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Since the success of Wii-Sports Golf The Wii-mote motion controller has always seemed a perfect match for golf. Since then a number of games have tried to work a golfing control mechanic around it. We Love Golf Wii stuck to their trigger three stage swing, whilst Super Swing Golf aimed to provide a one-to-one motion experience. Tiger Woods 09 combines the realism of Super Swing's controls with its rich resource of courses, players and shot types to provide an experience that feels the closest to real life.
Sports games recreate a wide variety of real life competitive games. Depending on the sport, these will either have an action or strategy focus. Popular sports games are often released on an annual basis, each year the game receives new player rosters and game improvements.
Tiger Woods 09 enables the player to control the hitting of the golf ball by simply swinging the Wii-mote as they would a golf club. The game reads their back-swing, club angle through the shot and follow through, to calculate the resulting hit. Although this pushes the Wii-Mote's sensors to its limits, it is largley successful at letting a round of golf to be played with nothing more than these motions.
The limitations of the Wii-mote technology, and the wide variety in players real world golf swings, the game often comes in for criticism. To counter this the series has developed different approaches and refinements over its three iterations. Some of these suite some people better than others, accordingly players often have their favourite version of the game:
Tiger Woods 07:
Tiger Woods 08:
Tiger Woods 09:
Players are undoubtedly attracted to the Wii version of Tiger Woods because of the masterly swing mechanic. They are more than happy to put up with the occasional odd outcome for the sheer sense of connection between controller and game. Many who play the game even prefer it to the better looking and (some would say) more controllable versions of the game on 360 and PS3.
As in real life a full round of golf with a few friend can take the best part of three or four hours. You can of course play a front or back nine, but this game is best served by longer sessions. The career mode lets you save midway through a round which helps those who want to jump in and out at opportune moments.
This being an All Play title, I had expected my younger off spring to be catered for. Whilst my five year old daughter soon got to grips with the simplified All Play swing, the younger kids had to just watch. The sit-down swing option from 08 that was so loved by my wife also seemed to be missing as All Play controls still require you to point the controller down before swinging it seems Tiger Woods 09 is a standing up pursuit. Intermediate players are probably the best served here. Not only is the fabulous swing mechanic easy to pick up it also a lot of fun.
Experts will either rise to the challenge of the sometimes cruel putting, or be put off by it's occasional inconsistencies. Those that do last the distance will be rewarded by what is arguably one of the best golfing experience on a video games console. Certainly for me there is literally no attraction to play a golf game without a real world one-to-one swing.
With the MotionPlus Wii-mote add-on coming out next year, I expect that we will see a significant improvement in both fidelity and consistency of controls in Tiger Woods 10. One can't help but wonder if this year's version has suffered a little from attention spent on the new peripheral.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: