It is once again the time of year for sports games to make their grand entrance, reproduce like bunnies, and then disappear to the bottom of bargain bins, never to be seen or heard from again. In the tried and true tradition of milking sports franchises for all they are worth, EA Sports introduces Tiger Woods PGA Tour '09, available on every console known to man. Will this year's game match up with the past or fall victim to its own legacy?
After only a few minutes of gameplay, it became painfully evident that this was very much a clone of last years game, with a few new features slapped on to help warrant a new year number and sixty dollar sticker price. Further proving that EA is running out of new and original ideas, the marque feature of '09 is the inclusion of Tiger Wood's performance coach, Hank Haney, as your personal trainer. Haney will be appear at major junctions in the career mode, providing tips and drills that will help improve your character attributes. I know that he is supposed to be helpful, but so far I have only seen him as a hindrance to the progression of career.
To me, the most useful new feature was the inclusion of a Club Tuner mode. In past games I always had issues with a hook to my shoot, but after going in to get my clubs tuned, suddenly I became a God among mere men! Everything shot I took was more responsive, getting better distances, and exhibiting pinpoint accuracy. Never had I felt like I was in complete control of my destiny, until now. I will see if these improvements continue to help my game, or hold me back as my career goes on.
The theme of EA's '09 sports series seems to be, "The games are so easy, even your retarded parents can play." Following in the trend started with the Madden IQ in Madden '09, Tiger Woods PGA Tour '09 features a newly christened 'Dynamic Skill' system. Each round can have a positive or negative impact on your skills and abilities. Moves like this drive me up a wall, because not only does it limit the full potential of the ass-whooping I can administer, but it cripples the incentive for players to get better. Hopefully EA will be able to find a happy medium either by patch or in next years edition.
Despite my complaints, Tiger Woods PGA Tour '09 has quickly climbed to the top of my 'Must Play' games list. You can look forward to a full review, hopefully sometime late next week.
Below is a trailer for Tiger Woods PGA Tour '09: