IGN Review of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10
It's no secret that last year's Tiger Woods on PSP was a serious disappointment. It omitted features and what new mechanics it did bring to the table were shoddily conceived. Not so in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 on the PlayStation Portable. This year you get control mechanics that make sense and actually work, some new mini-games that are worked into the gameplay quite well and online play for you and a friend.
When you step out on the course for the first time, you'll immediately notice that the user interface is much more in line with what's seen on consoles. I chose to swing with the analog stick on the PSP (the most challenging option) but you can opt to go with three-click or two-click swinging as well. The right trigger powers up your shot and, if using the analog, you'll need to ensure that you're going straight back and straight forward to avoid pulling or pushing your shot.
Also governing the shot is your overall confidence which you'll build up over the course of a round. Confidence will be taken away if you hit into the rough and added if you nail it close to the green. You'll also be given a risk gauge to let you know how difficult the shot is that you're attempting. If you can hit the riskier shots, you'll be given more confidence which will net you bigger confidence bonuses. The confidence mechanic is something that used to be in console versions of Tiger but was taken out. I think it does a good job trying to emulate the mental aspect of golf. If a golfer is down mentally, he's not going to play well and vice versa. Tiger on PSP does a good job of showing that this year.
All the usual game modes are present. PGA Tour Season, Play Now and multiplayer (now with functioning online play), but this season you'll also get Tournament Challenge. Basically you roam around to different courses with your created golfer and try to match outcomes from real golf tournaments from yesteryear. The challenges in Tournament Challenge seemed to be a bit more difficult than what I remembered from the consoles, but that didn't make it any less fun. The structure varied slightly as well, with each course offering three levels of challenges. You still get video clips of Tiger recounting past tournaments, but the lack of replicating shots with GamerNet technology takes away the impact of what Tiger is saying.
Mini-games were an aspect of Tiger that was stricken from last year's game. Thankfully they're back and better than ever. You'll be prompted throughout your round to participate in games like cleaning your ball, picking up debris that's sitting in front of your putt, and managing your heart rate. If you perform well, you'll get an attribute boost. The mini-games are well-crafted and make sense in the game of golf (for the most part). You can elect to ignore them and carry on, but the attribute boost almost always makes them worth playing.
For as many cool additions and changes that have been made to this year's Tiger on PSP, all is not perfect. There are still camera angles that prohibit your view of the trajectory of your ball at the sake of being stylish and the PSPs graphical limitations sometimes obscure the hole when going for a long putt. The level of overall visual detail is acceptable, but there are still shimmering polygons and some nasty golfer models.
On the gameplay side I found the ideal putt camera to be a bit inaccurate. Sometimes it would tell me to aim to the right, I'd doubt its judgment but decided to move slightly to the right – assuming the AI knew more than I – only to have my putt hit the right lip of the cup and stay on the green. It's extremely frustrating. I also found the greens in general to be unrealistically stiff with balls rolling for days once landing
The online play via EA Online is very well done thanks to the fact that such a small amount of data is needed to play a multiplayer game over the web. There's no direct interaction with the other player, so all that needs to be transmitted is the position of their ball. There's a shot clock that makes sure you keep pace and you'll take a one-stroke penalty if you exceed the allotted time. It's a bummer that it's limited to only two players – had they upped it to four they could've gotten the whole online community in on the act (when I played a few games there were only four players online).
As in every other version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, Scott Van Pelt joins Kelly Tilghman in the commentator booth. The commentary on consoles wasn't much to write home about, but it fairs even worse on PSP thanks to the UMD load times. Their comments are kept short and spread apart so you're not listening to the grinding of the UMD loading. Ball strikes still sound solid, though.
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