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Reviewed by Rich DeWester
A's sports season officially tees off with their release of "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10." As the number after the title indicates, “Tiger Woods” has long been one of the most respected EA sports franchises, as well as the only golf simulation game worth mentioning. This year (just like every other year) promises to be the best one yet, with several new additions to the series. They've gone ahead and added in some new online and single player modes, adjusted a few things, and finally added live weather.
If you're not familiar with Live Weather, it's been a great feature in EA's "NCAA Football," where they take real weather updates from where you're playing and make it so the game mimics them. (This is its first year, and there are a few things that need to be worked on a bit, so don't be surprised when some things don't make a lot of sense when the weather changes.) Other in-game tweaks are better camera angle controls and a new Precision Putting system to help simplify the gameplay. They’ve also added some decent commentary to the game with Scott Van Pelt and Kelly Tilghman, who will comment on activity on the leaderboards and how terrible you're doing on the course.
The golfer creation system is unchanged from last year’s, but it still remains one the most in-depth create-a-player systems available. After completing your character, you will be given a chance to test your skill at the game to help determine your character's attributes. As you progress through your career, these attributes will change based on your performance; this works similar to "Madden 09," but more responsive.
As previously mentioned, there are all new single and multiplayer modes to enjoy, including Play the Pros, a new feature that allows you to compete in tournaments where you challenge the real PGA tournament leaderboards. This has been a feature quite a few Tiger fans have been looking forward to, and play is, well, friggin’ hard. They try to make the course as authentic as possible, so the greens are a lot faster and the roughs are far less friendly. And since I'm far from the best virtual golfer in the world, I felt pretty pleased finishing with my +8. There is also Tournament Challenge, a mode that allows you to compete in past tournaments and players like Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill.
They've added a few new courses to the game as well, including Bethpage Black, Pinehurst, Torrey Pines, Oakmont, Haseltine National, Banff Springs, and Turnberry, as well as Sawgrass available as DLC. With all this "newness" it still doesn't feel all that new, which is both good and bad. The game still remains a bit challenging for new players to get into, and the character models, for the most part feel the same since the game’s jump to next generation systems. They seem to have changed the lighting effects this year for the better, but they curiously decided to add a white ghost streak behind the golf ball on power shots. It almost reminds me of the ESPN find-the-puck feature when watching hockey; I personally didn't need all that, and felt it was a bit too "NBA Jams" for me.
While the "Tiger Woods" series is typically far from the worst offender, EA at times seems to deliver just enough new stuff each year to keep their customers from being pissed. With some years, it feels like they could have just added the new content via DLC, unless of course you demand a new interface. Even if "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10" didn't exactly blow my mind, it certainly remains a lot of fun to play. Just don't let me catch you slippin', EA.