|Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003|
March 6, 2003 | Eddie Park
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 (TW03) is a title I've been hoping to play for quite a while. Though not a huge golf fan, I do enjoy watching the occasional game, and Tiger Woods is undoubtedly one of the most amazing players to come along in a while. The man can hit a ball so far it was almost unfair when he first hit the pro golf scene - he could eagle holes meant to be birdies with relative ease.
That being said, I was pleased to hear that TW03 was making its way to the Mac courtesy of Westlake Interactive and Aspyr Media. However, the inevitable question of whether or not the game would be any good remained. Past experience has shown many gamers that a stellar license does not necessarily make for a better game.
However, after spending some time with a preview copy, I can safely say that it's shaping up to look like a winner. Besides the fact that you get to play as Tiger Woods if you so wish, the presentation, control, and overall performance of this game, even in its current beta stage, is already addictively fun to play.
It's in the gameEA Sports, makers of the original PC game, seem determined to make this title stick out. Right from the beginning, players are assaulted with the big EA Sports logo and the "it's in the GAME" catchphrase, whereupon one of several short intros done by various famous golf personalities is shown, including one by Tiger himself. Call me shallow, but it's little touches like this one that can make the difference between a good game and a great one.
Being a title of the sports persuasion, TW03 provides a number of options to customize gameplay as players see fit. The main bulk of the game can be found in the Play Golf mode, where players can pick from plenty of different game types, including Stroke Play, Match Play, Bloodsome, and Greensome. Skills Competition, my personal favorite, allows golfers to compete in events such as longest drive, closest to pin, trouble shots, and chipping contests.
A mode that players of past Woods games have been asking for and has finally been included in this most recent version is the Career Mode. As its name suggests, Career Mode lets players create their own golfer and build him from the ground up, competing in various challenges and learning advanced shot techniques as they rack up money. A calendar helps players keep track of upcoming challenges.
When creating your own golfer, there are a number of options to choose from, though the options currently seem mostly superficial, with the majority of the customizations going to pieces of clothing such as hats, shirts, and shoes. There is an option for body type, but it didn't seem to have any real variety as of yet. More pleasing are the actual attributes of a player, which include Power, Accuracy, Recovery, Distance Control, and Putting. These skills can be upgraded by spending money earned through the completion of challenges. In addition, players can also purchase pieces of upgrade equipment, including Shaft Flexes, Club Types, and Ball Types. Though the terms used for each upgrade may be unfamiliar to casual golfers, the game includes a description of each type, including their benefits and drawbacks, thus making informed purchases easier.
For those of you that aren't Tiger fanatics or just want to crush other famous pros on a virtual field, TW03 offers plenty of recognizable names, including Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker, and Bill Macatee. If you don't recognize the names, that's fine, because player bios are included in-game to get newer players up to speed on today's Pros.
In terms of customizability, Tee, Difficulty, Control Method, and Handicap each come with their own options. Players who are more fashion conscious also have the option to change the outfits of players, from the shoes to the optional headwear. Club selection is also customizable for those that prefer a certain style of play. For those that prefer to make their own golfers, the create your own golfer from Career Mode is also available in regular play, minus the ability to modify the attributes.
Not to be outdone in the famous name department, several real-life golf courses are available for play, including the Royal Birkdale, Spyglass Hill, and Pebble Beach, a course that even non-golf fans have probably heard of at one point in their lives. For those that are less golf-inclined, each course comes with a short description detailing its major points and possible trouble shots. Options to change wind conditions, weather, sky conditions, and the way the rough handles are also available.