Tiger Woods may have recently lifted the twelfth majors title of his career, but does he really give a shit when his annual golf game continues to rake in more money than most Middle Eastern oil fields? Nobody's denying that it's the best golf game ever made, but seriously, can you think of any recent groundbreaking advances in golf that justify shelling out 30 quid every year?
So what do you get in PGA Tour 07? Some new trousers for Tiger? A jauntily angled hat? A space-age tee? A golf course on the moon? Actually, it does feature the first two, but more significant is the addition of some new golfers and some new courses, both real and fictional. How much this affects your buying decision probably depends on how much you care about golf. To the man in the street it's just some more swathes of greenery to hit the ball around.
Luckily, Tiger Woods still manages this aspect of the sport particularly well. Having perfected the analoguestick swing method several games ago, there's no reason to change it, and give or take a couple of minor tweaks this is still the time-honoured method that has served the series so well. Select your club, aim your shot, then smoothly pull the stick back and push it forward. Get it right and it's the equivalent of hitting the sweet spot in real golf. Go slightly off-kilter with your swing and you balls the shot up in spectacular fashion, causing you to emit a torrent of foul and abusive language, again, exactly like real golf.
The genius of Tiger Woods is that it's as much of a mind game as the sport that it so accurately simulates. More than ever you're forced you to play the courses with the
same strategy you would approach their real-life counterparts. Do you try and lift it over the lake and onto the green for a risky Eagle? Or do you play it safe by working your way round the dogleg and going for Par?
As for the putting, there's the usual method of viewing the green as an elaborate grid of colour-coded gradient indicators. Alternatively, you can switch this off and simply have your caddy tell you where to hit the ball instead, a supposedly new feature, despite the exact same method appearing on mobile phone versions of Tiger Woods years ago. Other new stuff includes some target-based mini-games and a Team Tour mode that lets you mix and match a selection of golfers to enter in competitions against other teams.
Ultimately, though, Tiger Woods '07 is very much a case of new year, same Tiger, boasting the least significant set of updates we've seen in the series for some time. That said, it still rightfully deserves to dominate the genre, being immensely satisfying when it goes right, and deeply frustrating when it goes wrong. You probably already know if you want this, but if you've never tried it and fancy a relaxing change from the world of guns, gangsters, cars and war, there are plenty of hours of fun here.
Absolutely no surprises whatsoever. Still as good as PS2 golf gets, but very little new this year.
- Well-established gameplay
- 21 lifelike licensed golfers
- New courses, real and fictional
- We've seen it all before