It's nice to have a challenge, but there a number of times when the game is more frustrating than it is challenging. Many areas of a course that normally wouldn't be out of bounds in real life are designated as such in the game. As a result, shots that are near the water, but still on dry land, are often deemed unplayable. On the other hand, there are other instances where you'd want the ball to be considered unplayable, but it's not, and you're left to hack away at the ball in the brush. As if it weren't difficult enough to hit the ball out of foliage, an invisible force field surrounds trees and plants, making them even more difficult to contend with. It's also curious that the angle of a ball's lie doesn't have much, if any, effect on its trajectory.
The light bloom and depth of field effects are just a tad overdone.
There are a number of different control schemes. Veterans of the series on consoles will be right at home with the analog stick shot control, which works by pulling down on the stick to start your swing and then pushing forward to strike the ball. Because the swing is so fast on the PC, the analog swing isn't nearly as satisfying as it is on consoles, but it technically works fine. The mouse is used for two different control schemes. "Trueswing" control has you pull the mouse toward you to initiate your backswing, and then move it forward to swing through the ball. An alternate method where you move the mouse right to left is also available. The trueswing controls manage to be easy to learn, responsive, and fun. You can also use the mouse for the more traditional two-click or three-click timing-based swing, but after using either of the other methods this feels boring and unsatisfying. On the greens, Tiger 07 strikes a nice balance with a putting system that's easy to learn, but tough to master. Instead of caddy tips or the ideal putt cam from the console versions, the only tool you have available to help you sink a putt is a colored grid overlay. If you're playing a round with announcers, they'll give you helpful advice on which way the putt will break. This method works quite well, though it would be nice to have beads that move along the grid (like in the console versions) to help you read the undulations of the greens better. Having a little more control over the power of your putt when using the analog or trueswing controls would have been particularly helpful when the greens are dry, since it's so easy to blow a putt right past the pin and off the green.
Tiger 07 looks virtually identical to Tiger 06, which is to say that it looks quite nice, but also that the visuals are showing their age in spots. Both the created characters and the professional golfers look good, if not a bit cartoonish. The golfers each have a unique swing, which makes them not only look different but also play different. The team tour mode is a great way to experience this because you're often playing with as many as four different golfers in one round. Courses also look very nice. Vibrant colors, crisp textures, and little touches, such as flocks of birds flying over the green and flowing waterfalls, make each course beautiful. From a technical standpoint, the frame rate is mostly steady, but it does hiccup from time to time--especially with all the graphic accoutrements enabled. Even if they aren't affecting the frame rate, you'll probably want to turn a few of the effects off--particularly the light bloom and depth of field. Neither effect looks good, and they're both used too liberally. The camera is rarely a problem, but it can be difficult to get a good view when you're among trees. Owners of widescreen monitors will be disappointed to learn that there's no widescreen display option.
Team tour replaces last year's rivals mode.
Most of the audio in Tiger Woods 07 sounds good--or as good as can be expected from a golf game. The crowds are lively and react with enthusiasm to a great shot. David Feherty and Gary McCord are back and seemingly have nothing new to say. The commentary plays it too straight in a game that's otherwise full of personality. At least they are helpful here, giving you much-needed information on the path your putts will take. For the most part, their observations are accurate, though they'll occasionally praise you for hitting the ball in the rough and chastise you for what ends up being a perfectly good shot. Should you choose to forgo the announcers, there are lots of ambient noises to listen to instead. You'll hear birds chirping, planes flying overhead, and on Pebble Beach, the sea crashing into the cliffs. The included soundtrack is nothing to write home about.
Tiger Woods 07 is a good game, but it's so similar to last year's version that the question "Does this game really need to be a yearly release?" should be asked. You get a few new golfers and courses, but the whole package is roughly the equivalent of an expansion disc. If you own Tiger Woods 06, there's little reason to pick up Tiger Woods 07, unless you're just dying for new content, minimal as it may be. That said, if you've never played a Tiger Woods game before, or you've been away from the series for a few years, Tiger Woods 07 is well worth a purchase.