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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 Review (X360)

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 Review (X360)
EA Sports
It is usually easy to make fun of some sports games (any yearly series regardless of genre, really) for not having enough new features every year, but you definitely can't say that about the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series. We were impressed with the crazy amount of new stuff in Tiger Woods 13, but now Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 showed up and kind of blew our minds with even more new features. It has a ton of features. It plays great. The presentation is better than ever. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is the best Xbox 360 golf game yet.
Game Details

  • Kinect Sensor Required
  • Publisher: EA Sports
  • Developer: EA Tiburon
  • ESRB Rating: “E" for Everyone
  • Genre: Golf
  • Pros: Loads of content; lighting system is awesome; gameplay is great; Legends mode is cool; all 4 majors; LPGA Tour; Simulation difficulty is crazy
  • Cons: Only 5 LPGA women

Features

Just when you thought the series couldn't get any more featured-packed after Tiger Woods 13, EA and Tiburon come back the next year and up the ante again. New in Tiger Woods 14 is that, for the first time in the series, all 4 major championships are officially represented in the game complete with official signage and other presentational touches. You can also choose to play career mode on either the PGA Tour or create a female golfer and play on the LPGA Tour (or the PGA Tour if you wanted), which is very cool. There are also 20 on-disc courses in Tiger 14, which is the most of this generation. Of course, there are 20+ more courses as DLC, but you can't complain too much with 20 already on-disc. The roster of available pro golfers includes 15 PGA men, 5 LPGA women (which is kind of disappointing, honestly since they only have 3 majors between them and my personal favorite, Na Yeon Choi, isn't here ...), as well as golf legends Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and more.

The major new mode addition this year is the Legends of the Majors mode which replaces the Tiger Legacy Challenge from last year. In Legends of the majors you re-live important moments in golf history as well as take on the legends themselves. It takes place in multiple eras, complete with accurate equipment for each time period (which is cool as hell), and is really well done overall. A nice touch is that while you do have to unlock events as you play, the first event in each era is unlocked so you don't have to spend too much time in the old, old eras and can skip to Nicklaus and Palmer or Tiger and play through their eras if you want.

EA Sports
In addition to all of the new stuff, the rest of the modes you'd expect are all here with some tweaks. The progression and pacing of the career mode is similar to last year as you start as an amateur and have to work you way up. Quick Play is improved by letting you play either a practice round or final round of any PGA or LPGA Tour event, including majors, and playing different scenarios which have your player different numbers of shots ahead or behind the field. Optional Kinect gameplay also returns and works well for those of you with Kinect sensors collecting dust these days.

There are also multiplayer modes aplenty with the return of Country Clubs and Connected Tournaments along with all of the other modes and settings and scoring systems you'd expect to make multiplayer golf fun. Connected Tournaments lets you play with up to 24 players - you all take your shots at the same time - complete with voice chat.

Perhaps my favorite new feature is a new lighting system that lets you play rounds at all times of the day, including at night on many courses where you play with a glow in the dark ball. The lighting just looks awesome, particularly in the hazy orange mornings. Playing at night is also really unique and cool. It is also interesting because now you can use the live time of day at a given course along with the live weather feature the series has had for a while, so you can play in the exact same conditions and lighting the real course is experiencing in real time.

Gameplay

Gameplay hasn't seen any drastic changes, but there are a few things to be aware of. Just like in real life, every golfer now has a distinct swing style including shot shape and trajectory among other factors, and figuring out the right swing style for your created golfer will have a big impact on how well you perform. It makes the players all feel differently from one another, so now instead of merely picking a player you're a fan of you have to consider play style as well. The swing system introduced last year that factored the speed you moved the analog stick along with your accuracy returns, and now also more realistically factors in the slope of the terrain you're hitting from as well. It isn't too much of a change, though, considering that my first round last year with the new system was +6, but my first round this year even with some tweaks to the system was -9. Which is why fans should be grateful for this next feature.

One big potential impact on the game comes in the addition of a Simulation difficulty level. Lets face it, the other difficulty levels are pretty easy for experienced Tiger Woods players. The Simulation difficulty level turns everything up to 11, however, and is really truly challenging. It is as realistic of videogame golf as the Tiger Woods series has ever offered and will chew you up and spit you out. Good times.

EA Sports
Graphics & Sound

The presentation is very nice all around. The menus have been redone and are a lot easier to use than the last few years. The visuals out on the course are really quite stunning with the great lighting I mentioned above along with nice trees and 3D grass in the rough.

The sound is exactly as you'd expect. Appropriate music and classic subdued golf commentary. The sound effects are also quite good, and you'll definitely notice the different sounds the clubs make as you play through the different eras in the Legends mode.

Bottom Line

EA Sports and Tiburon have done it again. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 raises the bar once again and stands as the best golf game on Xbox 360 yet. There is a ton of new stuff in this year's game, the gameplay has been tweaked and improved, a new difficulty mode ensures even die-hard series fans will have a new challenge, and the presentation is just great all around. We highly recommend Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 for a purchase.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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