Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 Review (Xbox360)

EA has come under fire over the years for releasing what is in fact the same game year in, year out, with nothing but a few minor changes supposedly justifying your purchase. This hasn't been the case of late however, especially with regard to the FIFA and Madden series that have undergone major overhauls of both the game engine itself and the graphics that encases it.

The Tiger Woods franchise underwent the same treatment back in 2007. Loads of new features, all the bugs ironed out from previous incarnations, and lastly, a damn good game. So if or when you hear someone tell you that Tiger Woods 2009 is yet again another overhaul, and well worth you paying full price yet again - as I have noticed many people have done - then, well, don't believe them.

Listen to the man. He knows what he's talking about.
Tiger Woods. Serious winner.

TW09 tries its very best to disguise the fact that it's not '07 all over again and many might actually miss it. It has dressed itself up with the inclusion of stuff like you being constantly logged in to the EA servers, which charts your progress step by step and issues certain challenges as you progress throughout one of the many courses in the game. Think Burnout Paradise, basically as it's that, just for golf. You can see how well your friends did for that particular hole, see how the best in the world did etc.

There's also the new Tiger Challenge card system that issues you with several tasks like sinking a long put, or finishing a hole in no more than three strokes. You then get points of each mini-mission you complete. Rack up enough points and only then can you take on one of Tiger's minions.

Tiger's coach Hank Haney also makes an appearance in this iteration helping you with your shots, issuing tips along the course and helping you tune your clubs in the new Tiger Club Tuner. This basically does what it says on the tin, you can adjust the loft, spin, bias etc., of your clubs to help adjust them to your natural game. It's very easy to do and you do notice a difference on the course.

Simultaneous online play in action.
The courses are well detailed.

EA has also added simultaneous online play. This is another cool idea that allows up to four players to play together simultaneously instead of having to take turns. The way it works is that each person is given a colour and when they play their shots you can see yellow, green or red trails across the screen indicating the shot your opponent(s) has just taken. This greatly speeds up online play and reduces the frustration of being better than everyone else and having to wait until they all catch up until you can play your next shot.

I know what you're all thinking: "He just said there's nothing new this time round but has gone on to list several new, cool sounding features. Is he mad?" Well, you'd be right for thinking that as I'm afraid I've mislead you on purpose. In fact I've done exactly what EA has done. I've made a whole list of brand new game-play elements which make Tiger Woods 09 sound well worth the purchase.

However, I'm going to let you into a little a secret: underneath all those bells and whistles, it's exactly the same game. Seriously, when you're playing in career mode, as I gather most of you will, or dabbling in Tiger Challenge mode, none of those things listed above play any kind of role in your overall gaming experience. They're all just nice additional extras. The game is no different at all.

You can see the "last-gen" graphics from here.
Making sure you drive clean and straight is paramount.

The revelation doesn't have to be a bad thing, however, as make no mistake, Tiger Woods 09 is great fun to play, but if you owned 2007 and 2008, don't expect a completely different playing experience like with FIFA or Madden. There are loads of very useful new features but when you get down to brass tacks, and that's playing golf, it's the same as it ever was.

So TW09 unfortunately is one of those games that could justify the "yearly rehash with a couple of added features" namesake. But one thing is worth bearing in mind, it's still the best golf game I have played on a console and I really enjoyed trying to master it. Just don't expect much if you bought last year's version, or the year before's

Top Gaming Moment: Hole in one, of course.


By Florentin (SI Veteran Member) on Sep 16, 2008
Not bad.
The graphics could look a little bit more realistic though.
The 'far' shots look great, but the close-ups not too realistic.

Just my opinion.
Anyone play the game yet?
By ScythSoulces (SI Core) on Sep 16, 2008
Nope and never will. :)
By Florentin (SI Veteran Member) on Sep 16, 2008
Actually, I just looked at some other shots that are closer.
Not too bad.
His face looks pretty close.
I guess I was looking at some shots that did not look very realistic.

Still, I don't know if I would invest in this game.
Maybe I could rent it first.
By loyalknight10 (SI Member) on Sep 16, 2008
I like golf very much wanna try this game if they have high level of graphics and if there are no loopholes in the game.
By Nicolas19 (SI Core Veteran) on Sep 17, 2008
I love golf games, but this edition is just like the old, except the graphics.
By jhellie_baby (SI Newbie) on Sep 17, 2008
I like the career mode which gives out punishments for bad shots but they reward you for good shots! Consistency is the always the key. :)
By sfabobby03 (SI Veteran Newbie) on Sep 19, 2008
I love love love this game. I bought it the day it came out on Xbox 360. Very impressed with the graphics and game play.