At Under The Code, “Retail Reaction” articles serve as our initial impression of a game after it has been released to retail stores. This allows our staff to give their thoughts on the game as it stands at release, with all advertised features expected to be up and running for the game. As part of our launch festivities for Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 today, we feature the impressions of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR casual player and Under The Code staff hack golfer, Casey “Buckeye” Mosier.
I am not a golfer. I started playing the sort about 10 years ago as an excuse to drink beer with my friends. Being left handed, I could never find clubs to use so I would just borrow a right handed driver, a 7-iron and a putter from one of my friends for the day. I never kept score on the course (unless you count beers drank… I’m always down for a beer-a-hole) because its not hard to put an 8 down on every hole. Eventually i got left handed clubs and got better (according to me at least). While I will never be a great golfer in real life, I could always count on the Tiger Woods PGA TOUR Series to make me a great golfer “on the internet”… until now.
As a on again, off again Tiger Woods PGA TOUR series purchaser over the last two console generations, the series has not always provided me with a reason to pick up yearly titles at launch. While the series has always been very well done, the year to year additions are a little light for a casual player to warrant the $60 purchase. After playing the demo I realized that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 had enough new features and improvements on existing features to make the title a day one purchase and an early candidate for Sports Game of the Year.
What I Like So Far…
- Simulation Mode: Simulation Mode is crazy hard. That isn’t a bad thing, however, as the difficulty doesn’t come from cheap AI or unrealistic scenarios. The first several attempts at Simulation Mode for me were maddening and an absolute blast at the same time. A couple good holes here followed by several horrible holes. I think that the majority of the hardcore guys have been asking for this for a while. The surprising element is that it is a great time for casual players such as myself.
- Connected Tournaments: Being able to compete online vs multiple users whenever you have the time to get a round in is great. Add in the ability to see the other players shot arcs and chat through your headset… SOLD! The stats also tally into your Country Club?!? Uh-huh, enough said… now I’m going to have to go play before I finish this impression.
- Legends of the Majors: When I first heard about the mode, I assumed it was similar to NCAA Football 13’s Heisman Challenge. Well, I was wrong about that one. These Legend Challenges are quick little era specific challenges (at least the challenges I have unlocked thus far were). Maybe the most impressive and unexpected touch added to these challenges is the use of era specific courses and club names (Brassie and Mashie for example).
What I Don’t Care For…
- Lack of a first person camera: I would certainly like to see more variety in camera angles, maybe even something customizable. It makes for a more genuine experience as well as better views for screen shots. A first person camera would also add a touch of authenticity from a realism standpoint. Having multiple camera options for both a realism standpoint as well as for authentic TV presentation are always strong varieties to implement.
- General Bugs: The “Mute” feature for chat not working sometimes can be annoying when you have some guy yelling and blabbering nonsense in your ear. Also the shot arcs online for other players don’t always work properly.
What I Would Like to See Going Forward…
- More Ways to Play with Friends Online: Mini-games and whatnot would be an excellent addition going forward. Maybe a type of “Can You Top This” challenge mode. Also varying degrees of challenges much like the “training” in career mode.
- Keep pushing the Authentic Presentation elements as well as optional cameras: the more variety the better. I would like to see more camera views and a customizable camera that can be changed on the fly. The stat overlays and banners bring out a true presentation but lets not stop there. Keep going with it!
- Find a way to have course memory play a factor in your game: On the harder game modes we don’t have the ability to zoom down the fairway and target our shots, that is great. But playing the same course several times should provide you with a personal knowledge of each hole. In real life golfers keep notebooks with them on the course to take notes of conditions, and results of shot attempts on each hole. Factor that into the game somehow, start with a generic overview of the hole and the more times you play the course maybe allow a “fog of war” type system that show you your shot targeting on the mini map in real time.
As I stated above, this game turned out much better than I expected and I think that most people feel the same way. This is certainly an early candidate for Under The Code 2013 Sports Game of the Year. Unlike every other year, I have a very good suspicion that Tiger Woods PGA 14 will still be finding a way into my PS3 six months down the road.