The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Tiger Woods 12 brought a comforting structure to the career mode, but
I find this year’s new features and overall organization a byzantine
maze that serves to bring you right back to where you started. The
Masters career structure thankfully returns, but the larger focus is on
collecting coins. You earn coins no matter which game mode you play –
whether that’s the online country clubs, in career mode, or the new
Tiger Legacy mode that traces his past and possible future. But like
other new features in Tiger 13, the initial deliciousness of this carrot
does not last.
The importance of coins in the game shapes its
entire structure (including the fact that your console needs to be
connected online to get them). Although you can approach coin collecting
passively, the way they are so tightly embedded in the game shapes how
you spend your time playing it. Coins are spent on pins you get from
packs in the store. Pins give your golfer boosts in a variety of ways,
and have replaced some, but not all, of the bonuses you used to get from
clothing and equipment. I wouldn’t say that pins are absolutely
necessary (the XP-based attribute system still exists as well), but they
impart some sweet bonuses, so you’d be missing out if you didn’t
If you don’t think you’re earning coins fast enough
or don’t want to buy them outright, you can also explore the new Tiger
Legacy mode where you play through different phases of the golfer’s
life. Given that it starts out with him as a toddler, you’d think it
would be a tutorial of sorts, but it doesn’t even work effectively as
that. Instead, this waste of sepia is a repetitive slog of challenges
that only serves as an avenue to earn more coins. Having to go through
this kind of circuitous route to build your coin bank is not time well
Tiger 13’s other big new feature – its host of re-jiggered
swing mechanics – gives players more options to finesse their shots, but
I wouldn’t call it a re-invention. I like how you can play around with
different variables like swing velocity and ball positioning to suit
your swing style. For instance, in order for me to swing straight and
true, I can’t have too much overswing on my backswing nor follow through
too fast. This changed the way I tackled courses, from my club
selection to changing where I struck the ball.
But the more I
played Tiger 13, the more it felt the same. It doesn’t take long to
master the new swing mechanics and find yourself – no pun intended –
back in the swing of things. While I don’t think that the development
team made changes just for the sake of change, I didn’t play the game
differently. I simply adapted to the new mechanics to bring me back to
how I used to play it.
My ambivalence towards the coin system and
some of the elements of the new swing mechanics shouldn’t obscure the
fact that Tiger 13’s online package has some good features. Although you
can’t create large club vs. club tourneys or events, I like the co-op
aspect where club members work towards shared goals. The designation of a
weekly club leader (which funnels into a tourney structure) and smaller
daily carrots like a coin reward for playing four days in a row are
also welcome additions. Coins are a key component of Tiger 13’s online
country clubs, as well. Joining one gives you modifiers to earn more
coins, which gets you pin packs much faster than if you were to earn
them by yourself.
Golfers travel the world looking for fame and
fortune, and Tiger 13 does the same thing with its various modes and new
features. Unfortunately, some of it feels more like a run around than
This is EA Sports’ first use of Kinect, and
it shows. The peripheral doesn’t come close to replicating your
backswing with fidelity, and it lacks fluidity and accuracy. The PS3
Move functionality fares only slightly better, but the hiccups in the
backswing animation are annoying when you’re trying to gauge how much
power to use during putting. I don’t recommend either of these
peripherals over the normal control setup.
Tiger's Legacy Mode is prominent but not fun
Coins and pins are central in the game
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.