Tiger Woods Golf 2002
Review of Tiger Woods Golf 2002
Playing golf in real life has never been something that was particularly appealing to me. I mean, I could just never figure out what would possess a person to hit a little white ball…run after it…and hit it again. It all just seemed so senseless to me. But videogame golf is a whole another story. Now I could smack that little white orb and direct my alter computer generated ego to run it down. I have always enjoyed a good videogame of golf and Tiger Woods has a strong pedigree behind it in EA Sports. Does this version of their popular golf franchise score a hole in one or does it end up the equivalent of a double bogey…read on to find out.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002 (lets just call it Tiger Woods for short) arrives on the scene as being one of the most complete and comprehensive golf simulators on the market and certainly the strongest contender on the PS2. With its plethora of gameplay modes and options, gamers can keep busy for months and probably still not complete everything this title has to offer.
In addition to the standard Stroke, Match, Skins and Tournament modes, Tiger Woods offers up a ton of other gameplay modes and unlockable stuff to be enjoyed. There is the Tiger Challenge, which consists of 18 separate games of gold against different opponents. Each time you win a challenge game, new items are unlocked like a hole on Tigers dream golf course, the player that you just defeated, and the course that was just played on. In addition, money is awarded during the game for all sorts of things like getting on the green, close pin shots (approach), getting our of hazards and of course the big bucks for winning the game. All of this money can then be used to build and develop the various attributes of your golfer like power, accuracy, putting, approach, etc. What happens here is that Tiger Woods almost feels like a golfing RPG. You create a character and continue to build up that characters attributes throughout the course of the gameplay. Pretty cool.
The wackiest and most original mode to be found in the game though is called Speed Golf. In this mode, two players compete head to head trying to determine who is the fastest, most accurate golfer in the land. After lining up and hitting the ball, players must run after the ball, line up and shot as quickly as possible and then run after the ball again. Points (money) are awarded for almost anything you do (hit the ball first, hit the longest drive, finish the hole first, etc)…and these bucks are deducted from the other players bank account. Drain their account first and you win. Talk about a great party game!! The action is incredibly fast and furious…and a laugh a minute to boot.
There are also a score of scenario’s that can be selected and played from the main menu. These scenarios consist of playing the final five holes of a course in the rain and coming in at 2 under par. Or perhaps playing all of the par 5 holes of all the courses in the game and coming in under par there as well. The Scenario mode coupled with the Tiger Challenge offered me the most rich and deep golf playing experience that I have ever had in a golf game before…and also proved to be immensely enjoyable.
The gameplay itself in Tiger Woods is very unique. In this respect, I mean in controlling the shots that you take. Instead of the now standard energy bars that need to be filled and buttons that need to be pressed at the right moment, Tiger Woods control scheme consists of using the analog thumbstick. Players line up at the tee, pull back on the thumbstick until the proper arc of the club is reached, and then push forward on the stick to connect with the ball. Any deviation from a perfect up and down motion could cause the ball to hook or slice…or worse. Coupled with the thumbstick, gamers can also press the L1 button to get a power boost and then press on the L2 button/thumbstick while the ball is in flight to control the spin. The amount of control and flexibility offered by this rather simple scheme is impressive and must be tried to really appreciate how it all works together.
Of course clubs can be changed, stance, shots (approach, full, punch, etc) can all be altered prior to teeing off. There is also an awesome Matrix style zoom feature that can be used to see exactly where your ball will go, complete with nice blurring and cool sound effects.
What this all boils down to is one kick-ass golf sim. The game perfectly captures the look, the sound and most importantly, the feel of golf. I can’t tell you how many times I missed a 30 foot putt for eagle and felt like throwing my controller…see, just like a real golfer throwing their club J.
The sheer amount of gameplay modes, games within games and the fact that you can grow and refine a player should give Tiger Woods some real legs in the reply area and the fact that it plays a fantastic game of golf, will surely keep players coming back again and again.
The game really shows off some of the strong graphics points of the PS2 and unfortunately it also illustrates the one nagging problem that the PS2 has become known for.
The good stuff first though…the volumetric mist and water vapor effects are outstanding. On the Copperhead Canyon course there are several holes that have little brooks, waterfalls, etc. running through them. The mist that is created by the water filters up and around the immediate area and really looks nice. On the Pebble Beach course, there is one particular hole close to the shore that really spits water vapor up and over the course causing a fog like appearance that the golfers must play through.
The backgrounds and characters alike feature a good deal of colorful texturing and the overall crispness of the display is impressive. The game also uses a nice point of view effect where the characters are nice and sharp, while the background blurs and is out of focus. This gives the game a real TV style appearance.
The characters animation, facial expressions and overall “look” are absolutely top notch. Tiger, as well as the other golfers move fluidly and replicate the motions of real golf quite well. There are also a good number of animations that occur after a shot, like grimaces, Tigers familiar fist pump and many others.
The atmosphere of the courses has also been lovingly recreated right down to the little gophers running around the course or birds flying through the air. The whole visual feast is captured perfectly and makes the player “feel” like they are playing on the course.
The only complaint is the now ever present “jaggie” effect that the PS2 is becoming synonymous with. While the visuals are all nice and solid, all of the outlying edges show a distinct stair-stepping effect. Edge-aliasing would almost certainly have fixed this problem, but perhaps it just takes too much resources from the console…I don’t know. Anyway, it really does very little to detract from the overall beauty of this title and just relegates itself into the “minor annoyance” category.
The sound effects and commentary are also top-notch in Tiger Woods. The game does a fine job in recreating the overall ambience and atmosphere of being on the courses. There are eagles/hawks screeching in the distance, crowds cheering and heckling, the sounds of water and waves crashing…the list just goes on.
The commentary is also excellent with David Feherty and Bill Macatee providing the play-by-play. The vocabulary is well parsed and some of the comments are just downright amusing.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'Tiger Woods Golf 2002' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Tom Rooney © Absolute PlayStation
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