|Publisher: Aspyr Media Genre: Sports|
|Min OS X: Any Version CPU: G4 @ 1200 MHz RAM: 256 MB DVD-ROM Graphics: 32 MB VRAM|
In a move that will have many armchair golfers rejoicing, Aspyr recently ported Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 to the Mac. As a person who generally avoids sports games like the plague, I nevertheless had seen and heard enough about this title to be intrigued by its great reputation on the Windows platform. What I found was an extremely enjoyable game that should not only appeal to sports buffs, but also to members of the action gaming crowd who feel the need to take a break from the endless supply of lightning fast shooters, racing games, and flight sims. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 sports addictive and entertaining gameplay, great graphics, and an incredible player customization system that is so detailed that it may make fans of other genres writhe in envy. Although I started this review with the thought that I, as a hardcore first person shooter fan, would never buy a game about golf, this game has persuaded me to reconsider that position. If this sounds like you, you may be surprised by what you find, so I encourage you to read on!
Gameplay, Part 1Part of the phobia that non-golfers all seem to share about golf is that, in a word, golf is boring. While watching the PGA Tour on ESPN may be analogous to watching paint dry, playing golf can be a completely different story. After all, give a man a round object, and what does he do? He inevitably winds up throwing it, or hitting it with an object so that it flies even further and faster. Golf beats other sports with a stick (literally) when it comes to making objects fly, and therein lays the entertainment.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour will attempt to deliver this in spades as it sends you down the fairway, club in (virtual) hand. There are many famous, real life courses at your disposal including Pebble Beach, the TPC at Sawgrass, and Troon North Monument. In order to get the most out of the 11 courses available, there are seven different game modes that should provide even the most voracious golfers with new material for weeks on end. While tournament play tends to be the 800 lb. gorilla of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour world, there are several innovative options that present a great deal of variety in the overall game experience.
The first of these unusual game modes is called the "Legend Tour," and it provides the player with an opportunity to work his or her way through a massive series of challenging opponents, starting with amateur golfers and concluding with a showdown with well-known golf legends from the past and present. While the first dozen or so golfers that you face will be easy pickings for most players, you'll eventually have to face some very recognizable legends such as Jack Nickalus, Vijay Sing, and John Daly that should provide a strong challenge.
The next mode that Tiger Woods offers is called "Scenarios," and is probably the most inspired feature of the game. In this mode, the primary objective is to win medals by completing a wide variety of challenges that may have you competing with other golfers in "closest-to-the-pin" competitions, attempting to slam dunk devilishly hard-to-read chip shots, or even attempting to land shots on the green when faced by huge obstacles. While these challenges range from moderate to severe difficulty, they are all quite a bit of fun, and can really teach you to be a better player.
The last unique mode that Tiger Woods has to offer is probably the strangest one, at least for a title that focuses on playing golf. Dubbed "Dream 18," this mode allows you to design your own "dream" golf course by assembling it from holes belonging to other courses. The object of this mode is to eventually piece together a course that that has a high enough reputation to be added to the PGA Tour. In order to do that, you are given a set of basic tools to customize the layout and difficulty of the course. Before fans of Maxis' excellent SimCity series get too excited, however, I should note that the amount of customization that you are allowed to do is extremely limited—the lack of an ability to create my own course from scratch left me wanting more (though your mileage may vary). Fortunately, the rest of the game dwarfs this lackluster option.