Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14

Platform: PS3

Developer: Electronic Arts

Rating out of 10

Gameplay: 7.5

Graphics: 7.0

Soundtrack: 6.0

Immersion: 7.5

Score: 7.0

As is customary with EA Sports, there is a yearly golf game in the form of the Tiger Woods franchise. This year, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 breaks into the scene with some interesting new additions but a lack of evolution.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 now has a core focus on the Legends of the Masters. Last year, the game focused on the life of Tiger Woods as he went from toddler to his future old man playing golf. It’s almost really the same kind of set up, but focuses more on eight legendary players who date back to the 1930’s.

As you complete challenges, you get to unlock famous golfers along the way which serve almost like ‘boss battles’. You'll see the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player come to the party.

What is quite a nice feature is how the game changes according to the era you play in. For example, if you head back to the 1930’s to play a game, the camera becomes all grainy and old-school and the golfers rock some really long socks, plus fours and other equally out-dated clothing.

Personally, I’ve always felt the best Tiger Woods PGA Tour game came out in 2004. That was the one where you could create a golfer and play either the career mode or just single events against friends or the computer. This brought sponsorships to the table for how well you played which gave gamers something to work towards. Perhaps one of the downfalls in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is that sponsorships are gone, which is quite a strange feature for EA Sports to remove, seeing as it was almost a ‘collectible’ game inside the game itself. Along with that is the caddie system as well which has also been removed in-game but oddly enough, exists in practice rounds.

Players will be able to jump into the main four golf tournaments now without having to play through the smaller tournaments first with the Quick Tournaments mode. It’s a great new addition as it serves a purpose for those gamers who want to challenge the big dogs with the comfort of knowing their golfing skill is good enough to avoid the tedium of the smaller competitions in between.

Connected Tournaments is another great new feature which makes gameplay “almost” in real-time on the Internet. As you play, you will see shot trails of other players as you make your shot, so you can instantly compare the distance and trajectory with players you compete against. Playing a really popular course with a lot of people is a lot more fun than playing against the computer, so it’s easy to see why this choice was made.

My issue is that, while EA Sports has brought a whole bunch of great new features to the Tiger Woods franchise in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14, a lot of the core mechanics have been largely untouched. The game is very similar to the previous version but has been almost bubble-wrapped with a bunch of new things that may be able to draw the attention of certain gamers. With features like Legends of the Majors, the Quick Tournaments with all four major tournaments, the LPGA support and the night golf, it feels like EA Sports isn’t doing enough to focus on the core game itself but rather wants to fatten it up with non-essentials. That’s not to say that the additional features don’t warrant your money though, because anyone who enjoys playing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 will likely find that it’s a very nice addition to the game cabinet.

Perhaps my favourite feature of all is using the new simulation control setting where the game removes all of the essential information on screen and allows players another challenge should they have mastered the stock game. Be aware though, it is brutally difficult.

The game looks very similar to the previous year and while there are a few incremental improvements, it’s hard to tell someone that they should definitely buy it. It is obviously the best looking Tiger Woods game to date and there are a number of finer details that have been tweaked. There are few things that look better than playing a round of golf in the dark night skies. The animations are well done and the shot reactions seem quite realistic. The players also mimic their real life counterparts which is something that needed a bit of a tweak from the previous titles in the franchise.

In your ears, you will (as always) be blessed with a great EA Sports soundtrack, although not as memorable because it’s golf, but perfectly fitting nonetheless. I struggled a little with the two commentators in the game because they often have big pauses and can’t really handle the shot-by-shot action. It feels a little too generic and not focused enough on the actual shots that are being played.

They could even go so far as to comment on the wind or the lie, but these don’t seem to be important things to focus on.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 will give all golfing fans a perfect quench to their thirst. Is it a huge improvement over the last one? Probably not. It seems like there are a large amount of people who enjoyed the ‘reward sponsor’ feature in TW2004, so let’s hope that when Tiger Woods PGA Tour 15 comes around, they will look into that gameplay feature once again. - Do Gaming