Well the much awaited release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2009 is out and now that I have my X-Box 360 copy and have played my way through a portion of it, I figured it was time for a review. The game applied an update to my system in order to play the game. (No need to download from server, update was on the disk).
The graphics seem to have gotten an update and are more realistic than in previous versions. I still find that the graphics are lacking vs. the PC version with better anti-aliasing and color reproduction. The characters textures are a little more detailed than I have seen in previous versions. The water is terrible however, with today’s technology you would expect that the water in the game would be of much higher caliber.
The course graphics and textures seem to be a lot more photo real however there are still shots that show really bad detail such as texture stretching and pixelation. Certain views have a close up of the planar mapped trees with the low quality alpha channeled edges in the forefront of the camera. The grass geometry is lacking in closeups, on the PC versions their seemed to be much more grass detail all but hiding the polygon surface making up the ground.
Animation and sound is much better than previous versions, the sounds are less annoying and the clubs strikes are more accurate sounding than I have seen in other versions.
This is where the major changes were made in the game with the inclusion of the instructor with custom drills, automatic attribute adjustments and club tuning. The AI seems to have been left the same as it was in 2006 till now. The same feeling of predetermined outcomes during certain events on balanced mode. An easy shot to win the whole during the Tiger Challenge and you strike the ball perfectly on the swing plane. The ball does not follow a proper ball flight and ends up out of bounds or in a sand trap, only to have the CPU opponent make an unbelievable shot to win the hole. The opposite also happens when you miss hit a ball so badly but it takes the right line and drops for an unexpected birdie. The A.I. gets even more annoying as you progress through the game into the higher opponents when making that shot is even more important.
*UPDATE* Now more than 50% into the game I have never seen such terrible A.I., it is completely inconsistent and illogical. More and more shots are just completely off what the physics of golf should be. The putting line that you can use one time is all but useless on a lot of putts. For example it tells me the ball is going to go 20 feet past the hole if I hit it full power. I drop the power to a leave it short of the hole because it is down hill and the ball still rolls all the way off the green and down the fairway 200′. The slope on the green was not even that much. The same thing happens the next round on that same hole the ball travels the same distance yet I reduced the power to nothing more than a tap. Mario Golf has better A.I. (Physics) at times than TGW2009. I feel like EA is just going through the motions on this one and releasing the same game with some very minor updates each year.
I am not really impressed with the latest release in this franchise although I am enjoying playing it on the X-Box. I think that has more to do with the big screen LCD and being able to lounge on the couch while playing than it does with the game play itself. With some real effort needs to be put into this this franchise to make it become photo realistic and more accurate simulation, in the near future. Some real though however does need to be put into the A.I. Or maybe EA just needs some competition in this genre of game?
I have found no glitches other than those listed in A.I. review. However I did find that the game would freeze once in a while during loading events in Tiger Challenge causing me to have to restart the XBox360. *After some more testing I found that the freeze occurs when you are offered the drills after a round and you complete one or more but not all of the drills. If you only complete a portion of the drills listed and then press “B” to get back the previous menu the loading will freeze.
I would give the game a 5.5/10 there are some things that are just not as nice as the PC version. And I cant get over the rubberband illogical A.I.