Focus is what Tiger Woods has needed for years. EA’s golf franchise, born from the difficult and non-player licensed PGA Tour series, had become complacent. Shooting in the 50s on a regular basis was not uncommon, but normal. Generating additional power off the tee and magically controlling spin in the air like a golf jedi are what made Tiger Tiger.
Simply taking those abilities away, regardless of their ability to impede on any sense of realism, turns the game into a bland, less satisfying experience. Focus, a simple meter, fixes all of this, finding balance and finally requiring strategy. Old habits die hard, and jamming on the A button to generate power on each hole is no longer possible. You need to save for that privilege, building what amounts to a momentum meter for your chance to rip a 300+ yard drive.
It is easy to earn and easy to lose, dipping a ball in a bunker having far more impact than a loss of control and yardage; you don’t rebuild the focus meter for botched shots. It is incredible how this simple addition radically alters the landscape among Tiger Woods players. Each swing carries more weight, and the possibility of additional power generating even more enjoyment due to the limited use. It is easy to become complacent when you are able to swing your club with force every time on the tee. The same goes for knowing a mid-air spin will save you on your green placement. Focus removes a safe zone.
Tiger still stays true to its source elsewhere, focusing on leveling up a created golfer with experience, and purchasing new items in the pro shop. For all the things done right on the course, off of it, a drastically stupid decision ruins it. Experience is now used not just to level up your golfers abilities, but to purchase things like a +5 club shaft of power from the in-game store. What is the point of purchasing a club for 500 XP when only 100 XP will generate the same stat increase from skills menu? Cash prizes made playing on the PGA Tour and winning tournaments purposeful, earning stat boosts otherwise unavailable unless you visited the pro shop.
Of course, you could just spend actual Microsoft Points and unlock items out of your level range, something the corporate suits at EA believe is a fair trade. This is still not enough for them though, blocking out online play for used purchasers after a seven day trial. Apparently, those $10 course add-ons, pro shop items, and $60 original sales are still not enough to make a profit from someone playing online. At least the invasive amount of advertisements on nearly every screen from the 2010 edition have been removed… at the cost of $10 online play.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Comic Mischief. This game can also be found on: PS3, Wii.