PS3 Review – Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11

There is a reason why EA didn’t drop Tiger Woods from their PGA Tour Golf sim franchise, despite his recent scandal, and that is because Tiger Woods, to many, is synonymous with Golf. He’s easily the most recognizable face in Golf history and signifies greatness in the sport. So if EA wants the best Golf sim on the market, then they need Tiger, and if you want to play the best Golf sim on the market, you need EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11.

Upon firing up Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 for the first time, you’ll be logged into EA’s servers and be prompted to enter an EA Sports Online Pass access code, a one-time use registration code found within the game case if you purchased a brand new, sealed copy from the store. The code allows access to the game’s online features. This is EA’s attempt to profit from used game sales, since you’ll have to purchase a new access code if you obtain the game second-hand and the original code was already redeemed. There is also a 7-day trial for anyone wanting to test out the online features, without using the access code.

Once the EA Sports Online Pass is out of the way, it’s time to create a character. Once you’re done creating a virtual you, a quick training course follows which teaches you about some of the game’s new features. The tutorial covers mostly basic stuff, showing you how to boost accuracy, add power to your swing, when to switch clubs, etc. Despite being an extremely realistic Golf sim, there’s definitely some attributes that are there to remind you that you are actually playing a video game. Things like adding spin mid-air will help you almost cheat your way to a birdie.

If you’re looking for the most realistic experience, turn on the game’s True-Aim feature. Instead of using the aiming circle found in previous iterations of Tiger Woods PGA Tour (and still found in this year’s if you turn off True-Aim in the game’s menu), press Circle to use your aerial GPS view to locate distance markers throughout the green, which help you to determine which club to use and how much power to put behind your swing. Be sure to pay attention to the distance markers on the green, just like in real-life, to ensure the shot doesn’t fall short, or pass the target. It’s not easy to make a swing at 100% power, so take the distance plus power percentage math equation into consideration when selecting a club.

Once contact is made, rather than the camera unrealistically following the ball to its destination, the camera will be fixed with the player, watching to see where your ball lands. Many times its difficult to gauge if your ball has landed where you wanted it to, or if you’ve landed in a sand-pit. Be sure to pay attention to the crowd’s reaction, as it’s a great indication as to if your shot had a happy landing. All of this really adds to the immersion factor, as you really feel as though it’s you watching nervously from the green.

Since this is a Golf sim, there is a ton of strategy involved thanks in part to the game’s Focus Meter. Using Focus boosts your accuracy, adds in-air spin, even previews putts to ensure you are making the best shot. Be careful not to overuse Focus though, as the meter does drain. You’ll want to bank your focus for the times you really need it, which is during the putt preview. That is if you want to get better than a par.

Now that you’ve got the hang of your swing, you can take on the pros in the game’s many modes. If you want to hop right in, just pick Play Now. Looking for more of a challenge? Try out the all-new Ryder Cup mode which has you playing as either the US or Europe, 12-person team in a series of matches in hopes to take home the prestigious Ryder Cup. There’s also a Career mode, Skills Challenges and Online Team play. Playing any of these modes earns you XP, which you can use to bolster some of your character’s attributes.

Tiger Woods PGA Golf 11 is about the realistic touches that help bring the game to life. On top of an all-new animation system, there’s also improved textures; everything looks better overall. Watch your player’s clothes and hair sway in the wind to determine which way the wind is blowing and adjust your shot accordingly. The game is beautiful, it looks as though you are watching the PGA Tour, rather than playing it. Courses are nearly exact replica’s of the likes of TPC Scottsdale, Whistling Straits, Liberty National G.C. and more. Everything, from the players to the greens look nearly identical to their real-life counterparts. Gameplay is greatly improved thanks to the Focus meter and True-Aim.

If Golf is your sport, then Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 is your game. EA Sports has, yet again, created the most true-to-life golf experience you can get without actually swinging a club. Though, when the PlayStation Move releases later this Fall, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 will support the motion-controller, which will have you actually swinging your way to a hole-in-one.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

True-Aim is the way to play

Stunning visuals

As real as golf gets without actually swinging a club

8 out of 10