It's not much of a secret to admit that when we do reviews of sequels the first thing we do is check out what we thought about last year's offering. Does the new game play any better? Does this year's version fix the faults we found last year? And how much new stuff is there? Last year the 'Woods disappointed us a little. There was a tiny amount of new features and what was actually new (lot's of daft comedy characters) was actually a bit pointless. We suggested that the game was actually better than golf itself but you'd still be better off with 2003's version on the cheap. Well, things have changed. PGA Tour 2005 is probably EA Sports most accomplished title ever. They may be fumbling in the dark with FIFA at present but - thanks to that lacklustre Tiger 2004 - they're firing on all cylinders for 2005.
After the uneasy lightweight introduction of comedy players and whizz-bang nu-metal stylings last year, EA have now included the solid new features to back the package up. It's all about customisation this time around. The Game Face II system on board is so powerful that this year's non PGA players (ie, the comedy old man, sexy lady, dork, etc) are created using it. So, if you can't get a decent likeness of yourself in there you can at least invent another comedy idiot to play golf as instead.
You can even tweak your player's stance and swing to mimic your own. Or why not recreate your favourite non-included real golfer? It's possible to waste days editing characters rather than actually playing golf.
The other major new feature is the 'Tiger-proofing' options, allowing you to modify the vast 14 courses here to create your own. OK, so you can't design a course from scratch but you can pick and choose holes and stretch the size and width of fairways, greens and hazards to bend them totally out of shape if required. Mix and match holes from different courses and create your own dream 18. Again, it's so involving and easy that you can spend hours tweaking rather than playing.
But what of the game itself? What amazing new control system have they included this time? Well, not much has changed gameplay wise. The new Legend Pursuit mode is a great intro into one of the most 'mode' packed and intimidating games EA make and - finally - there's full online play too, but in terms of looks and raw button press gameplay little has changed.
But why mess with a winning formula? There's 11 brand new courses, more play modes than the rest of the EA sports roster combined and a tried and tested swing mechanic that cannot be bettered. It's almost perfect.