Game review: ‘Tiger Woods PGA 2014’ is the best golf simulation title around

Michael Klein, News Editor

Electronic Arts tees up the newest edition of its bestselling golf franchise with Tiger Woods 14. Fans of the Tiger Woods series will be pleased with this year’s gameplay
which is far and away the best to date. The plethora of options available make each golfer’s experience unique. The difficulty ranges from casually easy to downright impossible. Playing on pro, for example, it is entirely possible to achieve a round of 20 under par. When ratcheting up the difficulty to simulation, however, all advantages of seeing the course, wind and slope of the green are removed: making a bogey feel like an eagle.

It’s in the Game

For the first time in years, EA made additions to the franchise that add considerably to the game’s replay-ability. It is believed by some that the word golf is an acronym “gentleman only, ladies forbidden,” and until this year, it was easy to believe the Tiger Woods series subscribed to it. Finally, ladies are welcome to do more than shoot a round. The addition of the LPGA Tour is a neat touch and welcome addition for female video game golf fans, however many exist.

Legends of the Majors mode is the most notable upgrade to 14. Throw on your knickers and grab your bag of niblicks, jiggers, mashies, cleeks, spoons and brassies as you travel back to 1873 to play the first Open Championship on St. Andrews’ old course. From there, get to relive some of championship golf’s most memorable moments of the past 100-plus years. Everything from the course layout and equipment to the antiqued video affects, make this mode feel terrifically realistic.

Additionally, there are plenty of unlockable golfers that you encounter along the way. Players get to tee-off as and against legends like Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and of course Tiger Woods.

Bad Form

“Golf is a good walk spoiled,” according to Mark Twain. Well in the case of Tiger Woods 14, it is a great game spoiled. Despite the fantastically detailed graphics and improved gameplay, failures in other areas leave players feeling like Tiger’s ex-wife Elin Nordegren: cheated. In fact, gamers practically need a month of her alimony to capitalize on all of the games content. EA is dedicated to ridding the video game market of used video games and rentals. If someone acquires a copy, in either of these ways, they are forced to purchase a $10 game pass in order to play online. Although the game has added a few new courses, many, included in previous versions, have been relegated to purchasable DLC’s. At more than $3 per course or $32 for the bundle, EA has deliberately withheld essential depth for a king’s ransom. The Masters Historic Edition will put players back another $16. Call me crazy, but for a $60 video game purchase, it should not cost $120 to play the full game, especially considering that a new version comes out annually.

It is also worth noting that the game fails miserably in the sound department. The commentary cuts in and out, for starters. When it isn’t cutting out, commentators Jim Nantz and David Feherty often seem lost in a different game. For example, they’ll exclaim that a shot is all over the pin and leaves an easy putt for birdie, when the ball is 50 or more feet away. Worse yet, the “soundtrack” is often unbearable to keep on. The melodies, which are supposed to be soothing, are annoying and repetitive. Considering the slow pace of golf, a better soundtrack and entertaining commentary is sorely needed.

Despite the shortcomings, Tiger Woods 14 cements itself as the best simulation golf title around. New modes and challenging gameplay make the game addictive and worth checking out. The sound issues and unnecessary cost of DLC keeps this game from being a hole in one.