IGN Review of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09
Much like the aging of people, when consoles get older they are forgotten as they drift out into the graveyard of once-great systems. The PlayStation 2 has managed to stay alive for longer than most anticipated. Its large install base has kept companies pumping games out despite the availability of newer, shinier hardware. EA Sports is a prime example of a company that still takes the time to develop its yearly games for the PS2. Sadly, this season is the weakest sports outing ever for the system and Tiger Woods 09 follows on the path set forth by the rest of this year's crop.
Last year's Tiger was a mirror image of the previous year but with fewer features and this year's game is a gutted version of that. Gone is online play and the FedEx Cup integration is much less prominent. Instead you'll be confined to a PGA Tour Season, an EA Sports Cup which is a bracket-style single tournament and Play Now which allows for up to four players to join up on one console and play in any of the handful of golf variants.
There's no Tiger Challenge, no practice range, no driving range and no club tuner. Yes, from the main menu Tiger Woods 09 feels like half the package that you're used to. Thankfully there are a few nuances under the hood that some might enjoy. First, there's the skill streak that is accumulated for scoring in or under regulation on holes. Building up your skill streak gives you points that you can spend on clothes and equipment. Experience points are also earned for each good shot that you make and those are then used to improve your character. It's simple but at least the character progression works, though not as well as what the current-gen alternative brought to this year's table.
Thankfully the core golf action is just as solid as you remember. They've adopted the swingometer that harkens back to what's seen in the DS version and the power-up indicator is much more subtle than it has been. Putt preview is also gone (thank goodness) in favor of a more hardnosed approach. There are no Tiger Visions, no previewing putts, just take your swing and let it fly. Much more realistic and, in the end, fun.
Visually everything about the game is ripped straight from last year's Tiger. Player models are the same, Tiger has the same color default shirt and the courses are identical. Couldn't they have made some sort of refinements? That's not to say that it looks bad, but the more I analyze the package the more I realize the near total lack of effort on the part of EA Sports.
The presentation values are also straight out of last year's game with no new camera angles or menu designs. Speaking of the menus, they feel like they could be straight out of an original PlayStation game. The commentary from the new duo of Sam Torrance and Kelly Tillman is mediocre at best. Most of what Tillman says is boring and Torrance is quiet (thankfully) for most of the time.
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