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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13

 

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13

ESRB: Everyone - E
Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Sports
 
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9.5
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8.5
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Author:

Developed by: Tiburon
Published by: Electronic Arts

Features:
Kinect Connectivity

I have never played a round of professional golf in my life. I was therefore skeptical when I hooked up my Kinect, placed Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 in my disk drive, and readied my hands around the grip of a virtual 9 iron. I was concerned that my lack of experience with golf would somehow diminish the experience of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13. What I discovered, however, was an experience both fun and enjoyable, even for an amateur like me.

Graphics

Visuals in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 are crisp and pleasant. You are given the option upon starting up the game to customize your personal golfer. Doing so gives you the opportunity to shape the look, expressions, and general appearance of your golfer. I highly recommend doing this, as the lifelike appearance of created avatars combined with the vast array of customizable options will allow you to craft a golfer that looks a whole lot like you do.

Once I had customized my golfer to my liking, I stepped onto the virtual course. I was immediately impressed with the minute level of visual accuracy contained within this game. Grass, water, and sand are believable and help propel the notion that you are playing on an actual golf course. Naturally, visuals don’t progress a great deal further than the typical amalgamation of grass, sand, and water, but that’s what gamers expect to see.

A few other visual surprises pop up randomly, such as weather patterns (rain, sun, wind, etc). These do little more than fortify the experience of playing real golf, but they do add a nice flair and an element of variety when driving the ball from hole to hole.

Sound

There is not a great deal of sound in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13, but that’s mainly due to the fact that golf is not a high-intensity sport. The only sounds you’ll hear when teeing up are the chirp of birds, the patter of rain, the light brush of wind through the trees, and the satisfying smack of your club meeting the ball. Once you begin competing in amateur and pro cups, the element of an audience and an announcer are entered into the equation. These are voiced nicely and add an element of fun to an otherwise silent experience.

Though often absent, what sounds are included within Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 are crisp and accurate. It’s difficult to find any sort of qualm with this aspect of the game, so I’ll simply confess that I had none.

Gameplay

A great deal of thought went into designing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 and making it worthy of the Kinect. It was initially difficult for me to imagine what kind of motions would be necessary to play the game, outside of the obvious swinging and putting. What I found, however, is that motions were much more diverse and enjoyable than I expected. For example, you can shield your eyes with your left hand to zoom in and out of the green. You can crouch down to get a better lay of the course. You can exude gestures that will change your clubs, stances, and swing power. Barring all of this, actions can also be performed by speaking directly to the Kinect. Want to ask your caddy for advice? Simply say, “Ask caddy” and options will pop up onscreen to aid you in your next drive or putt.

I did have a few issues when lining up my drive. The Kinect is sometimes finicky in the way it interprets the position of your body. As a result, I sometimes had trouble getting my golfer to fully extend his backswing. A lot of the time he lazily brought back his arms and gave the ball a halfhearted tap rather than the resounding smack I had hoped for. I got better at this the more I played, but it never quite reached the level of perfection I desired.

That small complaint aside, I loved the manner in which the game allows you to continue playing even after you drive the ball. Once the ball is airborne, you can clench a fist and move it around to increase or decrease the general spin of the ball. Do this correctly and you can greatly increase your chances of knocking a few strokes off your game.

Overall, it does not take a great deal of practice or skill to play Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13, but that does not mean it isn’t a blast to play. If you ever get bored of simply competing in cups, there are a plethora of other game modes and challenges to occupy your time. You can compete in sponsor challenges – such as scoring a certain number of birdies – to unlock additional gear, clothing, and equipment. Performing well for one sponsor will also attract the attention of additional sponsors and, consequently, grant you access to additional prizes.

Prizes boil down to typical categories like balls, clubs, and grips, all of which have separate stats (such as power and accuracy). There is not a whole lot of diversity to these items, but they do give the player something to work towards. They also add an RPG element to the game, where better performances will reap better benefits, which, in turn, will reap even greater results. It’s not an original idea in any sense of the word, but it makes the game far more intriguing and competitive.

The currency to purchase these prizes can be garnered from a variety of other game modes. Want to pit your skills against a fellow rival? Simply start your own country club and issue the challenge. Want to see which of your friends is the best golfer? Take your game online and match your skills against the Xbox community.

There is even a mode where you can step into the shoes of renowned golfer and athlete, Tiger Woods. This mode allows you to relive many of Tiger Woods’ accomplishments that helped shape him into the pro he is today. It isn’t much more than the aforementioned gameplay placed in a historical setting, but it’s still interesting to witness.


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