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EA Sports  
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11
From: EA Sports
For: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Simulation, Sports
ESRB Rating: Everyone (6+)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11
Tiger Woods' 2010 golf season might be a write-off, but Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 for PlayStation3 and Xbox 360 is the complete opposite.
Posted June 25, 2010
By CRAIG HUMPHREYS, EVERGEEK MEDIA
 
In Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, just about everything you've come to expect from the annually lauded series is still in the game; beautiful courses, life-like players, intuitive grip 'n' rip with the analog thumbstick, the lot of it, sweet as ever.

Of course, it wouldn't be a sequel without a few tweaks, changes and additions, and Tiger 11 certainly delivers in that department.

Foremost, there's a new "Focus Meter" that charges up when you're in-the-zone, hitting a string of great shots (as opposed to trying to kill it each time), for example, or draining long putts. As it charges up, you can use Focus is key situations, adding a little distance to what you'd normally expect of an iron or wood, or allowing for a "putt preview" to make double sure you've lined it up just right.

As artificial assistance, using Focus also drains the gauge, so you must use it wisely.

Duffing it also depletes your Focus, obviously.

But by adding Focus as a gameplay tool, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 also lends itself to a more veracious simulation.

Gone is the pre-shot circle that shows you where your ball would land on the fairway or green or wherever you might have been aiming, so the game now requires that you have some knowledge about how far certain clubs will carry the ball in the air, how much it will roll after it hits grounds and so on - much more realistic.

Also new and really cool is a level-up system that adds experience points for shots for hitting those pro shots (as opposed to a non sequitur "cash" reward system). More importantly, you can distribute those points role-playing game (RPG) style, leeching some of your putting prowess to buff up accuracy, for example.

Golf simulation mechanics aside, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 includes a Ryder Cup mode for the first time, something for which fans of the series have long been longing.

The Ryder Cup is a real (and now virtual) event that pits the top 12 male American golfers against the top 12 male European players over three days of play.

Typically, sadly, as the game's first go at a new mode, the Ryder Cup does have its problems. Firstly, there are barely enough players to fill the rosters for both squads so if you don't want a player in your squad, you're either stuck with them or have to sub in a female golfer. But even more perplexing is that with a little roster manipulation you can have American players play on the European team or vise-versa - or you can have players play for both teams at the same time. Whaa? Whether such hang-ups are a developmental oversight or intentional is moot; Ryder Cup is cool but leaves lots of room for improvement, and "improvement" is why EA Sports gets away with releasing a "new and improved" versions of the same game at full price year after year. Oh well.

It should be noted that the new Focus Meter and the established thumbstick-finessing True-Swing mechanic are completely optional; you can turn them off and play old school button-tapping golf like a pro from the get-go. Those who always enjoyed shooting in the high 40s and killing the computer players every time – good on ya, carry on.

However, those who want a more realistic experience that requires actual skill and genuine/virtual "Focus," you now have those options as well.

Truth is, Ryder Cup oddities aside, everyone will be happy with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11.
 
 
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Score:  4.5  (out of 5)