Publisher: Electronic Arts
Systems: Xbox 360, PS3
Convincing gamers to buy the next version of a sports video game franchise is never easy. But the latest version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour, which includes several new features and a refined swing system, is a worthy buy for loyalists and new entrants alike.
One of the biggest additions to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is the Legends of the Majors mode, which pays homage to golf's storied history by giving players the opportunity to relive some of the game's greatest moments. Gamers can trace golf's evolution over more than 140 years, from the first British Open to the Tiger Slam in 2001. A solid mix of short and long challenges, the mode is a welcome extension of the Legacy Challenge introduced in Tiger Woods 13.
Tiger Woods 14 also features all four Majors for the first time in franchise history. Players have been able to walk the digital fairway at Augusta since Tiger Woods 12, but the inclusion of the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship is long overdue.
The swing system has also been further refined to great success. First-time gamers will still be able to pick up the game relatively quickly, but, much like real life golf, the game is easy to play, hard to master. Gone is the random hit-miss system featured in previous versions, replaced by a real-time tempo system determined by the way in which you move the joystick. On the green, the caddy system that made putting an easier endeavor is gone. Combined, the gameplay improvements make Tiger Woods 14 enjoyable, but altogether more challenging than previous incarnations.
Online, Tiger Woods 14 offers gamers the chance to play alongside 23 other players during connected tournaments. Daunting as that figure may seem, the addition of real-time player shot arcs ensures no waiting and a hyper-competitive atmosphere on the links.
Other additions to Tiger Woods 14 are purely cosmetic but no less enjoyable. Gamers can now play courses at any time of day, including night, a quirky addition that should have been included in the franchise long ago. The Legends of the Majors mode attempts to turn back the clock with sepia-hued screens and old-timey details, including ankle-high wader pants and vintage clubs.
Weaknesses in the game include the speed of play (an issue with golf games overall), historical inconsistencies (license issues force them to use modern-day players in certain portions of the Legends mode) and the commentary. Score: 8 out of 10