Years ago, a round of Tiger Woods golf on your favorite console was a relaxing half hour, spent dominating the world’s best players with relative ease. Oh, how the Wii has changed things. Thanks to the wonders of waggle, 18 holes now translate into 30 minutes of violent gestures and measured nudges. Couch potatoes beware – after a couple of trips around the course, your shoulders and feet will feel the burn. Funny thing is, you’ll sign right up for another round.
Just as last year, the Wii remote is your virtual club. Hold it as you would your favorite driver or iron, rare back, and let ‘er rip. What’s amazing is the stark difference from tee to green. It’s easy to smash almost all your tee shots smack dab in the middle of the fairway, whether you swing nice and easy or use the labrum-tearing velocity required to generate maximum power. However, accurately executing approaches and pitches is tough as nails, especially early on in your career when you don’t have a lot of skills to fall back on; getting the ball on the green in regulation is consistently difficult. Lastly, putting lies somewhere in the middle – judging the required power is pretty simple, but breaks and angles are vexing. Kinda like the real game.
As always, your created player’s career is the heart of the game, and Tiger’s real-life coach Hank Haney lends his expertise along the way. While his advice is often welcome, he can’t help the fact that your movements don’t always register perfectly; your on-screen avatar will sometimes start their downswing well before your actual body does. Luckily these occasional hiccups don’t cause many headaches or mis-hits; thanks to a generally forgiving control scheme, all-out botches are virtually non-existent. Turn on the All Play controls, and you’ll even know where your shot will land before you strike it. Everybody plays, indeed.
While a handful of new (and enjoyable) mini-games debut, the standard game modes remain the same as last year. You can create a from-scratch duffer and take him or her through a PGA career, a FedEx Cup playoff, or romp through a nifty series of Tiger Challenges to ultimately face off against The Man himself. Unlike last year, online play is part of the package, allowing you to tee it up with friends and simultaneously tear up the course. You don’t have to wait for everyone else to take their shots, either, so 18 holes over the internet takes just about as much time as it does on your own – and that’s just awesome.
Despite continuing gripes about the not-so-perfect controls, ordinary visuals, and screaming fans that you only hear and never see, Tiger Woods 09 shapes up as the best golf title yet for the Wii. There’s plenty to do and just about anyone can grab a club and jump right in – just be sure to pack some ice for those sore elbows and knees.
Sep 8, 2008