Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 Preview
Tiger Woods is in the midst of his comeback, so we figured we’d pay him homage by taking a look at his upcoming PGA Tour installment. As we all know, the sport of golf simply isn’t the same without Tiger, and fans are delighted that he’s finally making his return to the links. And the good news is that, as expected, there will be more than a few upgrades and enhancements; added details that avid followers of the franchise are guaranteed to appreciate. The standard stuff will be headed our way – updated visuals, a bit more depth (if that’s even possible), more courses and players, etc. – and a few refinements to existing gameplay mechanics. Oh, and let’s not forget: authenticity via atmosphere and drama. The crowd size will be doubled, there will be scoreboards found on crucial holes, and yes, updates concerning other players and how they’re faring in the tournament. It’s the kind of presentation that should immerse the gamer even further into the experience.
As for commentators, Kelly Tilghman will return and ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt will make his Tiger debut. Van Pelt, like so many of the colorful guys on ESPN, has his own style; it’s this flair and panache that will once again serve to increase the quality and appeal of the overall presentation. And if you think they’re going to stop there with the realistic atmosphere upgrades, think again: as you’re standing there, lining up your putt, you will have to deal with the added pressure of USGA officials with pen and paper standing at the ready. If for whatever reason you’ve got a question or aren’t quite sure about the rules, you’ll be able to bring up the official rulebook for perusal. A first look conducted by IGN also tells us that the soundtrack will be brought more to the forefront, and with so many more members in the crowd, the corresponding roar that goes along with an unbelievable shot ought to be stimulating. Oh, and let’s not forget that you will actually have tee times (well, new golfers will, anyway), so there’s gonna be all sorts of added pressure!
Now, as far as ambient effects go, you can expect all kinds of neat little additions, and one of the upgrades is that weather changes will come in real-time. If you’re familiar with past installments in the series, you’re aware of the altering weather, but it only changed from course to course…not from hole to hole. In PGA Tour 10, it can be sunny one hole, and if a storm is coming, the day will begin to cloud over and you’ll start seeing a darkening sky and raindrops. For the record, the weather could change from hole to hole in the last few Hot Shots Golf series, but it would be entirely random; it could be sunny and fair on the 12th hole and then snowing on the 13th. It’s far more realistic here, as the weather will perform as weather should. And obviously, you video game golf experts out there are well aware of how the changing weather changes the physics. The ball rolls slower, your accuracy rating will likely fall, and the tough shots get even tougher.
IGN also turned us onto one of the more prominent gameplay tweaks, which focuses on the Precision Putting system. Before, you had a bunch of different putters for different distances, but this time, you’ll have one putter for anything between 0 and 120 feet. The game will boast a “new graphical overlay” that dictates how far you’ll pull back on the analog stick before pushing forward to execute the putt. In this way, you’ll not only have to judge the slope of the green, but success will require more “precision” in terms of your distance assessment. As for the analog control we just discussed, we may also find the inclusion of the HSG three-tap mechanic in the game; new golf titles (like Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds for the PS3) are starting to feature both systems. For our part, we’ve often preferred the traditional method to the analog style, but that’s only because the latter started off badly in the early days of the previous generation. Analog use in golf titles has gotten much better with time, and we expect nothing but excellent control the whole way ‘round from the newest Tiger entry.
Tiger Woods: PGA Tour 10 is the first entry for a new decade, and our anticipation is high. For golf aficionados, there is only one option ever year, and you can bet that Mr. Woods will give you exactly what you crave come August.
3/12/2009 Ben Dutka