Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 review

Slightly modified swing mechanics rule the day here

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The same swing arc used for the motion controls is used for the standard control scheme as well, and the longstanding stick controls take a back seat to a new tempo swing mechanic. Instead of carefully pulling back to where you think you need to, then pushing up on the stick as fast and straight as you can, now you can reel the rhythm of your shot. After selecting a club, the amount of draw/fade, and distance of the shot, the swing plane shows where you should swing, too. Simply pull back to start your back swing, and push forward to hit. Get the tempo right and your shot will be perfect. While some may scoff at the mechanical simplification, the new control scheme streamlines and livens up each round of golf. It feels more rewarding, as opposed to the punishing system of games past. And, hey, if you hate it, you can switch to the classic control scheme as well.

With the 360 and PS3 versions finally taking advantage of the motion control for both, it's disappointing to not see the extra modes that the dearly departed Wii version used to offer. Sure, Disc Golf and Mini Golf are silly, but they were also a lot of fun, and gave PGA Tour a party mode that, frankly, it desperately needed. Tiger 13 also continues the annoying trend of fewer courses on the disc. Over the last few years, the Tiger Woods series has seen the number of disc-native courses dwindle, instead seeing EA offer them as DLC. Thankfully, the career mode doesn't taunt you with them like last year's game, and players can earn those courses through a new reward/microtransaction system, but there's no getting around the frustration that a golf game from a few years ago had 10 more courses than you get now.

When you get online, you'll find Tiger 13's other new addition: online Country Clubs. Acting as a sort of clan mechanic, the clubs allow you to invite other players, and compete with them on courses that you can unlock with coins (earned by playing the game). Top players from each club are invited to special online tournaments hosted by EA, and the clubs combine friendly competition with teamwork, encouraging everyone to get better. Obviously the extent that these features work and are, well, fun, can't be fully determined until the servers are rather well-populated and active.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 improves on numerous areas from last year's game, but they're small, almost inconsequential-feeling areas. Honestly, if you don't play online, don't own and love Kinect, and don't care about reliving Tiger Wood's first hole in one, it's hard to emphatically recommend PGA Tour 13 more than last year's version, which had far better presentation thanks to the fanfare over the debut of The Masters in-game. EA Tiburon offers a well-done golf game, but also reinforces the idea that maybe golf isn't a sport that need an annual release.

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Platform"Xbox 360","PS3"