Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 - Xbox 360
Another year, another Tiger Woods golf installment, but can the master of the fairway impress on the console? We get swinging to find out.
Probably promising you the most complete golfing experience available on the Xbox 360 yet, Tiger Woods doesn't hold back when it comes to options, building on previous outings, while adding new gaming modes and features to boot.
Those keen to create their own character can, with the help of the Xbox Live camera like Rainbow Six Vegas gamers, snap a shot of their face and have this mapped on the on-screen golfer (PS3 can use the EyeToy). It's something that gives you that extra bit of realism and works well when used in connection with EA's new GamerNet offering (more of which will come later).
Once you've set your character up and got past the initial welcome screen there is such a plethora of game modes that anyone only vaguely interested in golf might be a little overwhelmed.
Luckily for players who are a little bamboozled there is a Quick Play button and this gets you playing as Tiger straight into 18 holes of action - an enjoyable experience as he is actually quite good it turns out.
In-game and taking away from the sometimes tricky analogue control system EA has re-introduced a simpler swing system that allows you to click your way onto the green.
Although gamers familiar with the swing action of the analogue control stick can still opt for this at the press of a button, those wanting a more traditional approach as found on the early PGA Tour golf games on the PC can opt for the 3-click system; Click once to start the meter, click again to set the power, again on the way back for direction. It's certainly helpful for the more intricate shots.
Other improvements to the gameplay include a new version of the Putt Preview mode that allows players to preview the path their ball will take on the green, taking into account the speed, power and elevation before playing the shot. While on the surface it sounds like something that would quickly take the fun out of the game in its final crunch moments, EA have cunningly restricted you to only being able to use it once per hole and only on the beginner levels.
Finally designed to appeal to the YouTube generation, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 features EA's GamerNet offering allowing you to record shots, holes and even complete courses to upload and share with others online. However more than just a video sharing experience you can use it to challenge others into emulating shots you've pulled off.
VerdictTiger Woods PGA Tour 08 offers virtually everything you could want from a console golf game, but with so many features and offerings that you'll never be able to truly master it.
Whether it's the Gamer Face option to get you into the game, or the reverse career mode that starts off hard and gets easier as you master the controls there is probably something for everyone here.
As for improvements over last year's outing? There is enough here for the die-hard fans to justify an upgrade, but probably not enough for the casual gamer if you are on a budget.
Feature-packed, this is a must for Xbox 360 golf game fans, however those looking for the ultimate golfing experience may do well to check out the Wii version console with the need to swing the Wii remote, although be warned, like the game in real life, it can be incredibly frustrating.