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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06
Score: 93%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Canada
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4 (1 - 4 Online [Broadband Required])
Genre: Sports (Golf)/ Simulation/ Sports

Graphics & Sound:
Graphically, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 is on par with its predecessors. Player models (all 15 real life professionals) look great, and the Create-A-Golfer is absolutely outstanding. Youíll be able to recreate an unlimited number of players to have in your repertoire. The environments also look great, and help make you feel like youíre actually on the course.

On the audio side, all of the usuals appear with EA Sportsí Tiger 2006. The announcers keep the downtime from feeling like such, and the addition of golfer voices is great. Unfortunately, the Create-A-Golfer voices just donít offer the amount of realism expected from a quality game like this.


Gameplay:
While the core gameplay for the Tiger Woods franchise has remained relatively intact since the implementation of the analog swing, there are a few improvements worth noting. The main addition to the swing is the use of dual analog sticks. While one stick will control the backswing and follow-through, the other will allow you to find the correct striking spot on the ball. If you need to keep the ball out of the wind, simply aim for the top half of the ball. On the other hand, if youíre behind an obstacle or need a lot of backspin, aiming for the bottom of the ball will give you the best results. Of course, aiming your strike to one side or the other will result in either a hook or a slice.

On the green, the putting has drastically changed. Only you will be the judge of whether this is a good or bad thing, though. While the new grid system makes sense and is pretty well implemented, it can be extremely difficult to sink swooping 5-7 foot puts. On many occasion, I was able to drop ridiculously long puts on one hole, only to 3- or 4-put from 7 feet on the next green. You can see a preview line that will show you the exact path to the hole, but it is not a real-time line on the screen, so you have to use this as a guide to somewhat guess where to aim.

In addition to the main gameplay enhancements listed above, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 also has a new Gamebreaker Meter, similar to that of EAís over-the-top Street series of games. As you perform positive shots, your meter will continue to fill. Once filled, youíll be able to perform the Gamebreaker to gain an advantage over your opponents and have a better chance of making an amazing shot. As you make incredible shots, you meter will fill rapidly. But be careful, as hitting the ball out of bounds, or even simply in the rough, will result in your meter dropping.

As a side note, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06ís Create-A-Golfer is incredible. Not only can the visuals of your golfer be tweaked out to some amazing degrees of precision, but youíll also be able to tweak out many other attributes, including the type of voice and each individual section of your swing animation. Now you can truly recreate yourself, including your ugly form during your backswing. Youíll also be able to create your own course and even set up side bets to earn money by performing difficult shots.


Difficulty:
The overall difficulty of this yearís Tiger Woods isnít all that different from last year's when it comes to drives and fairway shots. But when you reach the green and pull out your putter, be ready for somewhat of a learning curve. While itís actually not that difficult (due to the put preview), it can be frustrating when you a have a relatively short put that, if it doesnít drop, will run quite far past the hole. Youíll really have to pay attention to the slope of the green to prevent your score from going from great to poor over the course of one hole.

Game Mechanics:
The controls of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 are perfect in implementation of the swing, whether youíre chipping, putting, or crushing a 350 yard drive. And if you donít particularly like the way the buttons are set up, you can switch them around with fully customizable controls. You will have to be careful, however, as if you swap out the left and right analog sticks (as I do), youíll have difficulty in performing all of the functions intended to play the game.

Overall, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 once again improves on its already superb gameplay. There is no other golf game available for the console with the kind of gameplay offered in TW 2006. If youíve bought a previous version of the game, you may not need to pick up 06, but if you havenít played in a while, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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