Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Sports
Release Date: March 13, 2007
Since the induction of the Wii, many people have stated how natural it would be for a golf game to be adapted to the controls because the Wiimote seems like a perfect fit as a golf club. The two previous golf games on the Wii, Wii Sports golf and Super Swing Golf, deliver an arcade style of play, while Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 brings a more serious golf simulation to the Wii's library.
The game plays very similar to the other versions of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07, with the main difference being that the Wiimote allows the player to swing it as if it were a golf club. In general, the controls are very simple and easy to pick up. After selecting your club and your shot direction, you just hold the B button and swing with the remote. The game accounts for the angling of the remote and the arc of your swing to determine the direction, and whether the shot slices or hooks. The power is supposedly determined by how far back you swing, but sometimes I've gotten 100% power by only moving back a small distance. Swinging faster can give you an additional power boost of up to 10%. After you strike the ball, you can adjust the spin on it in midair with the d-pad. If you are not familiar with a golf swing, then you might find your shots drifting to on side or the other. For this reason, the developers have added an option to always make the shot go straight.
The controls are really at the heart of the Wii version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07, and they bring a unique experience to golf simulation. One thing you will notice immediately is the controls are different from Wii Sports golf in several ways. Unlike in Wii Sports, there isn't a one-to-one correlation between your remote position and your on-screen club position; instead, the game measures the distance your remote moves after you hold down the B button.
The controls, while finicky at times, are fairly enjoyable once you get used to them. I found my first few shots to be wildly erratic, with some going 50 yards, while other shots hooked or sliced into the sand or water. Some of the problems with the motion-sensing become especially obvious when putting. You can do a practice shot and get X power, and then proceed to replicate it as close as humanly possible, and you'll possibly get a very different reading on the power gauge. Various annoyances occasionally arise, such as erratic fluctuations in the power gauge and premature swings. On several occasions, my character would swing while I was still on my backswing.
Most of the time, though, the controls work as intended, and they provide a pretty good level of precision once you get the hang of it. There is definitely a learning curve to figuring out the movements required to make those precise shots, but it can be very rewarding once you overcome it. I suspect these control inaccuracies may be software-related, since Nintendo has shown how sensitive the Wii motion controls actually are with games such as Wario Ware: Smooth Moves. For those players who feel the learning curve is too difficult, you can attach the nunchuck and use the alternate control scheme whereby you flick the control stick up and down to swing. On the other hand, hardcore players can set it to advanced play, where it is more sensitive to the angle and direction of your golf club swing.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 certainly offers plenty of content to keep you occupied. If you've played Tiger Woods PGA Tour titles before, then you know what to expect here, aside from the alternate control scheme. There is a mix of game types, including stroke play, match play, skins, and alternate shot, all of which can be played on over a dozen courses, both real and fictional. A wide selection of mini-games was incorporated as well, which is a good way to occupy your time when you're not working on tournaments.
After that, you could try the Tiger Challenge, where you are pitted against 18 pros on a selection of courses. The game lets you track your progress and ranking as you complete challenges and tournaments, and while there is a good amount of content here, it is hindered by the fact that you can't play online. The Wii does have the capability to play games online, but for some reason, no developers have taken advantage of it yet. This really is a letdown since there are game modes you play online with the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 lets you create your own character or choose from a list of 35 golfers, 20 of whom are professional. The custom character creation is very in-depth; you can create male or female custom characters, and the game lets you alter nearly everything about them, including facial features, hair, height, and frame. After you create your character, you can buy apparel and equipment for him/her with your prize money. Additionally, as you compete in tournaments and other game modes, your character will earn points with which you can increase their stats, which include power, accuracy, putting, short game, and luck. The character creation system is a nice strong point, and it really lets you personalize your experience.
After viewing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 on the Xbox 360 or the PS3, it can be difficult to go back and want to play it on the Wii. The graphics surpass the PS2 version, but when you compare it to the HD graphics of the next-gen systems, it just doesn't seem as impressive. Everything appears a bit fuzzy and lacks crispness, which really comes down to the lack of resolution, since the game runs in 480p and has the option of displaying in 16:9 ratio. The solar glare effects look rather nice, especially when you hit your ball into or from the angle of the sun. The game has stability going for it and maintains a smooth 30 fps, with only minor fluctuations during gameplay.
The audio portion can get annoying at times, though. There isn't enough variety to the announcer comments, so you'll end up hearing the same clips repeatedly, including ones that were just recycled from previous Tiger Woods titles. The environmental noise is more or less on par with what it should sound like, but nothing stands out with exceptional quality.
Overall, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 brings a fairly deep, albeit slightly flawed, control scheme to the table. When combined with the large quantity of game modes and unlockables, the game's replay value remains high. The graphics are somewhat disappointing, there are a number of bugs, and the title lacks online play, but it still provides the best golf experience on the Wii thus far. This game represents a good stepping stone in the developer's use of the Wii controls, and hopefully, future Tiger Woods offerings will have more refined motion sensing, online play, and less recycled content from previous iterations. It's worth playing if you're in the market for a golf title or if you want to use the Wii controls in a golf simulation that is more realistic than the two previous Wii golf games.