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PSP Review - 'Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007'

by John Curtis on Oct. 13, 2006 @ 1:04 a.m. PDT

In Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007, challenge the world's top golfers in all-new PGA Tour Mode, featuring training sessions, practice, and The FedEx Cup. Hone your skills in the all-new Shooting Gallery, then play as or against 11 players, including John Daly, on 12 championship courses.

Genre: Sports
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: EA Sports
Release Date: October 10, 2006

Each autumn brings with it a change in the color of our surroundings, kids dressed as their favorite superheroes, cooler weather, and as always, the EA Sports fall lineup. Over the past month, we have ooh'ed and ahh'ed over EA titles that have undergone major overhauls. New game modes and features have been added to Madden NFL 2007, NBA Live 2007, NHL 2007, and now without exception, EA delivers big with the arrival of the newest edition to the '07 family, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007.

Much like Tiger Wood's professional golf career or a fine wine, the game bearing his portrait and name has only gotten better with age. This is EA's third release of the PSP version of the game which has been released on countless consoles, handhelds, computers, even phones since Woods made his first appearance as frontman for the franchise in 1998 with the release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 1999 for PC and PlayStation. I was a little skeptical as to how this game would play, considering that I was not too impressed with the 2005 and 2006 versions. To my surprise, many of the problems that plagued the previous iterations of the PSP version have been fixed to make Tiger Woods 2007 the best handheld golf simulator ever.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007 features many modes of gameplay, including quick play, PGA Tour career mode, mini-games, and multiplayer. It also includes a section called EA Sports Extras, where you can learn more about the title and how to play or simply view the credits. Another feature is EA Media Center, where you the player can set up custom soundtracks or edit the built-in EA Trax to maximize your gaming experience. This sounds very exciting, but after learning that the soundtrack is only available while operating through the game menus and not during actual gameplay, the whole concept seems like a big waste. Perhaps next year's release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour will have custom soundtracks available for your listening pleasure during all modes of gameplay.

Many of the game's changes can be seen in the PGA Tour career mode. The first thing to do upon starting a new career is to create and customize your personal character using a state-of-the-art character customization tool. To give each created character the desired appearance, you can change his/her age appearance, height, weight, body shape and tone, hair color and style, facial hair and features, and tons more.

After creating your character, take a trip to the golf pro shop and choose from hundreds of unlockable pieces of clothing and accessories, from brand-name pants, shirts, and shoes, just to name a few. Then choose how your character will perform by spending skill points to improve abilities such as accuracy, power, putting, and luck to give you a little edge over the competition.

One new feature inTiger Woods 2007 is the addition of mid-week training and challenges. You can play through these or skip them, but it is recommended that you play each and every one because winning a training session or challenge will get you cash, sponsors, and skill points, which you will need if you plan on taking on the pros. After gaining your first sponsorship, use your money to purchase products that sport your sponsor's logo; doing this will result in larger cash prizes every time you win an event while using their branded gear.

Put your skills to the test as you take on professional golfers like Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, and Mike Weir to win even bigger cash prizes. While playing through career mode, completing certain challenges or tournaments unlocks additional content such as clothing, golf clubs, and accessories. Fight your way through three years on the tour and accumulate at least 30 points, and you will be invited to join the all-new FedEx Cup.

If you aren't quite ready to join the tour or find yourself still needing practice, there is quick-play mode, which offers many different ways to customize and create the perfect match. Choose to play any one of several game types, which include Stroke Play, Match Play, Skins, and Stableford. Play at any one of 12 different championship and fantasy courses; some require playing through career mode in order to unlock. Set the number of holes to play, the number of computer opponents you will play against, and game options, like enabling mulligans. Playing well in quick-play mode awards unlockable content such as special golf balls, clubs, and clothing accessories.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007 also features two mini-games titled Putting Frenzy and Shooting Gallery. In Putting Frenzy, the player must race against the clock and sink as many putts as possible before time runs out. Exclusive to the PSP is Shooting Gallery, where the goal is to earn as many points as possible by hitting targets with your golf ball within a set time limit. There are different point values positioned on the target, along with bonus tiles, which can add time to, or take away time from, your total. Aim for the correct targets to maximize your score and win big.

The graphics and sound in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007 are very impressive and are not what you would expect for a handheld system. The graphics are comparable to those on the Playstation 2 system – everything is very clean and crisp, character models are life-like, landscapes are beautiful, and textures and lighting truly make you feel like you're a real golf professional playing on the tour.

Sounds are vibrant, real, and well-balanced. Voice-overs for announcers rarely repeat and sound just like those boring guys who actually announce for professional tournaments. Other sounds, like the swoosh of pulling back your club on a backswing, the crack of your club smashing the ball, or the crowd cheering as you land an incredible put for an eagle, all add to the realism of this title.

Multiplayer mode sounds very promising, offering players both ad-hoc and infrastructure connections. Compete head-to-head against a friend locally or take your skills to a new level and challenge someone over the internet. Play in online multiplayer tournaments, mini-games, or one-on-one matches to become the world's best.

Controls are very tight, and while they can be easily picked up, which allows the casual gamer to have some fun in a couple of rounds of golf, they still offer many advanced features that a hardcore gamer can master and appreciate. Things players may be familiar with, like the swing meter, power boost, and ball spin, are still included here but have been improved upon greatly. New things, such as the swing path, have been added to help players learn to better control their swings by seeing what they had done wrong on the previous shot. The power boost and ball spin are now controlled by tapping your R button during the backswing and ball flight, which is a great improvement over previous versions. Putting controls have also undergone some major changes with the introduction of the preferred camera putt, which shows the player a trail that the ball should follow in order to sink a putt. After viewing the game's recommended path, a player can then line up his shot accordingly and start sinking those difficult long shots.

Although it's on a handheld system, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007 is a massive game and a real improvement over the previous titles for the PSP. The graphics are stunning, and while the sound can use a little bit of work, you may often feel like you are an actual golf professional on the PGA Tour. While you might not want to sit around and play this game for hours on end, most gamers should pick up Tiger Woods 2007 from time to time and enjoy a relaxing day in by hitting the greens.

Score: 9.0/10


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