Saturday, April 02, 2011

Tiger Woods 12: The Masters

I've been playing this game a lot since it came out on Tuesday and it's pretty incredible. It's the third version of the Tiger Woods series I have purchased and it's the only one I have enjoyed. The graphics are great, the gameplay is challenging (at least it is on the Tour Pro setting I am using), the career mode so far has been addictive, and to be able to play a round at Augusta is just about the coolest thing ever.

I do have one complaint and it's about the downloadable content. For the first time EA has incorporated the downloadable courses into the career mode. That is a great idea for those willing to purchase new courses. However, I noticed that if you skip a tournament that requires a downloadable course the nonplayer characters still play that round and gain points toward the Nationwide Cup while you lose ground to them. Essentially, you are being penalized for not purchasing the downloadable content. I don't know if it's oversight or if it's a strategy to force people to spend more money on the game. Knowing EA, it could be either. It's too bad because there are 16 courses included with the game which is pretty generous. One complaint I have heard is that one of the achievements requires you to purchase DLC. To me, that is a legitimate way to entice you to purchase DLC because it doesn't interfere with the core of the game.

Another minor quibble is the announcers. You would figure that by now with all the years of incorporating announcers into sports games they would get to the point where they aren't just plain bad. Links 2004 had better announcing in the game. At least there was some humor in that announcing. They excelled at condemning with faint praise. There have been a couple of unexpected chuckles so far in this game but mostly I hear the same few phrases over and over. In game announcing doesn't make or break a game for me but this just feels phoned in and it's a little distracting.

Also, I have noticed that the game doesn't take into account whether or not your created golfer is left handed when you check the lie of your ball. When you check your lie you are told if the ball is above or below your feet. If your golfer is left handed the information you are given is the opposite of how the ball is actually situated. If you aren't careful you can compensate for the wrong lie and hit a shot that will go very much the wrong direction.

Another quirk that is more amusing than anything else is the animation after your hit your shot. Your golfer starts walking toward the spot where your shot landed. It doesn't matter what is in front of you. A lake? No problem he's striding confidently toward the water. Whatever obstacle is between your golfer and the ball doesn't matter, he is heading toward it. He doesn't get there, the view shifts to the new lie right after your golfer takes a few steps but, if you are paying attention it can be humorous.

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