Eye of the Tiger, baby.
Tiger's had it hard this year. Sales of his video game are down to miserable levels, his personal life is in shambles, and his golf game reeks like Vijay Singh's armpits. What's a golfer to do? Well, why not join the Ryder Cup? That's exactly what Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 brings to the table this year along with more in-tune motion controls via Wii MotionPlus. There's 27 courses to be played upon with six or seven new ones, so there's plenty of new content in Tiger's new game, but is it worth picking up if you own past installments? Meet me at the second tee to find out.
Wii MotionPlus brings a lot of new dynamics to the game of golf. The precision is unheard of, and it works really well. If you pull your stroke, your results are going to be brutal. If you hook it just a little bit, you can bet your ball is going to be hooked just a little bit. New this year is the first-person mode which allows players to get inside the shoes of their favorite pro golfers. Who doesn't want to be inside the shoes of Boo Weekley? This time around it's completely possible to miss the ball entirely during a swing. This is why it's a good idea to keep a real life golf ball in front of you as a point of reference to swing the Wii remote over. Alternatively, if Wii MotionPlus is too difficult to play with you can always switch it out and play naked. That is, play without MotionPlus, not actually play without clothes on. Though then you'd have an extra to consider in the wood category of clubs. Playing without the Wii remote is a breeze as there's no way to mess up your shot. You tilt the Wii remote to perform a hook or draw shot and perform a regular swing to whack the ball to the other side of South Africa.
Playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 takes some learning. For instance there's all sorts of things to take into consideration from your current lie to wind conditions to slope to the way your swing your club. If the wind is blowing towards me, I should take another club up. If it's blowing with me, I'll opt to take a club down. The game uses percentages to tell you how you should swing your shot. For instance, if you're in the sand, you'll have to swing 10-20% percent harder to get it out and where you want it to land. No rhyming intended between sand and land. By performing a full swing, you get 100% or close to it out of your shot. If you utilize a short swing by only rising the Wii remote to your waist, the ball with go half the distance. This is perfect for approach shots and chip shots and the like. As you can probably tell, there's a myriad of different items to consider when going for the cup.
If playing as Tiger Woods or another famous PGA Tour star doesn't roll your rock, then you can create your own golfer using the intricate create-a-golfer tool. This year not everybody looks like Tiger Woods which is a good thing. I don't want the bad publicity after all. You can alter everything from skin color to your hairdo to your eye brow size to your cranium height, width, and depth to your fat capacity and et cetera. You can choose from several animations for post-hole theatrics from snapping your club in two across your knee to the infamous Tiger fist pump. A whole slew of clothing is available (most needing to be unlocked via sponsorships with various companies) for your golfer to get his style on. There's even fantasy costumes such as a knight, the Easter bunny, and more to become more animated on the links.
With your created golfer you now have access to a trio of modes. The first is the PGA Tour mode where you start as a rookie, plowing your way through amateur tournaments as you make your way to Q School. Pass Q School, and you're officially a pro taking on Tiger at his own game. That's golf-- not sleeping with other women. You play all year long earning money and points for the race for the Fedex Cup. Become number one, and that trophy is as good as yours. Meanwhile, the new mode that EA was banking on making this game a success is the Ryder Cup. This mode has you pairing off in teams of two to take on either the United States or Europe. You play doubles matches where the person with least amount of strokes on a hole wins, or an interesting take on golf where your partner plays wherever your ball landed and vice versa. It takes total teamwork and determination to master this mode. The final mode in the single-player campaign has you taking on several golfers for medals. Medals are earned in either bronze, silver, or gold depending on how well you do on each challenge. One might be taking on an opponent in skins play while another might be a driving challenge or chipping challenge. Outperform your opponent well, and that gold medal is yours for the taking.
Outside of the single-player component of the game, there's the multiplayer including online play. We'll get to online in a bit, however. Local multiplayer consists of a buttload (my technical term) of modes to play from a version of H-O-R-S-E where your try to outdo your opponent's shot to modes similar to what you have in the Ryder Cup. Then there's the wacky Party Mode where you'll be driving golf carts to round up golf balls, putting for various differently-scored holes, the further away the better to chipping balls into targets and teeing off to try to hit several targets for points. And if that wasn't enough there's a new mini golf mode to play with four different, themed courses to play on. I found this mode maddening, but perhaps you'll find it enjoyable.
Online play is just as good as last year consisting of match play or foursome simultaneous play where you can see your opponents shots represented by dissimilar colored lines as you play your round. New this year is the addition of online disc-golf. For those complaining about the lack of disc-golf online last year, your whining can subside. Also, there's no friend codes to be found here. Instead, you use an EA tag which is used on every EA game for Wii from Madden to FIFA to Medal of Honor Heroes 2. The online is successfully lag-free and fun to golf on. It's an admirable effort.
The visuals of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 compared to last year's installment really is marginal in appearance. The models are slightly better and the courses are less jagged. Sound-wise, it's disappointing. The same team from last year, that chick from the Golf Channel (I'm sure she'd love that description) and ESPN's Scott Van Pelt regurgitate the same lines from PGA Tour 10. It's disappointing, and frankly lazy on EA's part. Perhaps there's a new phrase here and there, but I didn't hear it.
Ultimately, if you've played last year's version or the one two years prior, there's a few new gimmicks to try out such as the Ryder Cup, online disc-golf, new courses, enhanced Wii MotionPlus play, and mini-golf. The rest of the package is pretty much the absolute same. So if grinding through the PGA Tour mode once again seems like a rip-roaring good time, then be my guest. As for everyone else, you might think about skipping out on this edition of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. And by seeing the sales numbers of the game, a lot of people did.
[SuperPhillip Says: 8.75/10]