I couldn’t wait to pick up “Tiger Woods 07” when it first came out on the Wii. The “Wii Sports” game collection did enough to whet your appetite for a meatier game and Tiger Woods seemed to fit that bill.
Sadly it wasn’t to be. The game itself wasn’t bad but its ability to reliably do anything with the Wiimote was virtually nil. Nothing about it seemed intuitive and the swing would do little more than frustrate you with its inconsistencies.
Well, “Tiger Woods 08” was done by an entirely different team that for the Wii than for all the other consoles and the input controls from the last version were tossed out and redone from scratch. The word was that Electronic Arts realized the Wii caters to a different audience and they needed to design all Wii products with that in mind.
The end result, sadly, is little better than the last effort. First, the input controls are much improved. Reliability is much better than the the 07 version. However, what they have now is a product that simply defies you at being able to hit shots anywhere within 95-102%. The new design is supposed to take into account the amount of backswing coupled with the amount of downward force. If I swing fully but slowly I get 102-110% drives. If I swing back just halfway I get swings from 80%-105%. Nearly all approach shots zoom over the stick. Nearly all chip shots either blow over the flag or fall terribly short.
The end result is that after less than 24 hours of play, I’m already fed up with the game. My very first round I played my son and shot a 10 under at Doral. I thought, “Wow, this is FUN and it’s not frustrating like before. Now I’ll look to turn up the skill levels.” My very next game, also at Doral, was as if I’d never seen the game before. I shot 15 over par and I’ve pretty much been shooting just as badly since. I started a PGA Tour Season and in 4 events have yet to do better than 35th. I just lost a match play event to a woman named “Carpenter” who wore overalls and a red handkerchief on her head. The two holes I won were when I shot a double and triple bogey. She just shot worse.
Perhaps I misunderstand something here but looking to the manual is useless. It’s a couple pages of entirely cursory information. There’s nothing there to explain most of what’s in the game our how to really improve in it. I have no idea if my scores are being hampered because I’m viewed as new or because I’m new. I wonder if the Wiimotes are broken.
There are a number of things that concern me with the game beyond this. First, there’s the ridiculously dizzying array of setup elements needed to get going. It takes an hour to really create your player. In the end everyone still looks like a strange version of Tiger Woods. I think it’s the eyes. Then there’s the shirts, hats, pants, shoes, balls, watches, clubs, shafts, grips, etc., etc., etc. There must be literally thousands of items here if not tens of thousands. I have to wonder how they all affect play. Do I suck because I have crappy equipment? Do I have to play for 2 months to get better equipment just to play better? If so, best of luck with that. It’s not going to happen. I’m not 12 and don’t care about having to unlock all these things. I want the game I bought and I want it unlocked when I buy it. Give me an option. Do they really think most people are going to try out the dozens of different balls they give you? They even include a range ball. Why would anyone need that?
Then there’s all the saving. Every time you do something the game wants you to save. When you do it’s an annoyance of major proportions. Do you want to save your profile? Yes/No. Say Yes. Oh, that profile already exists, do you want to overwrite it? Yes/No. Move up to Yes and select it. Then there’s another Yes/No in there for something. When you’re done you have to accept that it’s done as if there’s something else that can be done at that point. Come on EA. Plus, if you play with several people it wants you to repeat this for each one. There’s no, “Save All” option.
The interface itself is frustrating. I still have no idea how I actually manage to zoom in on the face when I’m working on it. I have to fight between Wiimote movement input and direction pad input on most menus. I ended up buying several things I didn’t want simply because I hit the wrong thing at the wrong time.
For a product that was supposedly re-developed heavily, it feels a lot like the 07 version with some small clean-up. I’ll do some searching on the web to see what others are saying but for now, I’m not all that impressed and there’s no reason for that.