Review by Mike Truitt

"Near perfect game from a relatively unknown game"

Playstation 2 - Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004

This years version of Tiger Woods' game has been updated with all new gameplay features and different modes of play. There is everything from an incredibly long career mode in which you must boost your created golfers stats up from a lowly amateur to be able to beat the greatest golfer in the world to the most in-depth online golf game in video game history. EA Sports laid everything down on the line to get this game just right, and in that gamble they won in every way.

In all honesty there is very little that can depreciate from the experience of the game. The nature of the game allows for the game to be extremely easy for those players who play with the better golfers - this is especially true in the career mode when a good player will be able to outscore the second place golfer by 30 strokes for a good tournament. However, if you are looking for a challenge in this game you can take off the hints in the game and you will realize just how ''good'' you really are.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 (TW2004) is a continuation of the Tiger Woods series that is creating a fan base that is getting larger and larger with every passing year. This year is certainly no exception, with what seems like the epitome of what a golf video game should - it leaves many waiting for next years to come out.

Truly experiencing this game for the first time, I was a little bit apprehensive about just how fun TW2004 would be. I enjoyed Hot Shots Gold and all, but would it be able to compare to the hype? Playing the first round of golf answered my questions with an astounding yes. And unlike the time I accidentally glued my self to my desk - I wouldn't let go of the controller voluntarily. I was addicted the moment I hit my first really great shot. [For those who have never played it before, whenever you have a great shot the screen will go widescreen you will hear your heart beat, and the controller will vibrate to the golfers heart... it is amazing] and I still can not let this game go - through the tournaments, match play, real time events, and everything else... TW2004 has been a joyride all of the way.

Wow! There are no other words to describe the reaction I had playing this game. Flawless graphics that go into minute details that are not even noticeable for the large majority of the game, but when you see that little detail that you missed --- that bigfoot walking in the woods behind the green, the birds flying far above your head while hitting your shots, the pants flapping in the breeze (and actually flapping harder depending on the speed of the wind). Absolutely amazing - the game looks much like some FMVs that are in games from just a few years ago. Above all of those things, even above the grass blowing in the wind a hundred yards away, above everything is the course designs.... the real courses are dead on matches to their real life counterparts, even to the slopes of the greens and the layout of the course (which unlike most golf games, you can see other holes and use their fairways at all times) everything is done to perfection. Wow!

I must admit, at first I was apprehensive about using the joysticks to hit the ball instead of the classic three-click method that has been a staple in video games over the years. In fact, I hated the idea of it... that is until I actually tried it. At first I was having some real difficulties with getting the backswing and forward swing to be right and to hit it strait, but after a round or two the controls were pretty familiar in my head. This option leaves nothing to be added - a slight hook, huge slice, strait shot.... you name the type of shot you need, and it can be done with a fair amount of ease.
The biggest aspect that got me hooked on TW2004's control scheme is the spin control and the power boosting. Those familiar with the method would have it no other way, but for those new to it will have a bit of difficulty at first. You can add extra power to your shot or spin to your shot by rapidly tapping a button, and the best part is, they are changeable during gameplay so that if you make a mistake, you are able to correct it accordingly before the shot is over.

On a side note, it is hilarious to hear the different techniques that people use to allow them to hit the ball strait every time and get the power button tapped as much as possible so that they can bomb their drive 370 yards. Which method will you find works best?

While not the best aspect of the game, the sounds are certainly one of the better ones. The soundtrack contains enough songs that you will get familiar with them, but not so few that you get sick of them... however, the same can not be said for the smug commentary provided to you. The comments of the announcers will make you want to go through your television set and just beat the crap out of them every time you make a bad shot or take too long getting ready. But you can not turn them off because of all the great comments they will make about you when you are destroying every body else in the tournaments.

This... this is where TW2004 will get you hooked. All I really need to say here is ''Speed Golf'', a mode in which you pit yourself against another golfer to see who can complete a hole in the shortest amount of time while getting bonuses for various tasks. Not only will this be the most fun multiplayer game you have played, but likely the one you will remember for the longest time to come. Other multi-player options are your typical ones to expect in a golf game, some with a slight twist - but just remember Speed Golf.

One great thing about TW2004 is the online capabilities, for the most part you will be able to play against people both your skill and better from anywhere in the world (potentially), which then leads to an incredibly high replay value. However, you will come across those people who like to cheat either by turbo controllers or by Gameshark type devices to give them god-like statistics. However, these people are few and far between and the overall condition of online playing is one of good nature, good competition, and just all around enjoyment.

There are so many extras it is just ridiculous. Real Time Events being the most outstanding one in my opinion. According to your Playstation's clock, it will read the date, and if you are playing on a specific date, you will unlock hidden challenges that will award you prizes and money based on your performance.

The create-a-golfer addition is a great one, you can modify the character to fit your likeness to an almost spooky exactness, and with the literally hundreds of different clothes, accessories, and other things, you can fully customize your golfer to be... well you. You can then take your golfer to the PGA Tour and go after the pros to increase your stats.

The trophy balls and Chasing Tiger balls (read that as ''chasing Tiger'' balls - not chasing ''Tiger balls'') will have you going after goals in the game for a long time to come. The extras in TW2004 are just the icing on the preverbal cake.

Anyone who is remotely interesting the entertaining the notion of maybe getting this game, should buy it as soon as they leave their house. With the extras, addicting gameplay, and options - anyone will be playing TW2004 for a long time, and enjoying every minute of it. TW2004 is as near perfect of a video game as any golfing video game is likely to get.... I am waiting for 2005


Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 02/08/04

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