Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (Wii) - Review by Chris
Even though he hasn't been playing much or playing all that well recently, Tiger Woods is still arguably the biggest name in professional golfing today. As such, his golfing titles, released on just about every platform there is available at market, continue to see yearly updates thanks to EA, who not only bring new content in the form of new courses or characters but also new and interesting features to liven things up. PGA Tour 10 represents the fourth instalment of the franchise on the Wii and with the recent release of Nintendo's Wii MotionPlus, EA Sports have been quick to say that this will be THE best golfing game ever released. So does this one land squarely on the fairway or is it destined for the bunker?
The Wii has always had the philosophy of gameplay over graphics and EA have definitely taken this to heart. While many of the modes from previous entries return, there is a whole plethora of new modes and improved ones to sink your teeth into. In fact, there is so much to do it's a wonder that all of the content managed to fit onto the disc. On modes alone, PGA Tour 10 is by far the best of the Tiger Woods games on the Wii. The game has a very robust single player tour mode, where you'll go through the golfing season, with your personal caricature which you create before playing, taking part in a large selection of tournaments, with all of the major ones included along with some of the smaller ones. It is in the Tour mode that you will undoubtedly spend most of your time, if you are playing as a lone golfer, and with the tournaments being on a yearly cycle, you'll always have something to play and always have something to play for with rankings.
Outside of the tour mode, there is of course the obligatory Play Now mode for those who may not have a lot of time to play a full round of golf and want to play something quick. There are also further options for single player and multiplayer which include all the usual game types, like competitive matchplay with up to 4 players as well as team matchplay. There are also numerous variations on the matchplay setup, each of which has its own appeal but they change up the way in which you'll play a round of 18 holes on your own against the computer or with your friends and so add some variation for those looking for something slightly different to the standard play. There are also several mini-games, which include putting or driving a set number of balls at targets, again it helps to prop up the already robust selection of modes while adding a dash of difference. The biggest inclusion to PGA Tour 10 is that of Disc Golf. The sport has become increasingly popular over the last few years and as such it has made its debut here, specific to be used with the MotionPlus add-on, although it can be played without. Disc Golf, as the name suggests, replaces the golf balls and clubs with Frisbees of various sizes and capable of going various distances, just as certain clubs can hit balls further than others. It's definitely a change of scenery but it's one of those modes that really does require MotionPlus and really does require to be played in multiplayer for full enjoyment.
Each version of Tiger Woods on the Wii has brought with it a refinement of the controls and use of the Wii-mote yet it has never been as fluid in detection as players have wanted. But now, PGA Tour 10 supports the use of the new MotionPlus add-on and it makes a whole world of difference. While the game can be used without the device, I wholeheartedly recommend that you invest in a MotionPlus because it just provides a much smoother and better experience. With the Wii-mote on its own, the game works amicably but does feel rather lacklustre and goes to show the Wii-mote's limitations. With MotionPlus attached, the controls become more realistic with the pitch and angle of your shot being detected perfectly and your swing motion being virtually 1:1, although there is a slight delay but this may be more to do with the game rather than the controller. In standard golf, it plays like a dream but in disc golf the MotionPlus' potential is really shown with every movement you make being replicated in game owing for the most realistic golfing experience not only on the Wii but on any console ever.
Unfortunately, the graphics or the game's engine doesn't seem to have been upgraded much for this title. The graphics still look as though they were taken from one of the earlier Tiger Woods games from the last generation of consoles. It's a shame that the graphical presentation is a bit of a letdown when you consider the amount of effort which has gone into the game's modes and controls. The character models are the best of the lot though and do look as realistic as they can get given the engine powering the game, with smooth animations for the most part. The courses are all designed and presented as they should be, yet they suffer the most from the lack of polish, with things looking considerably low resolution and low in the poly count. The game does make one interesting graphical choice though and that is done through use of the Wii's Weather Channel, where it connects to it to determine the weather for your area and replicates it in the game. It's a great use of the other features on the Wii and is definitely something we should see more of.
The usual cheering and jeering of the crowd returns along with some commentary provided before each shot on either how your previous shots have gone or what the current hole entails. It's exactly as you'd expect it to be and never particularly stands out. You'll probably want to turn the commentary off because it can get slightly annoying as speech lines are repeated frequently.
EA has really been pushing the online aspects of their titles on the Wii as of late and this version of Tiger Woods gets the same treatment. Using EA's own online service, where no friend codes are needed, it's a seamless and easy to use setup with the ability to play against players from around the world or those in your EA Nation friend list. The online mode also offers the chance to take part in worldwide live tournaments which is a great idea and definitely one of the finer points of the online mode. EA have also allowed the title to support Nintendo's Pay & Play service where you'll be able to download what look like new clothes for your character in the Tour mode amongst other things. The online mode continues to get better each year and this is definitely its most polished.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 is by far the best golfing title available on the Wii. If you are using the MotionPlus attachment, then it becomes the best on any console. There is a huge amount of content crammed onto the disc, so much so that it's almost unbelievable that it is all on here with there being more courses available to play on than in the 360 and PS3 versions. The controls are incredibly smooth and the online mode is probably as good as it is going to get. The visual presentation is holding the game back so now that EA have the controls and modes nailed down, it'd be nice to see an improvement on this front for next year. This is definitely a game everyone should either try or buy but I really do recommend playing with the MotionPlus to get the best out of the controls.
Pro: Huge amount of content to play through, superb online infrastructure, controls are smooth and intuitive with the MotionPlus
Con: Graphics haven't improved much over previous releases, commentary can be annoying
Final score: 8.9