Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf 2005 (Nintendo DS) Review

We have been through some great DS games in our review of the launch line, some not so great and now we hit the God damn awful. We are not about to start beating about the bush on this one. Some people say that enjoyment of a golf game depends on one fundamental thing: whether or not you actually like golf. We like golf. We can sit and watch it, we can play it in real life and we love golfing videogames. So the chance to combine EA's excellent Tiger Woods franchise with the innovative features of the DS got us all excited. We need not have bothered wasting our energy...

We will get this games good point out the way first of all: it uses the DS technology to quite a competent level. Golfing games on conventional platforms have been using the three-click swing system for quite some time now, but on the DS a whole new avenue is opened up. Thanks to the touch-screen system, EA have been able to implement a swing system where you literally 'swing' the stylus over some markings on the screen in order to hit the ball. How accurately, powerfully and correctly you manage to swing will alter how well you can hit the ball. The whole thing could be so much tighter, so much more precise and so much more accessible. When you consider that the entire bottom screen is touchable, why not have an option to scroll through clubs on the swing-meter screen, to set where you want to hit the ball and the like. The system works well enough (even if it is as clumsy as a mule), but like the whole game it feels a bit...

...Dead. EA have somehow managed to suck all the life, soul and fun out of this game leaving you with an infuriating, tedious pile of green and brown textures and annoying gameplay. In all fairness it looks quite nice, but animation is smooth, the courses look solid and detailed, but no matter how competent the game may look it just lacks any sense of fun and your incentive to play along will simply wilt away. The whole game looks drab, dreary and is utterly forgettable.

Which leads us onto the next travesty in this game: the sound. This is the first golf game that has actually made us physically jump from shock. There we were playing away on a course by the ocean when suddenly this almighty 'wave/sea' noise erupted from the DS speakers and promptly stopped. Alarmed, we continued to play with caution, only for the sound to kick in at random periods and at times just never stop. It is literally like the developers have taken some very poorly made sound samples and put them onto 'random play all' throughout the game. Utterly horrible, and don't even get us started on the joke that is the menu 'music'. The best thing to do about this is to take the sound switch on the DS and glue it to mute whenever playing this title.

This game could never be labelled accessible. We had to really persevere with it to get the quality to anywhere near average. Many infuriating times were spent cursing at the DS unit as something goes wrong once again, not because we were doing anything grossly wrong, but simply because this game is a git to play. After a while it does become more accessible, but that is only after most people will simply get too annoyed with it to care and exchange it for something...well, playable.

You don't have to look very far to spot the main issue contributing to all these problems: it is very rushed. The whole game reeks of a half-arsed job. Selecting what shot you want to play is our biggest gripe. Selecting your club and type of screen is done on a secondary menu that is clumsily tagged into the bottom screen, wind direction and speed is just about invisible. In general the games navigation when trying to enjoy a nice leisurely game of golf with have you ripping your knitwear to shreds and hitting your caddy over the head with your sand-wedge...

We could put all of this to one side if we could actually play some golf, but the game wont even let us do that. The fairway game is decent enough; you can get some nice shots when you (ahem) get into the swing of things. Then you hit the green. Say you make it there and have a chance at an Eagle put from quite some distance, the camera mode and hitting mode switches to the putting system, whereby you get a triangular marker and a grid, move the marker about on the grid using the touch-screen, place it at a good aiming position and hit the ball.

No matter how cunning, how accurate and how certain you are of being close or right, the sodding ball will, 99 times out of a hundred, scuttle away from the hole and miss by a country mile. You get 'Caddy Tips', which are very helpful, but most of the time the greens are too complicated for the system to work so the ominous note 'Caddy Tips Unavailable' appears before you. So essentially you are putting blind. The system may work on the big-boy consoles, but with the DS' compromised graphical strengths, this sort of putting interface is totally useless and ruins the game.

The games main failing is that is uses a system that it assumes people will be able to get to grips with. It does work, and quite well might we add, but it will take so long for the average gamer to work out what they have to do that most of the time it will end up in GAME's Second Hand bargain bin.

Gameplay

Should really work. Yes it is clumsy and poorly thought out, but the idea is really quite clever. That's where the good gameplay ends though. Putting is impossible, making a good shot is often more luck than skill and the whole system feels totally unfinished. Joy.

Graphics

Looks nice enough, the animation is smooth and the courses look fine. But the whole graphical experience is totally dull and lifeless. And when the graphics start to hinder gameplay (poor detail makes judging gradients on greens impossible when putting) we really start to get annoyed. We can cope with a game looking mediocre, but never should it interrupt the gameplay.

Sound

Horrible. Unbelievably bad 'nature' sound clips are thrown out of the unit at random intervals, and the menu music will have you reaching for the earplugs.

Value

There is a lot to be 'enjoyed' in this game. If you can get through all the quite horrible issues the game presents then there are loads of courses to be played and game modes to plough through, and even a rather nifty 'create a player' system. Not too shabby at all.

Cubed3 Rating

A major letdown. The GameCube and GBA versions (of late) have been really quite exemplary, but this just isn't up to scratch. It feels unfinished, poorly thought out and due to some major shortcomings in the gameplay mechanics is at times unplayable. Dull, lifeless and in dire need of a few more months in development, and some better sound effects to boot. One fore you to avoid...

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01.04.2005

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Developer

EA Sports

Publisher

EA Sports

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (4 Votes)

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Damn, I was looking forward to this game when I get my DS.

Matthew Evans < Writer :: Moderator :: King of Impartiality :: Lord of the 15min Thread > As the wind blows the sand to cover the camel's tracks so does time move to cover the Lord's.
Rejoice for the Lord will taketh his quarter and give much back to his followers.

I must admit I agree with the general thrust of that review. I think this is one of those games that if they spent a LITTLE more time on it, it would've been great. To be fair I thought the action was rather fun, but the flatness of it all and it's pretty clear to me that it's basically a quick money maker for EA. It's a shame really, it almost looks as if they're making a mockery of DS, they probably thought DS was going to be such a flop that a DOS polygon golf game + touchpad was enough to make it great?

Dear god those screens look horrible. :lol:

Pity too, with a touchscreen, this really could've worked brilliantly.

That's a shame; I love the Tiger Woods games usually; by far (for me) the best of EA's sport franchises.

Indeed. When I got the title I was looking forward to playing it, after 2 mins playing, it became obvious it wasn't up to scratch (that's being kind). Even after playing it for a painfully long time it failed to get anywhere near respectable.

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

I love golf games!:D

too bad this as bad though :(


You found the word nipple! And you love touching them!

A shame about this game sucking...the DS really needs more EA games though. The PSP gets about 5 and numerous othersd on the way and the DS gets 3. Not cool.

Golf Games are Rarely good. Mario Golf just barely became and exeption.

I laughed out land at the pros of the review.

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