May 9, 2001
Tiger Woods USA Tour 2001 - Review
Tiger Woods USA Tour 2001 is actually Electronic Arts' second golf game on the Playstation. The first was the rather enjoyable Swing Away Golf which was developed by T & E Soft in Japan and distributed by Electronic Arts in America and Europe. Tiger Woods however is a much more serious game with real courses, real golfers and realistic physics. If you're a golfing fan then this will probably be one of your most anticipated titles of recent months. Tiger Woods has leant his name to the title, and while the game may not be up to his illustrious standards, this is still very solid golfing title. Should you purchase it? That depends on your gaming tastes. It's a tough choice.
|Tiger Woods never looked so good.|
As with most Electronic Arts titles Tiger Woods USA Tour 2001 is full of slick menus, intros, options and just about everything you could ever desire. The game include 6 different game modes. These include th Play Now, Stroke Play, Tournament, Skins, Match Play and Tour Mode. Most of these are fairly straight forward although th Play Now game mode includes 20 challenges for you to complete. This may include entering a play off for a championship or trying to retain a lead with 3 holes to go. It's definately a lot of fun.
|The course detail is simply stunning.|
As with the last couple of EA golfing games on the PSOne this game has removed the two click system (power then accuracy) in favour of using the analogue controls to swing the club. This is done simply by holding the stick back until you get as much power as you want and then flicking if forward. By moving the analogue stick it is also possibly to put some slice or spin on the ball to help it around the bends. It definitely takes some getting used to if you've only used the old two click golfing method but it manages to work quite well. Fortunately E have included a neat tutorial to help you get to grips with the system. Everything else in Tiger Woods USA Tour 2001is pretty much the same as most other golf games. Club selections, stance options, selecting directions, wind meters, and putting grids are all present in this game.
There is a few major problems, no that's too strong a word, niggles with Tiger Woods USA Tour which hold it back from being a superb title. The first is that there is a complete lack of courses. While the PC version of this game had a massive 17 courses on offer the Playstation 2 version has only three 18-hole courses including Pebble Beach, Poppy Hills and Spyglass Hill. Almost anyone who has played a golfing game featuring real courses would have played Pebble Beach, and probably Spyglass Hill as well. Another slight annoyance is that there are only 6 professional golfers to select from including Tiger Woods (of course), Justin Leonard, Brad Faxon, Stewart Cink, Robert Damron and Mark Calcavecchia. Other professionals appear on the leader boards but aren't playable in the game.
|Bunker particle effects do impress.|
So how does the game look? In a word; impressive. While not really leaping out and grabbing you Tiger Woods USA Tour 2001 is probably the most realistic looking golf game on a console ever, and in many ways surpasses the PC version. The greens, fairways and players are all accurately modelled and the animation is superb. It would have been nice to seen more of the very occasional spot effect such as leaves blowing on the course on windy days but that is really getting into the nitty gritty. The animations on the players are stunning and many of their real-life mannerisms have been carried into the game. The various camera angles manage to capture the "excitement" of the sport fairly well with the ball tracking being particularly impressive.
Sound wise there is also little to fault with the game. You get the sounds of the birds, the crowds and the ball. What else do you expect from a golf game? There is some commentary but that soon began to grate on me as you hear the same phrases too often, especially from the commentators. A few moments of speech from the golfers is usually pretty interesting although that too is limited in the number of phrases.
|Is the green on a little island?|
The one benefit to this title is that it will only incur a one off fee of around $AU100. Much better then forking that out for each real game of golf on these courses. With Electronic Arts' consistent polish and several options this is a solid title. It would have been great to see more courses as it all becomes too familiar too soon, especially since these courses have been used in many golfing games in previous years. If you're a golfing nut then this game will definitely be one to consider as it's the best realistic golfing game on a console ever. If you're not really into golf, or don't like repeated gameplay (ie the same courses), then you may be better off waiting for next year version which will hopefully contain more courses and golfers.
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