With companies focusing their energy and resources on next-gen consoles rather than on the current generation of systems, there hasn't been a whole lot to look forward to with this year's crop of sports games. Rather than add radical new gameplay ideas or revamped visuals, developers seem to be content to simply toss in a few new minigames or subtle control changes, and then send their games off to the factory. Such is the case with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07. It has more courses, golfers, and play modes than last year, but ultimately, little has changed.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 is just as enjoyable as 06, which was just as enjoyable as 05, which was just as enjoyable as...
There's certainly no shortage of ways to occupy yourself with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07. You can select from a number of different match and scoring modes, including stroke play, match play, skins, practice, stableford, alternate shot, best-ball, and four-ball. New this year are bloodsome and greensome matches, both of which are team-based best-ball events. After you and your teammate hit your shots in greensome, you get to pick which ball you're going to play; in bloodsome, your opponent will choose which lie you'll use. One-ball is another new game, where you and your opponent share the same ball and alternate shots. The strategy in one-ball lies in trying to set your opponent up with difficult shots so that you're the one left with a makeable putt. If you're the one who drains the putt, you win the hole. Before each shot, a large blue ring that represents the target area appears on the course. This is the area in which your shot must land, or else it's a "betrayal," and you'll lose a turn. For example, on a par four you may be able to put the ball on the green with your second shot, but that will leave your opponent with a putt--and that's not good. You can, however, shoot the ball into a sand trap that surrounds the green, thereby forcing your opponent to be the one who has to put the ball on the green. This play mode is great for learning how to recover from bad shots, but it can be frustrating to play against the tenacious CPU and is best played against another person.
Most of the new events this year are designed around multiplayer play, though you can play most of them against the CPU in team tour. Team tour replaces last year's ridiculous time traveling rivals mode. Now, rather than going back through time to play golf, you'll travel the world, taking on fictitious golfers and PGA professionals. As the name implies, team tour revolves around team play and not just the exploits of your created golfer. As you win events in team tour, you're able to add vanquished foes to your team and replace less talented team members with better golfers. You can upgrade your teammates' abilities after wins, though you lose all upgrades if you drop the person from your squad. This is also the best place to upgrade your golfer before heading out on tour.
If your interests lie in more traditional golf, the PGA Tour season offers plenty of challenge in its 29 multiday events. If you like to jump right into a game, never coming up for air until you've either beaten or grown tired of it, the real-time event calendar will help you pace yourself. These challenges open up in real-time and range from chipping contests to skins play and are a great way to beef up your character if you have only a few minutes to play.
If you grow tired of playing solo, you can head online for a greater challenge. There are daily tournaments, ranked and unranked rounds, as well as alternate game modes, such as best ball, battle golf, three-hole minigolf, skins, one-ball, four-ball, and alternate shot. For the most part, everything ran smoothly when playing online, but it took a little while to get used to it because the swing was slower. The only problem we encountered was on the Xbox, where chips and putts that clearly didn't go in the hole were counted as if they had. There's a small amount of ESPN integration, but it's limited to a ticker that runs across the bottom of the screen, short text news stories, and brief ESPN Radio SportsCenter updates every 20 minutes. Unlike in NBA Live, where you could hear updates and view the ticker while playing offline games, these features are available only if you're in an online lobby.
Creating your own golfer is still one of the game's highlights.
The thing that makes these game modes so addictive year in and year out is the ability to create a golfer and make him the greatest golfer on the planet. Tiger's unrivaled character creation mode is back and is as deep as ever. There are subtle changes to the process this year, but by and large, it's the same as in Tiger Woods 06. If realism's what you want, it's a breeze to create a golfer in your spitting image, and you're limited only by your imagination when it comes to making zany, off-the-wall characters. Should you grow tired of your golfer's appearance, you can go back and change it at any time, or simply purchase the brown paper bag from the pro shop and stick it on his noggin. You can also customize your player's swing, making it as smooth or as ugly as you like. After completing a round or challenge, you're given points for individual attributes, based on your performance. These points can then be used to upgrade your golfer's power, accuracy, putting, short game, luck, and more. You'll also earn money for your wins, which allows you to purchase new clothes and equipment. As was the case last year, you can outfit your gear and clothing with equipment modifiers, giving your stats a slight boost. Once again, there's no course designer--still a glaring omission after all these years. You can put together your "dream course," using holes from any of the 21 courses in the game, but this doesn't make up for not having a true course editor.