I have been waiting for this:
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 Hands-on
El Tigre has a new favorite club in his bag -- the Wii-mote. First Wii screens and vids.
Tiger and the Wiimote have something in common, and it's not that whiny little kids push their buttons. They were both born to golf.
While golf is nothing new to the console, Wii Sports and Super Swing Golf are not going to satisfy true golf fans longing to grip and rip the Wiimote on The Old Course at St. Andrews. Only Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 can do that.
At Electronic Arts in Redwood Shores, Calif. on Tuesday, we had a chance to sit down (or is it stand up?) with the first installment of Tiger Wii, currently slated for a March release. While we've played our fair share of golf games with newfangled control schemes (ProStroke Golf and Real World Golf, to name a few), we've always wanted to see how a Tiger game would turn out with a new control setup. As fun as those other games are, where else can you play as John Daly and, bless her heart, Annika Sorenstam?
Thankfully, Tiger is as fun as ever on the Wii and even more accessible. Want to see for yourself? Click on the media links below for new gameplay footage and screens.
The swing tracking is very accurate for drives and approach shots, and I found myself interlocking my fingers on the Wiimote, trying to get a traditional golf grip. Here's how the controls break down:
To swing, hold down B and make a golf swing. It's that simple. Like in other versions of Tiger, if you don't take the club back all the way, you will have less power on your shot. Unlike in other version, power is controlled by the speed of your downswing. The faster you swing, the farther it goes. Of course, if you push your downswing left or right, you're very likely to dig your Nike ball out of the bushes.
Once the ball is in the air, you induce spin by tapping the D-pad and shaking the Wiimote. The wrist strap is recommended here. To fade or draw the ball, you simply open or close the club face, respectively. Since the club face is really the Wiimote, you rotate it so the A button is facing the screen or facing away from the screen. Then take a natural swing and admire your physics-defying spin.
Ninety-nine percent of short putts don't reach the hole.
EA removed power percentages from the Wii and added a practice feature. In the past, you would have had to hit a pitching wedge 85 percent to hit, say, 110 yards. On the Wii, you simply press the minus button and enter practice mode and take a swing. If you rip it with a wedge, the indicator will tell you that you swung 107 percent and the ball would have traveled 135 yards. So you tone it down a little bit until you can hit the 110 yards distance consistently. Then you address the ball and knock it on.
While weekend golfers will certainly have an advantage making accurate shots, newcomers to the game will have no problem pulling the Wiimote straight back and straight forward to make a nice golf shot. A simple tutorial will walk you through the process if you think Randy Johnson is a pitching wedge. More importantly, Tiger feels much more rewarding on the Wii as you are making the golf swing yourself. You pull your front arm straight back, you bend your knees, you break your wrists at the right moment and you hit the ball. You just can't get that feeling with an analog stick.
And then you get on the green.
While Tiger is still being finished, the putting mechanic is still a bit off. The problem is that real putting is such a subtle movement, usually of only a few inches, that the action doesn't put enough force on the Wiimote. If you make a traditional putting stroke, the Wiimote will not recognize it. So no amount of golf training will help on the green. The simplest way we found to put was to break you wrist and rotate the controller so it's pointing away from the screen, then rotate the pointer to face the screen. It's not even close to a putting motion but it gets results. Of course, this could all change in the next six weeks as EA finalizes the game.
Practice is key on the putting green, now that percentages have been removed. If the distance to the hole is 35 feet, you simply hit the ball 35 feet -- elevation is taken into account into the distance. Then use the perfect putt camera and the grid to judge the break and sink it. With elevation taken out of play, it's less to think about on the Wii, but more difficult to master with the Wiimote.
While the golf swing and putting mechanic do not make the perfect golf simulator we were hoping for, the gameplay is fun for golfers and grandmas alike. And if you don't like kick-ass motion sensors, you can plug in the Nunchuk for a traditional analog swing.
In terms of presentation, Tiger Wii is a nice blend of current-generation and next-gen Tiger. From the 360, the Wii borrows True Aiming, in which golfers aim for a landing area instead of a precise point. The better your golfer, the smaller the landing area. Of course, you still have to hit the ball well to hit the landing area.
Grip and drag the aiming area with the Wiimote.
There are 35 golfers in the game including Daly, Sorenstam and Vijay Singh, as well as Tiger's trademarked fictional hackers. There are also 18 courses including Aviara, The K Club, Pebble, St. Andrews, Kiawah Island and the Falls, to name a few. Visually, Tiger looks a lot like the PS2 version of this year's title, and it supports 480p widescreen. While we couldn't hear a thing at EA as Def Jam: Icon blared in the background, the commentary of David Feherty and Gary McCord will return, and the Wiimote speaker will also spout sound effects from your swing.
We only had a chance to play four holes at the event, but we do know that the Tiger Challenge and PGA Tour Season mode featuring the FedEx Cup will comprise the bulk of the single-player experience. Multiplayer foursomes can share a Wiimote and play a variety of mini-games -- some Wii specific -- and traditional modes like stroke play and skins.
With about six weeks left to work on the game, we hope EA can iron out putting to resemble a true putting stroke. It would be perfect if Tiger matched your movements with the Wiimote, so we'll see if EA can tweak the putting sensitivity. As it stands, Tiger 07 is impressive and is looking to be the golf game we hoped to find on the Wii. Now we just need to find a caddy to carry our Wiimote from hole to hole.
I think I will have to get this :)