Review: Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12

The big draw for this latest game in the Tiger Woods EA golf series is undoubtedly the addition of the Augusta National course.

The big draw for this latest game in the Tiger Woods EA golf series is undoubtedly the addition of the Augusta National course, home of the Masters.

It’s the first time the course has been licensed out to a game company for use, giving gamers and keen golfers the opportunity to do something they would never normally be able to – play 18 holes at one of the most storied golf courses in the world.

To be honest, seeing Augusta on screen is reason enough to get this one, but EA haven’t thrown all their eggs into the Masters basket, also providing a deep and extensive career mode for the first time in the series’ history, as well as a whole host of beautiful golf courses.

Adding a sense of progression and narrative is a great addition to the franchise. Make your way through the amateur ranks, conquer the Nationwide Tour, qualify for the big leagues in Q-school, do battle in the PGA Tour and then set your sights on golf’s biggest prizes – the majors.

As you play and progress, you are awarded XP, or experience points for the uninitiated, for pulling off good shots. These points can then be spent on improving your stats and skills around the course. Playing through the career mode becomes extra beneficial, as you can rack up xp in the early stages of your career, and cash in when you get to the big leagues.

Another new feature is that you now play alongside a caddie, who helps give you advice ahead of every shot, giving you an accurate read of the greens, or what the wind is doing, what club might be best to use, etc. It’s not a sure-fire recipe for success, though. If you and your caddie are new to a course, his advice might not always be the best, and sometimes you’ll feel the urge to ignore his sensible advice to play it to the middle of the green, opting instead to go straight for the pin.

Optional events, called Tiger challenges, are also built into the regular tour events you participate in, and you gain more xp for completing them. These also take the form of sponsorship challenges, which helps you unlock newer and better gear. One such challenge might require you to complete a whole round without a bogey, for which you are rewarded with a new sponsor and all the sponsor’s gear.

As for the controls and basic gameplay mechanics, they are as sound and functional as ever, meaning they never interfere with your potential enjoyment of the game, and merely do what they’re supposed to.

All in all, the new features help make this one feel like a proper sequel, a worthy addition to the long-running franchise, and a game well worth playing.

TITLE: Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters
PLATFORMS: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii
RATING: 8/10