Tiger Woods ’09 All-Play (Electronic Arts)Written by Michael Siebenaler | | firstname.lastname@example.org
This game features three different types of swing difficulties to encourage vast amounts of core golf game play from willing players. The mini games and extras compound the overall appeal.
Experts can experience the customization mode and some basic draw and fade game play options. The 1:1 ‘swing’ element entails shot power — finesse and timing function, which looks to change with next year’s planned incorporation of Nintendo’s MotionPlus into the next Tiger Woods game installment. Just getting the correct release on your swing can be challenging at first, but these things improve with time and practice.
The helpful, one time use putt preview helps players get a grip on the green, which features a nice colored coded grid where green is level, red is up and blue is down. Any golf action takes at least a minimum learning curve if players want to succeed. If things get too frustrating, start with the easiest All-Play mode, which utilizes helpful graphics and hints throughout the game like ball trail and a helpful circle guide (hit A then move while holding B) with arrows on the right and left for further adjustments. The extended game mode lets players play through a PGA season up to 30 years. Vets can also take the Tiger challenge, refine their weapons of choice with the new Club Tuner option and compete in playoffs.
The new golf party mode includes a shooting gallery, range cart showdown, speed golf – long drive contest, mini putt, ball juggling. Mini games have a point system and can be played in a set of 5, 10, or 15 games. After each stage, pull back a short range putter and release to land on some bonuses, modifiers and other variables to shake up the scores. The new bonus ball battle features some simultaneous fun as up to four players can push and spin a ball in the air to their liking. The target mode is best for spinning ball battles.
The new online play supports simultaneous play from two to four players, drastically reducing the down time (e.g. waiting for other players). The sharp graphics, excellent menu navigation and easy to read icons make game play even easier. Menu items can easily be collapsed into the lower right corner of the screen. New courses include venues in South Africa and China. Special cut scenes on eagle/special shots combined with replay options make the successes all the more glorious.
The Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman and Sam Torrance dish out the commentary and a surprising amount of slams (especially the latter announcer), which definitely will make some players turn off their volume when the frustration level rises. The customization options even branch out into other media as players can put their face on a character – customized through the EA Sports World Website – and special personalized phone calls at www.easports.com/tigerwoods09/callouts.jsp.
A highly replayable game title, essential for golf lovers and highly recommended for all ages. All the new features and formats make it a great time for first timers to join in this unique, satisfying experience. (****, rated E, regular versions of this game on Nintendo DS, PS2, PSP, Xbox and Xbox 360.