Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Review By A Golfer

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Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 12: The Masters

Grade: B
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.

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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?

 

 

2 thoughts on “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters Review By A Golfer”

  1. I have a Move, but I haven’t played the game with the full motion controls either.  When they get a Chickenstick like attachment, but I can’t use both hands to grip the controller and so I just play with the standard controllers. 

    I like playing golf video games, but even with the motion controller, it is still just a game.

    I am interested in the DancingDogg Optishot for the garage.  But for the simulator, net and projector, it would probably run around $1500 to do it right – and that is still too much.

  2. I finished my first full round at Augusta last night, which must be the first full round I completed in the new game, and when I was shown the ability to skills upgrade I had 20,000+XP, which I think is part of the import from TW11 of my character.  I wish I had noticed I had that XP before because like your experience, once I hit the greens it was a whole different level of complexity.  I had quite a few pars, but I had the 3 putts from 4 feet too.

    Now I have applied my XP toward every skill, but there are 4 skills to build for putting.  I weighted it toward putting and toward power.  You can also boost skills by purchasing different appearal and equipment, either with real money (in the PSN store) or through aquired winnings in the game. 

    As for putting, I noticed that the caddy is not that helpful in reading the greens before you build up the skills.  I would put my aiming point in the center of the circle, and then hit the L1 key and the putt line would clearly show a miss.  Once I noticed that – I would use the L1 key to adjust my aim on the green too, and that did improve my putting (my only birdie was on 17). 

    I like the caddy feature to a point, but also, want to figure out how to adjust his recommendations.  If you pick one of his non-custom choices, I can’t see where to adjust aim point – the only adjustment you have is how much power to use in your swing. 

    I did think it was interesting while I was playing that for the second time ever I have now seen the white cabins off the #10 tee – from in the game they were clearly visible, but until Rory went up there, I can’t recall ever seeing them in coverage before.  Perhaps because #10 is rarely covered, because of course in a normal year, the camera would only show #10 tee four times, when Tiger was teeing off, otherwise, you mostly see Amen through 16.

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