Teacher’s Comments: Visually stunning, but some of the controls are finicky—particularly the putting.
I’m a dilettante gamer—my four PS3 games are two more than I probably need—but when Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters was released, I sprung for a copy. The opportunity to play Augusta—even virtually—was too big to resist.
I haven’t been disappointed—with the Augusta part, at least. The visuals are stunning and instantly recognizable as the course we see each April on television. As someone who can clearly remember playing the first green and black, two dimensional golf games on an Apple II, I’m constantly amazed at the improvements in computer graphics. While you can’t quite describe the game’s images as photo-realistic, they’re incredibly lifelike; I expect the next generation of console graphics will be indistinquishable from at least low-def television.
TW 12 Augusta offers several play modes. The primary focus seems to be a campaign mode in which you start as a lowly amateur and work your way up the food chain. I tried that and quickly abandoned it. Playing that way was going to take me too long to get to Augusta. My other choice was to jump right in and play as Tiger. I’ve done that a couple of times now, never getting close to playing well, but thoroughly enjoying the scenery and play. Watching the Masters after having played a TW: 12 round, I felt as though I had new insights into the course and the problems the competitors faced.
While the PS3 has a Wii-like motion system, I played the game using the standard controllers. Full swings are not a problem at all, with the swing motion controlled by the thumb joystick. After choosing a club and a target, you simply move the joystick down and up in a smooth motion. With a decent rhythm and relatively straight motion, you can get the ball to go where you want it. There are lots of other ball flight options for creating fades, draws, more spin, more distance and so on. I haven’t used them yet.
While the full swing is easy, the putting for me is a nightmare. I can get to the green in regulation and then promptly six or seven putt. The shapes on the greens are simulated by grid, which has directional blips telling you in what direction and with what approximate speed your ball will turn as you cross that line. I understand it, but I can’t execute. I can two putt from four feet. Come to think of it, so can Tiger in real life—so maybe I’m not that far off.
As a game, TW 12 is not that much of an improvement from the earlier Wii version that my kids have (they have a Wii—I have a PS3 only because I acquired it as part of a “free” promotion). But the lure of Augusta was too much for me to resist, and it probably is for many golfers and gamers.
I wonder what EA has up its sleeve for the next version? Pine Valley? Cypress Point?