Tiger Woods 2008 Review
By Kickntrue on 8/28/07

Finally. That was my first thought after playing 18 holes of the newest EA Sports version of the Tiger Woods video game franchise. It seems the developers have finally grasp the idea of simulation golf and blended it perfectly with the arcade aspects that have made the game so playable in the past. Want proof- My first 18 holes score- 88.

The biggest issue I've always had with any of the Tiger Woods' games are that after you've played one for any amount of time you can pick up any version and instantly be a star. I remember battling friends in college and a final round score would be 34 under par. You could make the ball do anything you want in the air and on the ground to guide it to the hole. Putting was as simple as lining up and knocking it down- distance be damned.

I've never had such joy in carding a 7. My first tee shot of TW08 was a slice into the gallery at Cog Hill Golf Club. But why? I hit it the same as I would in my old TW games. EA Sports has finally fine-tuned the swinging mechanism on the thumbsticks and even the slightest push or pull of the left stick will cause a slice or a hook. There are 3 degrees of a slice or hook that can grab your shot and move it off target depending how off-center you move the stick. To give you an idea of the sensitivity- I scored a 10 on one hole because I put 3 straight drives out of bounds. To some frustrating, to me.. awesome!

Like previous versions of the game- you can still power up a shot during the swing and also control the spin of the ball while it's in the air. I prefer to turn these features off and try to play realistically, but I can see why they are a fun aspect of the game. While playing alone- it's fun to compete against "the game" but when playing with friends where a perfect shot is needed, it makes sense to be allowed to hit the ball 20 feet right of the pin and spin it back to 2 inches. Unrealistic? Of course. Fun? Absolutely.

A new feature added to the simulation gameplay of TW2008 is Confidence. This is a feature that runs course to course and round to round and is based on your accumulated gaming. The Confidence meter is active for every shot and tells you how comfortable your virtual golfer feels over each shot. As you play more and more round and play similar shots your confidence can grow. Of course- if you typically play terrible out of the bunkers your confidence will wane and every sandy lie with be a nightmare. The feature is subtle, but great. I think it's the last great piece in the golf simulation aspect of the game.

The gameplay isn't all perfect. In just 90 minutes of play I still noticed some small annoyances that have carried over from previous versions of the game. For one, in 18 holes I chipped in 2 birdies from off the green and also sunk a 40 yard pitch from the rough. Plausible... maybe. Probable... not so much. Putting also seemed too easy (as always). I did have a chance to play a couple holes with the levels turned up though- and the greens turned into what I know and love in "real golf"- treacherous.

Features and Game Modes
Aside from the previously mentioned Confidence feature, I want to briefly highlight a couple new features for this year's game. They are things that have been covered much more in depth at other gaming sites so I won't spend a lot of time on them. If you like more info check out IGN.com's TW2008 Page.

EA Sports Gamernet- This feature essentially lets you highlight and your greatest shots and upload them to EA Sports online community and let other people try to best your ability. This isn't alway just amazing scoring. You can hit a ball off a person's head, onto the cart path with one skip across water and onto the green. I didn't get a chance to check this out yet, but it seems like it could be fun, though a bit gimmicky.

Photo Game Face- This feature allows you to upload a photo of yourself into your game. The game's AI maps the key points of your face and transfers those into a golfer on the game that you create. For the first time- when you create yourself it will BE you. I didn't get a chance to check this feature out yet, but that's why God invented afternoons. :)

FedEx Cup and Season- The FedEx Cup may be a dud in real life (jury's still out), but it's a pretty cool new feature to TW2008. The season mode has always been an afterthought in the game but it now has a little extra staying power. You play a series of tournies and try to find yourself amongst the leaders and earn your way into the FedEx Cup. Pretty cool. I think this feature is best used if you create a golfer and try to build his stats and attributes through your play. Tiger Woods is fun to play with- but is it really fun to start with THAT much of a head start?

More Golfers- This is actually my favorite part of the game. Everything I'd been seeing before the game came out had to do with the new golfers in the game which included Camilo Villegas, Justin Rose, and JB Holmes. Then- I saw some REALLY fun news. There were going to be some LPGA players in the game including Natalie Gulbis, Christie Kerr and Morgan Pressel. Just one problem... where the heck was my FAVORITE golfer? Well- great news folks- PAULA CREAMER IS IN THE GAME! Naturally she was the first golfer I played with and while the score wasn't everything Paula and I hoped for- we will have plenty of hours to work on that together. (Paula- call me)

Game Modes- As fun as simulation golf can be it's no substitute for the real thing, so naturally a video game can get boring. What's made the Tiger Woods' game series so successful is their game modes that make playing with friends hours of fun. They have almost any golf game you can think of including match play, stroke play, skins game, bingo bango bongo, stableford, best ball and even greensome and bloodsome.

There are also a serious of made up arcade games that are a lot of fun including battle golf which is a match play game where the winner of each hole gets to take one club out of the opposing players bag or add a club back into his or her own. It doesn't hurt too much to get down a hole, but once your parter has taken your Driver and 3 wood it becomes a tough situation (and a lot of fun).

This game is a lot of fun. That has always been the staple of the EA Sports Tiger Woods video game franchise. It is a great party game and a great game to play with friends. I have the XBox 360 version, but put the game on Wii and it becomes even more fun swinging into air like an idiot. This version of the game is no different- and is easily the best game to date in the series. What really makes this version stand apart is that single play is now a challenge if you want it to be. You can control the options that make the gameplay tough. While the game will certainly become easier as you play more- I doubt you'll see too many 30 under par scores and that to me makes all the difference. The game isn't perfect, but I highly recommend it to anyone with $60 to spend and looking for hours of fun.

My completely arbitrary ratings:
Overall - 9.3
Gameplay- Simulation - 9.0
Gameplay- Arcade - 9.5
Extras/Features - 9.0
Graphics - 9.5

[ comments ]
Kickntrue says:
As a follow up to the review. I felt it fair to mention a huge issue I've been having. The review I did this morning was without trying out all of the online features. I've been spending a lot of time trying to upload a game face so I can play with a character who looks like me. I've been having HUGE issues doing this through a series of EA Sports websites. They seem to be in beta and not ready for traffic. Absolutely terrible experience so far with that functionality.
volleyhart says:
I'm not a video game guy, but I'd be tempted to go out and get this one. Guess I'd have to get a console too ... nevermind.
windy says:
Play it some more...you will encounter numerous lockups/crashes and graphic/gameplay inconsistencies....it is getting blasted on EA Sports forums and Gamespot.com gave it only a fair rating of 6.5/10.

EA apparently released this one before it was ready...

A much anticipated release has been a disaster....recommend playing the 07 version for now.

Kickntrue says:
Windy- I've cointinued to play the game more and more and am still digging it.

I've only experienced one game glitch- where they had me play out of water... a little odd.

Other than that- the Gameface has been unusable, which sucks, but the game has been good. If I were to do it over- I may bump down the rating a bit, but it's a good game.
throughglass13 says:
has anyone hit a hole in one yet, i hit one today, and it simply said out of bounds and gave me a two on the score card...whats up with that?
Kickntrue says:
I've seen one. Figures it was my friend playing AGAINST me.
OdiesDi says:
This new version is awsome! But it isn't very compatible with Window's Vista. It keeps shuttin down on me. Anyone else having that problem???
chipotle mg says:
i play links 2003 on my pc. i bought it for about 15 bucks on amazon.com
mizunomatt says:
I have TW 08 for ps2. It works great, although I did not like the putt preview, to me it's unrealistic. I perfer the 07's recomended putt line.
poke123 says:
putting more than 4 meters on the pc is a total guess. this game sucks.
Arfer says:
We play as a group on a network and enjoy TW PGA golf, we've been playing EA's golf almost since the start and enjoyed everyone as the games as they got better so has the fun. We made the mistake of skipping 07 that was the first mistake we made, and we all went out and got 08 that was the second expecting to be fair EA's top quality game's as they have produced over the years. Well what a disapointment EA, crash's, lockups, No commontary, never and thats round 75% of the group. There's around 20 of us we have golf tournaments and knock out cups and make a real game of it but EA's 2008 has seriously stuffed that, what really hurts is that they havent even released a patch or update for the game and the nets full of people with the same problem. We are all disillusioned by one of the top gaming compnayies we have all come to trust and look forwrad to playing there quality games. PLEASE E.A. help us enjoy your work. Or maybe you can aford to loose more customers.
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