Fore-Play

BY ADAM ROTTENBERG
Daily Arts Editor
Published October 19, 2004

Nothing screams excitement like videogame golf. But with
“Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005,” EA Sports seems to have
finally captured the nuances of the sport and combined them with
enough entertainment value to make the mundane appear electrifying.
While the real Tiger Woods is mired in a slump, “Tiger
2005” shows no sign of slowing down.

Players familiar with “Tiger 2004” will feel right
at home with this latest installment. Gamers no longer use the
tried and true system of timing button presses on power meters.
Instead, players use the analog stick in a fashion similar to the
“Golden Tee” arcade series. This addition enables the
user to feel more attuned to the actual sport, as the motion of the
stick mimics the motion of the club.

The game mechanics are worth noting because of the depth and fun
found in the many modes of play. Golf fans will notice that they
can play a variety of styles of the sport — like match play,
skins or best ball — as well as by standard rules. These
alternate forms of golf are best saved for multiplayer, since most
rely heavily on the response of the opponent.

PGA Tour mode is akin to the dynasty mode found in EA
Sports’ other marquee titles. In PGA Tour, players take a
created golfer through the ranks of the PGA, earning money to
unlock legends, new apparel and more courses.

The big enhancement to “Tiger 2005” is
“Tigerproofing.” This entails a degree of customization
in which the gamer can now make the courses tougher by adding
obstacles and decreasing the sizes of fairways and greens. The only
way to earn the ability to Tigerproof a course is through the PGA
tour mode.

Although the gameplay itself is nearly flawless, the roster
leaves a lot to be desired. While players would expect a full
assortment of pros, what is available is a disappointing array of
just 15 players. And beyond Tiger himself and Vijay Singh, most of
the big names — Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson, for example
— are nowhere to be found. The golfers present, however, are
near-perfect renderings of the actual players.

The inclusion of real courses adds to the authenticity and
realism of “Tiger 2005.” From Pebble Beach to St.
Andrews, many of the hallmark settings from the professional tour
are replicated flawlessly. And with Tigerproofing, the courses can
change and become significantly harder for more advanced
gamers.

As a simulation of professional golf, few titles can match
“Tiger 2005” in either gameplay or sheer options. It
features tons of replayability via its unlockable content, deep PGA
Tour mode and competitive multiplayer. Even though the roster leads
a lot to be desired, this is still the best golf game on the
market.

 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.