It would appear that Tiger’s highly publicized swing changes have pervaded EA’s golf sim as well. Tiger 06 for 360 is a hurried, stripped-down cut-and-paste between current-gen and next-gen consoles.
The courses look cleaner and more detailed than the current gen editions - trees embrace gentle winds, single blades of grass glimmer in the sunlight, characters stand knee high in heavy rough and sparse handfuls of spectators stare off at one another (you can peg them with the ball too). And the golfers, while appearing as if they've been cast in shiny clay, do look notably better - though this makes their less-realistic animations appear abnormally stiff.
Then comes the triple bogey. Unfortunately, next-gen Tiger cuts the courses on the tour to six: Pebble Beach, Pinehurst No. 2, Riviera Country Club, TPC at Sawgrass, Carnoustie and Turnberry. That's fewer than half the number of courses rendered on the current-gen and PC versions. Plus, many of them aren't even unlocked until you play hours banging through tedious skill tests and redundant tournaments.
Game modes suffer a similar hell-pruning. Tiger 360 loses the wonky Career mode in which his uncanny composure and air-mail tee shots are complimented by the ability to travel through time - and goofy though it was, it's a big absence. Many other modes are absent too.
What you’re left with is a bare-bones experience with little single-player action beyond skill challenges and making the PGA Tour. Multiplayer is great with a foursome, but we’d like to play a wider variety of courses instead of betting on the same acreage over and over again.
Tiger’s gameplay itself has changed little from the current-gen versions, and is geared more toward the sim angle than past versions. No longer can you sit skunk drunk on the couch and throw lawn darts at the green. If you pull the analog stick to the side during your backswing or tilt it off the straight and narrow during your follow-through, your ball will scream off to the side and find the rough. This is even tougher if you're hammering the shoulder button to power up your shot.
Once you’re on the green, putting is just as challenging as in current-gen versions - except the actual hole may be nigh-impossible to see, especially on non-HD TVs. That certainly sucks.
Ultimately, the first golf game on 360 is an admirable sign of things to come. But considering its emaciated course selection and the fact that it runs ten bucks more than the current-gen version, we'd think long and hard about which version is best for you.