Golf is a great game, out on the fairway and in your living room, but you may well wonder how next-gen power can really add much to the format. After all, it's unusual to encounter thousands of homicidal enemies on the green, or ultrarealistic supercars performing doughnuts in the bunkers. It's about men in bad trousers gently walking around a park.
It's true that Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 is not the game you'll want to buy if you want to really show off the power of your Xbox 360. But it does play a mean round of golf and the high resolution of the graphics means you can identify every ridge, rut and run-off on the course and plan your shots accordingly. And you'll need to - improved physics modeling means the ball reacts to slopes more than ever. This adds an extra dimension to your shot planning and ups the difficulty level.
The six courses are impeccably recreated, and little ambient touches like waves crashing on the shores of Pebble Beach or birds twittering at Riviera make Tiger 06 the most pleasurable round of golf we've had in ages.
The players, too, look fantastic. Tiger and his nine fellow pros are almost indistinguishable from their real-life counterparts. Plus, you can create any player you'd like in the Game Face mode.
But the green jacket has to go to Tiger 06's lighting effects. Everything is lit in real-time now, so you can constantly see shadows shifting across the course. It doesn't just look good, it helps create that all-important sense of 'being there' as you squint in the sunlight to check your line.
What else is new? Unfortunately, not much. The analogue stick swing system and new putting system that forces you to read the green have both been honed to near perfection, but they're the same as in the current-gen versions. And like the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live, Tiger's had a number of features and options stripped back for its Xbox 360 debut. There is a solid Career mode but the Rivals mode has been dropped, and the number of bonuses has been cut back.
Thankfully, you can play Xbox Live with up to four players, so that should keep you busy. It may not be the next-gen golfing revolution we were hoping for, but it's still a hugely enjoyable round that captures the ambience of the sport better than any other current-gen game. Just don't expect it to knock your plus-fours off.
More evolution that next-gen revolution