Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14
Gameplay - 10
Lifespan - 10
Presentation - 6
The old saying is buy a sports game every other year, but if you bought last year's edition, I'd strongly recommend you buy this year's. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is vastly superior to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 in just about every way, and pretty much all the other games in the series.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is the game golf fans have been waiting for Sports games are often criticized for a lack of innovated features, and gameplay from year to year. For some specific sports games, the criticism is warranted. For some, such as Sony’s MLB The Show and 2K’s NBA 2K series, there is enough of a difference year to year that a new game is warranted. MLB The Show and NBA 2K are the sports games that lead the pack and other sports game strive to be. EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 strives to be that type of game, and it does a fantastic job of doing it. It can be argued that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is now apart of that very exclusive club of sports games.
I played last year’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour game, I didn’t buy it, but I played the demo and it was basically more of the same. The gameplay was the same, not enough new features, it was just a ho-hum game. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is another animal though. When the demo came out, I downloaded it just to check it out, not thinking much about it. I figured I’d play it for a little bit, and that’s it, but that wasn’t the case at all. It had a little of everything, it featured the new Legends of the Majors mode, the connected tournaments, it featured the day-night cycle, but most importantly, the gameplay was top notch. After I was done playing a 3 hole round of Golf, I wanted to jump right back in and play some more. I never played a demo as much as I had with this one. What kept me coming back was the two new addicting difficulties in Tournament and Simulation. The demo was just a taste, and the retail version is very much a satisfying entree.
Simulation is the key to success. I mentioned MLB The Show and NBA 2K, what about those games separates them from the pack? One of the big things is that these games try and replicate what you see on TV. From the little things to presentation to how players play on the field or court. TW PGA Tour 14 understands this and does a great job doing its best to replicate the players from Arnold Palmer’s putting stance to Bubba Watson’s swing.
Now while how a game is presented to how players are represented are important, it doesn’t do anybody any good if the game isn’t realistic. Fortunately, though, TW PGA Tour 14 shines in this area, quite vividly I might add. For the majority of sports fans, they want an accurate representation of their game. Golf fans are no different, for years now they’ve been screaming about a realistic golfing game, and EA Sports has finally delivered. As I mentioned earlier, the difficulty mode of Tournament and Simulation is quite addicting and should more than satisfy the vocal, loyal fans of the Tiger Woods series. For the casual fan of the Tiger Woods series, fear not, as EA hasn’t forgotten about you either. You aren’t forced to play on Tournament or Simulation mode. Amateur, Pro, and Tour Pro modes are still there and they do the job. They are still a blast to play and there isn’t much of a learning curve. Just grip it and rip it.
Taking a trip through history, a magical…well, not really a mystery, but just roll with it. One of the biggest new features is Legends of the Majors mode. In this mode you will be recreating tons of moments throughout the history of Golf. Starting all the way back to the days of young Tom Morris in the mid 1800’s to present day. You get to play in the 6 different eras in the sport which all have their own quirks. From the rendering of the camera, to the clothes, to the clubs. EA Sports does a fantastic job of recreating these little slices of history. The moments themselves will vary between birding 2 holes in a 9 hole span, recreating a shot, or beating a legendary golfer. Think of that as like a boss fight. There’s tons of content in just this mode alone that it will take you, at the very least 10-15 hours to complete. If you play at a harder difficulty you may be playing this for a long while. Legends of the Majors mode pretty much pays for itself.
More courses and golfers than ever before. This year’s TW PGA Tour game has a strong roster. It features some previous hold overs such as: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and Bubba Watson. But, it also adds Keegan Bradley, and Bud Cauley. That isn’t all though, you will also have the chance to unlock legendary golfers such as: Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Seve Ballesteros, Gary Player, and Sam Snead. The roster is really good and really deep. Plus, there are seven new courses to go along with holdover favorites such as Pebble Beach and St. Andrews.
Customize and personalize your golfer. As you start up Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14, you’ll go through a tutorial, that’s somewhat helpful, after that you’ll be able to create your Golfer. It’s a pretty deep level of customization. You can make your golfer tall or short, big head, small head, all that good stuff, but the big thing is customizing your swing. If you like bombing high arching draws, you can do that. Or if you are more of a low, control, fade kind of guy, you can do that too. You can tinker around with all the different type of swings and find one you feel comfortable with.
All Four (Fore!) Majors After customizing your golfer, you get to take ’em through a career mode where your golfer will try and become a legend. The big addition though is for the first time all four Majors will be playable for the first time.That’s a huge deal and really gives the career mode just a bit of an extra jolt. Other than that, it is, more of the same, which is fine because its good enough as it is, but there is an added twist to career mode…
Ladies are not forbidden. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 goes where no other sports game has gone before, women are included and play a part in the game. It’s pretty good timing actually, with all the hoopla and controversy surrounding how women are represented in video games, we have a sports game, that has expanded the women’s roster and has included, for the first time ever, the LPGA Tour. Now, players can create a women golfer and have a career playing in the LPGA Tour, or if you want, as a women golfer you can join the men’s PGA Tour if you want. As a women golfer you get the choice between the two Tours.
Going back to all the hoopla about how women are represented in video games it’s pretty funny that Golf is the first sports game to really give women a home. I say funny because the whole joke of how Golf got its name was to forbid ladies from playing it. Gentleman Only, Ladies Forbidden. So, kind of ironic given the circumstances, and if you didn’t know the whole joke, well how now you know, now you can go and impress your friends, but I digress. Let’s move on.
Connected Tournaments. If you’ve done the career mode, the Legends mode, and the quick tournament mode (this mode is like MLB The Show’s Playoff mode. If you want to get in a quick game of golf with different situations, this is a nice little mode), if you’ve done all that, there is always the Connected Tournaments. This is the online portion of the game where you can play with other players, up to 24 other players, at the same time. It’s more a less the same, there’s all kinds of different tournaments you can enter, chat with friends, create a Country Club (this year 100 players can join a Country Club) it’s still the same fantastic online experience it’s been.
That’s a bogey, man. Unfortunately, there are some flaws, nothing major, a few bogeys here and there, but those bogeys add up. First, let’s touch upon what you can see right away, and that are the graphics. The graphics aren’t terrible looking, but they aren’t great, or even good, they are definitely below average. When you take a look at the current landscape of games today, or even just sports games, TW PGA Tour 14 falls way short of its peers. Heck, I think even some of the older TW PGA Tour games look a bit better than this one.
Th..soun….cut….n…ut. If you are trying to decipher what that says, it’s supposed to say “The sound cuts in and out.” If you figured that out before you saw the answer, well, hey, good job, you should pat yourself on the back. All jokes aside, the audio cuts in and out, quite frequently I might add. Again, it’s not a deal breaker, no where near actually, but it’s definitely a bogey that is worth mentioning. It’s quite annoying hearing Jim Nantz or David Feherty talking, and only hearing about half of what they say. Or right when you are striking the ball, the sound cuts off and you don’t get to hear the full impact of the club meeting the ball. I assume I’m not the only one having this problem, and if I’m not, well, I’m sure this will be addressed and addressed rather quickly. I’d guess that it’s a minor problem that can be quickly be patched. We’ll see, but for now, it’s a problem worth pointing out.
Hmm, I wonder if Modnation Racers had faster load times? I’m not one to complain about load times. I know a lot of folks that will complain about slow load times for curtain games, but really they aren’t that bad. I’ll pop on whatever game, and it takes a good 3-5 seconds. That’s not bad at all. But, when it reaches Modnation Racers territory, we have a problem. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 definitely reaches that level of slowness. It’ll, typically, take a good 20-30 seconds to load any given screen. I even brought out a stopwatch to time just to see, and yep, they definitely go that slow. Even while playing loading between holes will take 10-15 seconds.
Overall, EA Sports really brought their A-game with the latest edition of the Tiger Woods series. If you haven’t bought a golf game in awhile, now is the time to upgrade. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 definitely sets the bar and just might be the sports game to beat this year.