Missing the mark on the PSP in its first outing, EA’s Tiger Woods 06 is actually playable this year. Gone are the absurd load times (obviously because a of rushed product), and they now more closely resemble the console version. It’s still behind in the feature set, the multitude of modes cut down and single player only includes the Rivals mode, also changed from the home versions. Where it matters is on the course, and Tiger 06 fares only ok.
The biggest problem is the analog nub of the PSP. If there were any doubts as to its actual analog nature, this will put them to rest. All fairway shots are fine, making it easy to hook or slice, something that was hard to do on the home systems, killing the difficulty every year. The problems on the PSP begin with the aggravating putting system.
Ditching the caddy tips, the true analog putting should be the most significant change in the series. The developers had a different idea, offering up a camera to show players exactly where they need the ball to go. That could have ruined the game if there was any chance of accurately determining power. Unfortunately, the nub is so sensitive, it’s all but impossible to set the needed strength. Pulling back almost instantly puts this at 100%, and it’s only a matter of luck after that.
It’s a shame the putting is broken, because this is a remarkable turn around from last year, which is either disappointing if you spent $50 on the previous game (which released around six months ago, which means this is a yearly entry only by name) or a sign that the original was an absolute mess. Either way, the expanded game face (though not up to par with other versions), enhanced graphics, and barely noticeable load times set this up to be a great portable golf experience.
The Rivals mode is not what was included in the console releases this year. Instead, you’ll rank your way up by competing in various challenges set up by the best in the game (past or present). You’ll earn cash for everything you do, which can then be applied to either attributes or new items. There is no separation between the two upgrade sections on the PSP yet.
That’s it aside from a quick stroke, match, skins, or putting challenge game in single player. Since this is not online (unlike EA’s other sports titles this year), it doesn’t leave much to do once that section is complete. You can still play PSP-to-PSP if someone you know has an additional copy, but the replay value this series usually brings with it isn’t included in the usual manner.
That leaves fans with a tough choice this year. Either stick with the outrageously easy but full-featured home renditions or deal with the aggravating putting and lack of features on the PSP. It’s a tough year for this seven-year-old series, and there are no golf games scheduled outside of this. However, if you already have Hot Shots, that will serve you fine.