IGN Review of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08
Our scheduled tee time is at hand and Tiger Woods is once again in our golfing party. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 is now available for the PSP, and with it comes a handful of new, though unfortunately not major, advancements upon the formula. Thankfully, the PSP version of the game implements these features in a tad more refined manner than what we saw on the PlayStation 2, making for an overall better game. It's not the sort of yearly improvement that we'd hoped for, but it's a solid release nonetheless, though not without flaws.
One of the new features comes in the way of the FedExCup Championship. Unlike the PlayStation 2 version, this is tied directly into your PGA Tour calendar and basically becomes the premiere tournament to shoot for over the course of your career. The difference with the FedExCup is that you'll need to rack up a bunch of high finishes over a season to qualify for the event, making it a more elite tournament than your normal weekend qualifier. It's nice that it's in here, but it's not big enough to become a major highlight.
The big addition this year comes in the way of the Shot Confidence and Risk meters. These affect your skills on both an overall and hole-by-hole basis. If you've played a hole before and have done well, your confidence will be a little higher and you'll be more likely to nail a perfect shot. If you've floundered in the past, you'll have to work harder to keep the ball on the fairway and maintain par. If you do happen to perform poorly leading up to a shot, you might be given the opportunity to play a mini-game to improve your confidence. These range from a ball washing game (which is similar to a music game), a shoe-scrubbing game or a game where you need to clear leaves and rocks from around a cup. They're a decent aside, but not anything to really write home about.
In addition to the Shot Confidence meter, you'll also have to work with (or against) a Risk meter. The more straightforward your shot, the lower the risk will be. If you attempt to drive over or through a tree, over a river or something of this nature, your risk meter will go through the roof, thereby making a difficult shot even trickier.
It's a decent idea, but for the most part it doesn't change the overall game all that much if you play a safe game. As you increase your skills as you normally would, you should expect that your confidence will slowly rise as you get lower and lower scores. However, the Risk meter can punish you when attempting to take tricky shots and make these shots more difficult than they should be, which we don't like.
The main gameplay mechanics are largely the same as they have been for the past few years on the PSP. The golfing still feels great and the overall progression works nicely, with you progressively getting better and better at your game in the ways that you want. If you take more risks at firing off extra-powerful drives, you'll be rewarded with more points to spend increasing your power rating. It's a nice system that keeps you playing just one more round, and then one more round, and then... You get the idea.
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