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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Redwood Shores
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1- 4 (Online)
Genre: Sports (Golf)/ Online

Graphics & Sound:
As another of the big name franchises appearing on both the PS3 and Xbox 360, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 faces more scrutiny than the rest of the PS3’s launch lineup. Proponents of both systems will no doubt compare every single pixel in order to “prove” that their system is better.

Tiger Woods 07 is identical to the 360 version. There are a few visual tweaks, mostly with textures, but you’re getting the same visuals either way. Courses are full of little details that really pump some life into an otherwise sleepy game. Crowds line up at every hole and will sometimes jockey around for a better view of the ball.

Each of the professional players looks nearly identical to their real-life counterparts. Sometimes the likenesses are almost creepy. Tiger, of course, looks the best, but the others don’t look all that bad either. Although they share some animations, each have their own little quirks, like their swing stance and follow-through.

One of the more entertaining aspects of Tiger Woods 07 is creating your own golfer in Game Face mode. Over the years this has become one of my favorite aspects of the series and the 07 version only makes things better. There is no limit to the number of things you can tweak and it is very easy to lose hours making sure your digital likeness looks perfect. Of course, if this isn’t your thing you can always choose a pre-made golfer, but where is the fun in that?

Golf is a quiet game and the sound design reflects that. While on the course, ambient sounds softly play all around. It would be peaceful were it not for the commentators. Maybe it was my poor play, but the commentary is pretty negative most of the time. I probably would have been better off with those two old Muppet hecklers.

After making your digital persona, you can take them on the course. At first, your character isn't worthy of so much as a smile from Tiger, so it is off to the training course to build your skills. Training is a series of mini-games meant to improve your stats. These include driving competitions, match play, and putting contests. As you complete games, your skills increase. I am about as far from a pro as you can get in the game, so I found this mode really helpful.

As a rookie golfer, your skills can only go so high, so you’ll have to go out and win matches in order to raise your skills even more. Generally the system works, though sometimes progression feels mechanical and can be frustrating if you are having a problem getting over that hump to the next level. If you need an edge, you can purchase equipment from the pro shop.

In Tiger Challenge, you start off playing made-up golfers and real-life pros, eventually working your way up to a match with Tiger. Fifteen professional golfers make appearances, including Vijay Singh, Mike Weir and Annika Sorenstam. The standard PGA Tour is also available if that is more your speed, though you might want to spend some time increasing your skills if you want to really compete on the Tour.

There is just as much to do online as there is off. You can compete in ranked and unranked competitions as well as tournaments. Nearly every game type found in the single-player game has an online variant.

Half of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 is learning how to play; the other is building up your character’s skills so he can hang with the rest of the pros. Even if you are a long-time veteran of the series, expect to spend a lot of time on the training course building up your skills.

While playing through Tiger Challenge, your competition slowly goes up as you ascend through the ranks. Playing against the pros is a challenge. Every once in a while, a pro might make a seemingly impossible or outright lucky shot, but this happens in every sports game.

Game Mechanics:
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 uses the now-standard analog swing. Pull down on the stick, then press up to swing. While the stick is in either position, you can adjust the ball's direction during by tilting the stick to the left or right. I was expecting the Sixaxis’ motion controls to play a bigger role in the swing mechanic, but its function is a non-issue. By twisting the controller left or right you can add spin to the ball. It works, but it feels like a last-minute feature.

The same analog swing mechanic is used while putting. The only major difference is when reading the slope of the green, which is indicated by a dotted line. Depending on how fast the line is moving, you’ll have to adjust how hard you hit the ball.

If you already own another version, the differences aren’t drastic, so a second purchase isn’t necessary (the Xbox/PS2 versions have nearly double the number of courses). Still, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 is one of the best in the series and a must-buy if you are a golf fan.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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