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Tiger Woods PGA Tour Nintendo DS

Published by EA Sports
Developed by EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Tiger Woods PGA Tour, an introduction.

Golf games that have appeared on handheld consoles have always been hit and miss affairs. Whilst the mainstream console golf games have been moving away from the tried and tested golf swing method of multiple button presses and taking advantage of analogue sticks to implement a true 'golf-swing', handheld consoles have had no such option. That is until now. With the DS having a stylus and a touch screen anything is possible and sure enough on the UK's release day EA Sports had a Tiger Woods game available that takes advantage of this new control system.

What's the game about?

Of course the game is all about golf and it carries all the usual trimmings. You have a choice of stroke, skins and match play. The courses on offer include Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, Kapalua, Sawgrass and Coeur d'Alene. AI golfers include Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Justin Rose and Vijay Singh. Game modes include Quick Play, Multiplayer and Legend Tour. The Legend Tour contains a rookie, pro and legend tour. Initially only the rookie tour is available.

What's good about the game?

Perhaps the most promising aspect of the game is that the developers tried to implement an analogue swing and although it isn't perfect, it does work to a certain degree. Essentially you have a gauge (kind of like a 'J') that you have to draw over with your stylus. You'll begin at the top of the 'J' and draw to the tail then you have to take the stylus back up. Drawing over the 'J' completes the back swing whilst deviating from the straight line going up will result in a hook and slice. There is also a boost gauge that you can rub before taking the shot to add extra power. Finally whilst the ball is in the air you can apply spin to the ball by using the stylus. The golfers and the courses that have been included will probably be the ones that gamers wanted included. Who doesn’t want a virtual St. Andrews in the game? There are also some great golfers that have been included. My personal favourite, Jack Nicklaus, has been included so that has to be a plus point. The game also makes good use of the touch screen and as well as using it to carry out your swings you can also use it to position your shots.

What's not so good about the game?

The game is rather short on content and the small number of courses, golfers and game modes is disappointing. The multiplayer game requires each gamer to have a copy of the game which doesn't take advantage of the game download feature of the DS and it also means the chances of most gamers having a multiplayer game are virtually zero. Whilst the swing meter isn't exactly perfect at least it allows you to interact, which is more than can be said for the putting. Putting simply involves setting up the shot by moving the aiming marker and then pressing the putter icon. The putt is then automatically carried out leaving you feeling that you have little control over the shot. For really close shots you have no control at all as an auto-gimme shot kicks in.

How does it look?

The graphics in Tiger Woods PGA Tour on the DS look pretty much like they came from a PSone version of the game. The top screen displays your golfer and course in 3D but it's a rather crude appearance (to be fair though the DS doesn't seem capable of producing anything better in terms of 3D graphics). The textures in particular look very bland and disappointing. The game has been presented quite nicely though with hole flyby's looking particularly impressive. The frame rate remains solid throughout which is something you couldn't always say of the PSone golf games.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

There are no problems at all for deaf gamers with Tiger Woods PGA Tour. There are a few ambient noises and gallery applause that you'll be unaware of but these hardly add anything to the game and their absence is no cause for concern. All information is presented in text and you can call up text caddie tips (by pressing the X button) whenever you want to. The game manual is fairly short but it covers all the details you need to learn on how to use the new swing gauge. Other game essentials are also well covered by the manual.

Final thoughts.

Golf fans will be pleased to see a game released for their DS on release day and all things considered it's not a bad game. That said though it's not anything special either and the lack of courses, golfers, and game modes will comes as a disappointment as will the need for multiplayer games to have every gamer owning a copy of the game. The swing method used here needs some work but as a starting point it's not too bad. Overall though it's the lack of features that hurt the game more than anything else.

Overall Game Rating: 6.8/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

A decent first golf game on the Nintendo DS. Tiger Woods PGA Tour needs more features, a more refined golf swing and a better putting system. Multiplayer should be playable with one game and should not require each person to own a copy of the game.