When you look for a golf game to pick up and play, you are obviously going to go after any of the Tiger Wood’s titles (mainly because they are one of the few out there).
Thankfully, when you have the majority of the market, you actually put out a well-defined game. Although Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 has a few minor bugs, it more than compensates with enhanced game dynamics, making it one of the most well designed golf-sims out there.
Even with it’s leg up with advanced graphics on the PlayStation 3, you’re not going to get as much immersion as you would on say the Wii, thanks to their Wii-mote waggling (PlayStation Move may change this). Still, the people over at EA Sports have done a great job in incorporating two new features in this years Tour to bring a more enhanced and immersive experience to the players on the bigger systems: True-Aim and Focus.
True-Aim takes away the standard accuracy circle that players have grown accustom to, and instead brings you over-the-shoulder of your character. Now, you have to aim for your ball and where you want to strike like you would in a real golf game. Once you let it fly, the camera tracks the balls progression via the crowd’s perspective, rather than following it birds-eye-view. It makes you feel like you’re actually standing on the green, rather than playing a simulation.
Couple True-Aim with Focus, and now you really have something. Starting your round with a specific amount of focus, you can opt to use this magical power on whatever you think you need it on. So say you know you can’t quite putt that well, and are always rolling your ball to the right of the hole. Use your Focus on Putting and suddenly you can sink anything. You can also use it on things like Power Boost, Spin, Accuracy but be warned: the bar will run out fast and once it’s gone, it’s gone for that round.
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Yet as much as this enhances gameplay, The Ryders Cup is where it should have taken off. Going from the European League, you take a 12-person team of either Americans or Europeans and head through what can become an arduous tour. If you’re really a fan however, this brings a world of fun, especially if you bring in your friends, for an online game of up to 24-players. Overall, it just didn’t give enough value to go participate in for the average gamer.
That’s why for the hoarder, Experience Points have been introduced. No longer are you gaining money on the courses, but rather you gain XP for a perfect line drive down the course, or getting your ball out of the sand trap. With that XP, you can customize your characters with clothing, upgraded clubs, better driving, slicing, accuracy, and a lot more.
Still the game does have it’s issues. The commentator’s voice is annoying and says all of fifteen things, and on the occasion the camera angles will lose themselves if they get too close to say a tree or the bleachers (you end up looking through the object). Also, there is an occasional issue with choosing new clubs when playing online: you will go from say a 9-iron to a putter yet the look will remain the same. Now this could always be a lag issue, but I wasn’t the only one that’s had this issue.
Overall, the game does several things right. With True-Aim and with Focus you really feel like you’re in the game as much as you possibly can be, while adding Experience Points on top of that, you have yourself a dynamic character. However, with the trying things like Ryder’s Cup, and occasional glitches that pop up, it’s enough to bring the game back from being an amazing golf-sim.
ZoKnowsGaming gives Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2011, 7.5 out of 10.