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October 18, 2005
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
12/10/2005EA SportsEA Canada1-4, 4 GMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
536KBDolby PLIIYesNoNoneNo

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Animation is, as expected, superb.
Love them or hate them there's no denying that when you buy an Electronic Arts product you're almost guaranteed quality. In some areas they are clearly ahead of the competition with Tiger Woods PGA Tour being one such franchise. So here we are. Christmas 2005 and Electronic Arts deliver another title in the series, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 has it all. To begin the game includes 21 golfers (including 15 PGA Tour Players) including Chris DiMarco, Mike Weir, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, and of course Tiger Woods. 14 superbly detailed courses (11 real and 3 fantasy courses) are included including seven new licensed courses include TPC Sawgrass (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.) Reflection Bay (Las Vegas, Nev.), Cog Hill Golf Club (Chicago, Ill.), Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club (Portland, Ore.), Sahalee Country Club (Seattle, Was.) and Doral Golf Resort (Miami, Fla).

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Tiger goes for the chip shot.
When looking at the game modes the development team haven't added much on from last years title. The biggest new addition if the Rival Mode which allows you to challenge legendary golfers at the peak of their careers. It's pretty good fun to take on some of the greats such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan and of course Tiger Woods. Besides that though there's little else new in terms of game modes so don't expect any radical enhancements here.

In terms of returning game modes besides single rounds and tournaments the meat of the game is contained in the massive career mode which now spans the 52-week PGA TOUR calendar of events for up to 30 seasons. After using EA's extremely impressive GameFace technology to create your own player (shame they don't use Digimask yet), you can take your golfer onto the course to start entering tournaments, win prize money and even obtain sponsorships from real golf equipment manufacturers throughout your career. The ultimate goal; to become the best in the world and the number one money winner.

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Taking the short cut...
The one area that is going to either increase or dilute gamers enthusiasm for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 is the new putting controls. Both analogue sticks are now used with the left analog stick used to control your swing and the right analogue stick determining the trajectory and strength. To me, this new inclusion was farily good. It certainly means you need a little more skill then in previous games, but once again getting really short or long puts is quite easy, while mid-range putts are still going to be your problem. Another new gameplay feature is the Gamebreaker meter which when filled allows you to boost your power and accuracy after building up enough confidence.

One disappointing aspect I which occurs with EA's titles is that they often remove courses which appeared in previous titles in the series. Sure Tiger Proofing means the courses can be altered slightly to meet your skills however it's fairly clear that Electronic Arts are using a rotational basis to ensure that when the courses re-appear further down the track they will once again seem fresh to gamers, and hopefully offer some visual improvements along the way. Still it would be nice if they were all bundled in together to make a more complete set.

For online gamers we are pleased to report that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 includes support for up to four players in online tournaments on the Playstation 2. Not only can you compete in online tournaments but also store prize money lists, player stats, and league leaders. This is a step in the right direction and certainly by the time next generation hits we would love to see Electronic Arts push these numbers much further to allow tournaments with dozens, if not hundreds of virtual golfers playing.

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In the bunker.
In terms of graphics the game looks pretty similar to previous games in the series. The courses are simply gorgeous to play on with some wonderfully green grass to admire (unlike us here in drought stricken Queensland where grass is a memory). The players are superbly detailed and animations silky smooth. As with previous versions Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 does skip the odd frame here and there which given the rather simplistic nature of the sport is a bit bewildering. I would also love to see some more visual background effects, birds on the water or flying overhead, actual crowds surrounding the course and similar.

Audio is one of the least impressive elements in this title. The ambient effects are present, and the woosh of the golf club is, well, fine however the commentary by David Feherty and Gary McCord is a little stale, somewhat repetitive and considering the lack of processing power needed to run a game like this should have been better then what we have here. I also still wish we could hear some comments from the golfers, or conversations between golfers and caddies after a good or bad shot. Perhaps in next years game then!

If you haven't purchased a golf game in a while then Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 offers one of the most impressive, detailed and enjoyable video game recreations of the sport ever. As with every yearly updated sports game the need to purchase this if you purchased the game in the last year or two becomes more questionable. Overall though, and extremely enjoyable title.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
GRAPHICSI still want crowds, but courses and players look quite superb.
SOUNDIt sounds like golf, although the commentary could be improved still.
GAMEPLAYThe dual analogue sticks are interesting, gameplay superb.
VALUE30 year career mode, good value if you don't own Tiger 2005.
OVERALLThe Tiger Woods PGA series has once again proven that it's ahead of the pack when it comes to delivering the goods. This is one game that all golf fans, even if they own previous games in the series, should consider adding to their collection.

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