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With Tiger Wood 09 firmly in my favourites spot next to my Wii, I look towards the potential for greatness of Tiger Wood 10. To fully grasp this though I thought I'd delve back into Tiger Woods 08 to gauge what significant progress the series makes each year and see if I've missed any hidden treasures.
My initial aim is to approach Tiger Woods 08 as a game in its own right - I'm avoiding comparisons in attempts to so how well this game of last year works for me. It's not long before I realise that I am unwittingly comparing Tiger Woods 08 to Tiger Woods 09 at every step, but what kind of game experience Tiger Woods 08 is handing me?
Hitting the course as quickly as possible I'm led through some basic swing tutorials even before I reach the main menu. I appreciate the essential but not overworked style of these and actually glean a couple of gem's I've not really come across in my time playing Tiger Woods 09. I instantly get the hang of draw and fade shots, a feat Iíve not accomplished in all my Tiger Woods 09 playing. Popping back into Tiger Woods 09 confirms my suspicions; curling shots has got much harder in Tiger Woods 09 to point of making this feature unusable. This is a real shame as it adds a lot more control and depth to my game while playing Tiger Woods 08.
Putting in 08 works much more predictably. The gauge seems much more logical and you can actually control your shot power with the strength of your Wii-mote swing.
One obvious comparison to make between the games is the graphical rework that has taken place. I won't dwell here to much, as once playing you soon forget about how the game looks. The two main areas are sky and water which are considerably more convincing in Tiger Woods 09. Apart from a few unnatural golfer animations, the landscaping is very similar, with the expected absence of other golfers and crowd. Sound wise the crack of the club and ball seem no different. The environmental noises though seem to have been chopped back considerably in Tiger Woods 09; this could have been trading off better graphics for loss of ambient sounds, but nice touches like planes flying over, ducks quacking and frogs croaking are sadly removed in Tiger Woods 09, these are really nice touches that often took me by surprise in Tiger Woods 08.
Putting in 08 works much more predictably than in Tiger Woods 09. The gauge seems much more logical and you can actually control your shot power with the strength of your Wii-mote swing, just like during driving. I have heard from many Tiger Woods veterans that putting in Tiger Woods 09 was the biggest stumbling block to master; it's like it became more difficult that in real life, even after practice. Here in Tiger Woods 08 it all makes more sense, so you're not constantly fighting the game in this area. Let us hope for a return to logical putting in 2010.
Heading over for a few tiger challenges for this experience I fire up the TPC Boston. I play my first 1v1 tournament against Kelly Newman, she seems to have a Lara Croft body model which can't help her balance. I take my turn and manage to hit water from my Tee shot. Interestingly I notice my ball takes a couple of bounces across the water surface. The rest of that hole breaks down into 'how many skims can I get'- the answer is 3; I would have managed 4 had a duck not obstructed my progress.
So as you may have guessed I am looking forward to Tiger Woods 10 with bated breath. I need all the shiny bits of Tiger Woods 09 and all the real golf game play of Tiger Woods 08.
Onto hole 2 and I begin to notice how utterly annoying the commentary is in Tiger Woods 08. With statements such as "this is like deja vu all over again" you can see why I quickly switched it off. As I play on through hole after hole I feel the game becoming familiar. That I can grasp the controls and inner working of this golf experience means I am enjoying the actual golf far more earlier on in the game than I had with Tiger Woods 09.
Swinging back over to Tiger Woods 09 one last time I want to see if the sound golfing experience is really enough to keep me in Tiger Woods 08 for good. Like some sort of epiphany though I realise that the beautiful environments of Tiger Woods 09 and smooth animations make my fickle emotions jump enough to really engage the game. So I stick with playing 09 for now, I convince myself that I can put up with the problems; I just need to put more hardcore practice in.
So as you may have guessed I am looking forward to Tiger Woods 10 with bated breath. I need all the shiny bits of Tiger Woods 09 and all the real golf game play of Tiger Woods 08. EA are so nearly there, letís hope in Tiger Woods 10 for a next-gen golf game that will mark a turning point in virtual golf forever.
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