Developer: EA Tiburon
Publisher: EA Sports
Review Platform: PlayStation 3
Review Copy Provided By: EA Sports
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is the latest installment to the popular Tiger Woods golfing simulation franchise. The game doesn’t do what most new installments of yearly sports games do (barely improving just enough factors to warrant fans shelling out 60 more dollars for essentially the same thing). No, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 completely flips the franchise on its head by offering a plethora of new modes and features. In fact, there are so many new things to do and experience in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 that there is a specific option in the menu solely dedicated to explaining, in detail, all of the changes to previous fans of the series.
Changes, such as the tournaments you’re able to play through. This game is the first golfing simulation ever, or so the game tells me, that gamers are able to experience and play through all four major golf championships: The Masters, the US Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship.
Or, perhaps changes to the roster is more your cup of tea. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 offers a new play mode entitled ‘Leagues of the Majors’. In this mode, you’re given the chance to play against golf legends including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Gary Player, Sam Snead, Lee Trevino and Tiger Woods. The game play in this mode is broken up into several different eras, and gamers “travel throughout time” to face off in sweet, glorious golf wars against each legend. What’s coolest about this mode is that the equipment and courses are the same as they were in whatever era you happen to be in.
So when I first popped the game into my ol’ PS3, I’ll be honest; I was a bit intimidated. I read about all the new features, and took a few steps back. I mean, my golfing game experience is extremely limited. Prior to 14, the only golf game I had ever played was Mario Golf for the Nintendo 64. With all the new, complicated sounding features, Mario Golf seemed like an NES game in comparison.
Eventually, I said “eff it”. How hard could it be after all, really? My fears, thankfully, were quickly alleviated. Nearly immediately after the title screen loaded up, the game asked me to go through what ended up being the most thorough and complete tutorial I have ever experienced in my entire life as a gamer. It taught me how to complete all the different kinds of shots, and how they differed from other shots. It taught me about the different styles of golf play (something I didn’t even know existed), and how, for example, a power golfer is different from a control golfer.
Normally, long and thorough tutorials can be a bit taxing, I know. I come from a solid RPG gaming background. However, I found the tutorial in 14 to be kind of refreshing. Golf has a surprisingly high number of different factors that play into whether or not you’re successful in getting your tiny, dimpled ball to its target, and the tutorial showed me everything I needed to know to actually play the game.
After completing the tutorial, the game asked me to create my own golfer, which also surprised me. I was not expecting the chance at customization, and as I come from an RPG background, I was happy to find out I could make my own golfer.
Unfortunately, the customization options we’re embarrassingly slim, almost to the point where it seemed as if golfer customization was added as an afterthought. Granted this may not be a problem to most fans of the franchise, who are probably a lot more focused on the actual gameplay than I. Still, it would have been cool to see more than 10 hairstyles.
I soon got over the slim pickings in the customization department, and fresh out of the tutorial mode, I decided it was time to try my hand at an actual game of golf. At which point, I was very surprised again. At risk of sounding ignorant here, I always thought that a game of golf consisted of playing through 18 holes while hitting the ball as few times as possible. Man, was I wrong. Apparently, there are multiple sub- games of golf (such as the hilariously named ‘Bingo, Bango, Bongo’ and the manly sounding ‘Battle Golf’, where if you win you get to steal an opponent’s club of your choosing) that make things 100 times more interesting.
I’m not even kidding in the slightest. One second I was just kind of meh, expecting to play through a few holes and then get bored. Next second, it was three in the morning and I had no idea where the time went. I found myself driven to play through all the different little sub-genres of golf games to experience them all. I see now why golf is such a beloved sport. It is stupidly fun, and I am not even sure why.
That being said though, I found that strangely enough, my favorite part of the game wasn’t the gameplay. Sure, it was awesome. The controls were intuitive and tight, and I had a blast.
My favorite part of the game was the nostalgia factor it evoked. I know that may seem a bit strange, considering I have never watched a game of golf in my life, and apart from Tiger Woods, haven’t ever heard of any of the legends included in the game, but still. There was just something cool about playing on old timey courses, with old timey equipment; it adds so much more to the experience. It made me feel like I literally went back in time to face off against the legends of the time. If I felt the nostalgic feelings that the game is meant to evoke so strongly, I can’t imagine how this game will be to people who actually follow golf. They’ll probably cry tears of joy and immediately paint all their golf clubs bronze.
The Masters Historic Edition Difference
In the Masters Historic Edition (the edition of the game I reviewed), you’re able to play the 1934 version of the Augusta National Golf Club, which went on to become the Masters Tournament. Additionally, you get to play on four courses that are not included in the standard edition of 14. The cover art is also different, and features the likenesses of Bobby Jones and Bubba Watson.
The differences between the Masters Historic Edition and the normal edition are again, extremely nostalgic and very cool. Being able to play the 1934 version of the August National Golf Club is an awesome feature when combined with the extra courses, and I personally believe it worth the extra ten monies.
Overall, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is a surprisingly fun and thorough sport sim that will hook you in with it’s deceivingly fun gameplay, and keep you playing with it’s feel good nostalgia factor. It’s a given that you should play this game if you’re a fan of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series. However, if you have never played any of the previous titles in the franchise, 14 is the perfect point to swing in (see what I did there) and become a fan.