match seem like it’s taking place in that decade. From the grainy yellow and black quality of the early 1900’s to the blown out colors of the 60’s to the Hi Def sharpness of modern day, you’ll feel like you’re in that specific era competing against a legend.

Quick Play: For players interested in just a fast round, quick play offers a lot of different options. There’s a new featured event every week that has a certain objective that you must complete. There are quick tournaments that have you play the final round of a tournament of your choosing. There are also practice rounds that allow you to play a round on any of the courses in the game. Lastly there’s the ability to practice at the Augusta National practice facility.

Connected Tournaments: You can choose to play with others all over the world in various live tournaments, you can choose to play with your country club against other clubs or you can choose to play against members of your own club, and you can play the pros. When you play the pros, you’ll be matched against the real pros in the tournament they’re currently playing. This means that if Tiger is 11 under that will be reflected in the score you have to beat. It’s a great way to add to the overall feeling of a fully connected golf experience.

Country Clubs: You’re able to join or create a country club that can be made either public or private. You can compete in daily single round tournaments and four day tournaments.

Online: Go online to play against a friend or go into the lobby to be paired with someone to play against.

We also get night golf! Wake up in the middle of the night and want to play a round at the Oak Hill Country Club using real time? Then you’ll hit the links in the dark using an illuminated ball to light your way. These are the little touches that all add up to make Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 feel like you are always connected.

All four majors gives Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 the most authentic feel in the franchise’s history.

For the first time in franchise history we see all four major tournaments. The PGA Championship, The Open Championship, The US Open, and finally the Masters.

All four majors being included makes the career mode finally feel like a true career mode. In previous entries there was always something missing when you were trying to become the number one golfer in the world. When it comes to sports games the licenses are vital to the overall feeling of the game. All four majors give Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 the most authentic feel in the franchise’s history.

Another new addition is connected tournaments. The overall theme of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is for everything to be connected and connected Tournaments do just that.

Players are sent out to a course in groups of 24 and are all playing at the same time. You’ll only see the player you control but you’ll see the path the other players are taking towards the hole. While teeing off you may see the trail from another player’s tee shot in front of you. While putting you’ll see the trail left as someone else tried a putt.

Some may find the constant stream of playing distracting, but after a few shots it becomes normal and most everyone should be able to get used to it. What connected tournaments do is make every course feel like it’s alive. No matter when you start a round you see the course filled with people and better yet, every group of 24 people can chat together on the course no matter what hole they’re on. This gives a great sense of community, while also sporting  an option to mute the unruly people who may cross the line during a match.

The sense of community goes farther when you talk about country clubs. When you start playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 you can select a country club to belong to. There are actual benefits for being part of a club. You’ll earn coins and the system in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 rewards country clubs in the form of loyalty awards. If you and the other members of your club play Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 daily you’ll earn coins which can be used to purchase various things in the game. The more players from the club who play daily increases the number of coins you’ll earn.

On top you have me and on bottom you have my great, great grandfather.

On top you have me and on the bottom you have my great, great grandfather.

Country club rosters have also been expanded from 25 to 100 members. Last year the clubs felt too small while this year they feel just about right. Previously, there were times that no one at all was playing even in my regularly active club. This year with it’s expanded club roster I see a few members even during off hours trying to get a few holes in.

The community aspect of the country clubs is goes further by allowing each club to set up multiple chat rooms. Players in the chat rooms can talk with the rest of their club regardless of where they are in the game. One player may be finishing a tournament, while another is playing a round in career mode, meanwhile, they are able to talk back and forth freely.

Now all of these features and options would be useless if the game didn’t play or control well and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 hits them all perfectly.

The first advancement in control is that all golfers in the game feature a signature swing style. This style helps distinguish all the pros from one another, and allows players who choose to create their own characters the ability to customize them even further. It allows you to make a golfer with his or her own style of play. Maybe you want to be a long ball hitter or you’d rather be a finesse player who relies more on draws and fades, you can create a golfer that fits you best, no matter what your playing style.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 touts that there are millions of possible shots to make and if anything they’ve underestimated this claim. The mixture of a revamped strike meter, advanced shot shaping, and the miss hit detection gives players the chance to play in their own unique style.

Out of these, the miss hit detection feels like the biggest plus for those who hated to be penalized randomly. In previous installments a miss hit would be calculated on your golfer’s stats so a miss hit would have a certain percent chance of happening. In Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14, the hit miss chance is a direct result of the combination of your stick accuracy and the tempo of your swing. Even in the early stages of a created golfer’s career if you’re good enough on the controls you can overcome some of the problems an amateur might have in real life.

The controls are easy enough. Take the left analogue stick and pull it down to start your golfer’s swing and then push it up to complete the swing. The quality of your shot will depend on the pace of the swing and the accuracy in keeping your shot straight. If one of those is off, the ball will be off course, if both of them are off expect to go looking in the woods or a lake for your next shot.

While the controls are simple enough pulling them off on a consistent basis is the hard part. The four difficulties return from previous Tiger Woods installments with Amateur, Pro, Tour pro, and Tournament. As you increase the difficulty you’ll see that the game strips away the “creature comforts” like putt preview and overhead camera.

There’s a new difficulty added for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 called simulation and it’s the closest thing you can get to playing actual golf without smelling the freshly cut grass. Simulation is for the most veteran of players. Even people who have been playing for years will find it challenging to be under par at the end of a round.

Move support is also flawless. The game reads and performs the way you would expect. The only thing that players will have to get used to is using something short like the move controller to putt with, rather than a club. Users who normally don’t use motion controls will find that after a few rounds it’ll become second nature.

The game looks incredible. Character models and animations are the best we’ve ever seen and the courses are done extremely well. The swings and shots are fluid and each time period is recreated perfectly. Each course is painstakingly recreated into a work of art with little touches here and there.

The sound in the game is great. Jim Nance spearheads the commentary during the matches but also does voice overs for the Augusta extras and the new features in the game. On the courses the sound is faithfully recreated. There are subtle environmental noises, plus the mix of other golfers and the spectators. It all comes together to make for a very realistic setting.

The music is perfect. It fits the feel of the sport and there’s always a calm, soothing melody in between your menu selections or loading screens. The only time you may notice the music is when it comes together in a very powerful part of the song and it fits. It never feels out of place or that it’s trying too hard.

Why it may be helpful for people with anxiety

  • Tons of content
  • Looks great
  • Game always feels alive, never feels dormant
  • Controls are perfect either using standard controller or motion controls
  • Everything feels alive no matter when or where you play
  • Live Tournaments and country clubs help build a community
  • Controls are easy to pick up and play with
  • Multiple ways users can tweak the difficulty to make the perfect game of golf depending on how they’re feeling

Why it may be unhelpful for people with anxiety

  • The quality of your shot comes down to how well you physically perform the motion, so someone suffering from severe symptoms may have a problem controlling the game

Why you should be playing this

As I said in the beginning, I’ve been playing the Tiger Woods franchise for years, heck I’ve been playing golf games for decades and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is the best golf game I have ever played.

The improvements in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 come in all sizes but the bottom line is that they all come together to make the perfect game of golf.

This is the kind of game that can fit any kind of gaming mood you’re in. There are times that I play tournaments in my country club and each shot is a challenge that has me on the edge of my seat because of how tight the leaderboards are. Other times I want something relaxing and I hit the course in my own career and play a few rounds.

There was even one night that I took the Augusta 1934 tour and it was great. You walk the entire course as it stood in 1934 with Jim Nance telling you about the course and the history of each hole.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 isn’t just the best golf game of all time, it’s also one of the best sports games of this generation.

This review was based on the PS3 version that was provided by the publisher.

Overview
Release Date

Mar 26, 2013

Digital or Retail

Both

Platform

Xbox 360, PS3

Developer

EA Tiburon

Publisher

Electronic Arts

Positives

Plethora of features, game mechanics are perfect, controls are spot on, looks gorgeous with impressive detail in the courses, live tournaments and country clubs make the game feel alive no matter what time you play.

Negatives

Long loading times

Jason Moquin
Oh this is where I get to say something about myself like I was captain of the debate team or that I was once king of Prussia. Well games, let's throw games in there, and I like sports, and comics, and animated things, mostly Japanese giant robots, oh and pasta, big fan of pasta. You know all shapes taste different? Each one has a distinctive bite and holds the sauce differently. A lot of people are like "PASTA IS PASTA" and I say "STOP YELLING AT ME".
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