[REVIEW] Hitting the Links with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 for Wii

Republished with permission of gamepeople.co.uk game reviews.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11
Rating: E
Platforms: Wii, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, iPhone OS (this review is specific to the Wii edition)
Publisher: EA Sports

Tiger Woods 11 Wii crafts an addictively unique swing. It’s most impressive because it responds to real golf technique, and has me practising even when I’m not playing.

When I stop playing games I usually have a nagging feeling that I’ve wasted my time. Shooting, running and gunning, or even saving imaginary universes doesn’t feel enough to compensate the energy and effort expended.

Don’t get me wrong, I love playing and think it’s a really worthwhile activity. But often I come away with the underlying sense of having, to quote Comic Book Guy, “wasted my life”.

But walking away from a game of Tiger Woods 11 leaves me feeling like I’ve been engaging in something real and worthwhile. And I think it’s all down to that swing. I’ve played Tiger Woods for years with sticks on the 360 but never felt this sort of connection before.

Between games of Tiger I now find myself thinking back over my performance and planning ways to improve things next time. If there’s no one around to see me, I even sometimes rehearse by swing now and again.

Recently I discovered that someone I work with plays a lot of golf – real golf. So I casually made out that I played as well and asked for his advice on my swing. Over lunch he took me through some of the accepted basics required to construct a solid stroke.

I came away with my head full of hinge action, centrifugal force and include plane, saying over and over in my head his mantra of head-balance-rhythm. It was interesting, but the afternoon continued and I soon forgot about it.

It wasn’t until next time I was playing Tiger, and doing better than usual, that I remembered the conversation and advice. Intriguingly, it seemed that I had absorbed some my colleague’s wisdom. I now seemed able to hit harder and more accurately. But more than that, my swing felt fluid and natural.

Now, I know Tiger 11 on the Wii has all sorts of great new features. But for me, beyond the first person perspective, the Ryder Cup contest, improved online features or minigames, it’s the tangible swing that keeps me coming back for more – not to mention swinging in my sleep.

Playing with friends it’s easy to see who has played real golf – their touch and attitude quickly translates to the Wii. And they look so good using the Wii-mote too – as if it the instrument of a trade rather than a videogame controller.

And at the end of the evening we all come away feeling like we have spent our time well. The swing mechanics and the conversations we can have as we each take turn combine to create one of my favourite ways to spend an evening.

In this column I’ve often gone on about games that stay with you when you’re not playing, and at times it’s been a bit of a stretch to really see it. But Tiger 11 on the Wii has restored my faith in this, my favourite, aspect of video gaming. It’s a game I really enjoy both when I’m playing it as well as between times.

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