Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002 Review
developer: Head Gate Studios
PII-300, 32MB RAM, 500MB HDD, 16MB video card
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Feb 26, 02
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Branislav "Bane" Babovic
Golf simulations always used to be charming and catchy games. In the last couple of years, golf sims have had to keep up with the current hardware standards, which means that you will need to have a pretty powerful machine to play Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002, but once you relax and start enjoying this game you will be glad you spent that extra money on your next-gen video accelerator.
The main culprits for the game's fantastic design are the guys at Headgate Studios, well-known for their PGA Championship which was published by Sierra Studios. They also worked on the last year's edition of PGA Tour, but they didn't do too well because of the limited license. Still, Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world, and I guess that he deserves to have the best golf simulation named after him. I think that this edition took PGA one step closer to other EA Sports titles like NHL or FIFA, as it features a simple and intuitive interface and detailed design together with the complex and specific options meant only for hard-core golf fans.
The gameplay enjoyment is guaranteed by the TrueSwing technology (which makes your club follow the moves you make with your mouse). You can also choose to perform your strikes with double or triple clicking. The latest version of TrueSwing is really incredibly precise, and you will see the golfer on screen following your every move; and if you have a good optical mouse, you will really enjoy playing this game. The only problem that might occur is that the mouse may act a bit too sensitive if you have set its speed to maximum in Windows, but this only happens with some mice and is caused by driver incompatibilities. This problem can be solved by some practice.
Ah, celebrities and golf! Wouldn't you just love to start a Saturday morning in your golf-club, drinking a glass of fresh orange-juice and then play a friendly game against Tiger Woods? Apart from him, you will also be able to test your skills against Justin Leonard, Brad Faxon, Notah Begay, Vijay Singh, Jesper Parnevik, Colin Montgomerie, Lee Janzen, Mark Calcavecchia, Stewart Cink and a number of other players. You can create your own player who can develop as you progress through the game. The outlooks of your golfer are fully customizable, including the sex and clothes. The golfers all have a lot of polygons and are generally well animated apart from their faces.
The greens in the game include the six best known courses: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Poppy Hills, Spyglass Hill, TPC Sawgrass, Princeville and Royal Birkdale in England. If you think that this is insufficient and that you will soon tire of the game, you are wrong. The game ships with the excellent Architect Editor for easy terrain design and the Course Utilities for importing the terrains from PGA Tour 2001 and PGA Championship. Bearing in mind the fact that there are a lot of golf fans, we can only expect to see a huge number of user designed courses on the net pretty soon. All of the original courses are designed to resemble their models in every aspect, and the textures have been grabbed from real life footage which makes this simulation as realistic as it gets. You can set all weather options to your heart's content.
The game has several modes of play: Practice, Stroke, Tournament, The Skins, Shoot-out, Match Play, Foursomes, Fourball and PGA TOUR Season mode. You can also play for virtual money in best-ball, scramble or team games. This covers all standard and several less standard modes of golf play. All games are being commented by David Feherty and Bill Macatee, who can also give you useful advice at the end of the game. Besides this, the game also includes a virtual caddy who automatically suggests the appropriate club.
The 3D engine is detailed and well designed. It presents rich and realistic environments, and is especially good at rendering water surfaces. The camera is highly flexible, and it can be rotated any way you like which is both interesting and useful.
Besides several technical glitches that might ruin the overall experience, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002 is one of the best golf simulations that appeared in quite some time. The TrueSwing technology has been definitely perfected, making this a REAL Golf simulation. Getting used to the controls is easy, and can be made even easier by tweaking all the options to your satisfaction.
8.8 Very Good
Great golf sim, famous golfers and their stats, 3D engine;
Facial animation, bugs.
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