Saturday, May 23, 2009

"Tiger Woods 10" Xbox 360 Demo

I got a chance to play the demo for "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10" for a good hour this afternoon, and it's definitely worth a check.

If you've played either of the last two versions of the game, you will be able to be a pro at this one right away. While the demo includes two holes from Bethpage Black and Turnberry (one stereotypical U.S. Open-type course and one stereotypical European links-style course, respectively) to give you a taste of the different terrains and physics you will encounter, most of this new version of "Tiger Woods" feels exactly the same as the last two.

Needless to say, I (and I'm sure most of you will be able to) can birdie each hole consistently already. And I am hoping, hoping HOPING that's because this demo was intentionally set on a low difficulty level, because I was mis-hitting my driver often and long irons occasionally, and yet the ball didn't go too far from its intended destination. But, as I said, I really doubt this could be as difficult a level as EA is offering.

The only real change in the on-the-course gameplay is a new putting meter which shows you exactly when you have to stop your putter to make the ball reach your target in perfectly flat conditions. At first I was very distracted by this, but after a few holes I realized this doesn't change the fact that you still have to set your own target and do your own accounting for elevation and green conditions, it only shows you exactly when you have to stop your putter, which is helpful.

However, I cannot help but feel like this feature is cheating, just as I feel the ability to see the optimum putting line is cheating. If you need to hit three-quarters of a nine iron, the game doesn't tell you where you have to stop your club. So why should the game be able to show us where to stop our putter for that? It just feels cheap to me, but I guess I'll just have to get used to the new generation of "Tiger Woods" golf.

The other thing this demo shows off is a bit of the new "Tournament Feel." While you're playing, you'll receive text updates on screen when someone close to the top of the leaderboard scores high or low on a hole. I have a feeling it's really going to add to the off-line portion of the game, giving tournaments a much more competitive feel with less isolation.

Overall, as I am every year, I'm excited for the new "Tiger Woods." I just wish we didn't have to wait another three weeks for the full version, since I am itching to get back on the links now!

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