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Nintendo Wii Review: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08

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If yearly updates for sports video games irritate you, meet Tiger Woods 08. In less than a few months after the release of Tiger Woods 07, the franchise continues on the Wii in improved form. If you were suckered into the 07 edition, congratulations – you’ve been lowered to the level of a beta tester, and had to pay for the privilege.

EA Sports has addressed nearly every complaint the public had with the premiere Wii Tiger. The swing, obviously the main draw for the hardware, is smoother and less touchy. Whereas last year a flick of the wrist at the top of your swing registered as a full downswing, it’s almost impossible to mess up in 2008.

Putting mercifully has a meter to gauge power, actually making it easier to sink whatever is put in front of you. While the default putter is ridiculously powerful, you’ll soon master the touch needed and begin draining the toughest slopes. The putt preview now lets the player take a full swing and see the results within a set time limit. This also increases the enjoyment of the Wii exclusive mini-putt game.

Time was properly spent evolving the swing system, including multiple styles. If you’re truly a gamer, you can appreciate the sit down swing. Since standing goes against the hardcore gaming lifestyle, you have this option to make a simple back a forth motion to send the ball flying. An analog swing also allows for use of the nunchuck as in any other edition of the game, though it’s impossibly inconsistent in terms of distance. Consider it a lost cause.

Minor improvements elsewhere bring over features from the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 Tiger 08. The massive Tiger Challenge mode beats out other next-gen counterparts in terms of the amount of available contests. You’ll move up a grid-like series of events, increasing stats, purchasing items like the ever-popular +3 club shaft of power, and eventually take on Woods himself. With the ability to skip the shots of CPU golfers (and your own once off the club), this is also a faster process.

Game Face returns, but brings with it one of the largest and all encompassing issues with Wii Tiger. Menus are simply impossible to navigate. Trying to make small adjustments to your golfers face is needlessly complex as the cursor also scrolls through more sub menus. A small move downward could be registered as a menu change instead of an eye alteration.

Outside of the Game Face, the icons used to select modes are stupidly squished together in form to match that of the Tiger Challenge. Selecting the proper modes becomes, ironically, more of a challenge than the game itself. There is no option to use the D-pad for any of this, which is logical and would be accurate.

Wii annoyances grow with tacked on controls such as spinning the ball, a familiar Tiger game play mechanic. Instead of simply using the D-pad to indicate the needed direction, you’ll need to flick the Wii Remote around in no specific motion to make it spin faster. Holding down the same D-pad button and doing so is needlessly complex and open to unavoidable errors.

Taunting makes you thankful Tiger on the Wii hasn’t made it online. This is by far the stupidest addition this franchise has ever endured, allowing any opposing player to constantly make a loud horn blow in the background, blur the screen, randomly generate wind, or play around with the spin on the ball you just hit.

It’s called cheating and not taunting when it’s on a level such as this. All of these are performed by a button combination along with shaking. Apparently, whatever higher power you worship generates wind by shaking his Wii up and down. Brilliant game play mechanic EA.

The sub par graphics, not even adjusted for widescreen displays, and seemingly pulled from Tiger Woods 2003, further down this Wii effort. Thankfully, the choice was made to focus the record setting development time where it needed to be. This is the Tiger to keep an eye on, though it still feels like this is a $50 beta at times.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: Nintendo DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, and Xbox 360.


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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.