Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 Got Right
+ Life-like gameplay
+ Fully fleshed out game modes
+ Robust online features
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 Got Wrong
– Inaccessible to casual players
– Horrible visuals
– Voice commentary is subpar
– Crippling load times
I’m not a golfer by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the only time I’ve picked up a club is on a mini-golf course. And after hitting the green with this year’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour, I’ve decided to leave this long-running, prestigious gentleman’s sport to those with a higher degree of patience.
Straight out the gate, I’m willing to say Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is a game that’s been custom built for the golf/golf simulator enthusiast in mind. Outside of swinging your virtual club freely around and getting frustrated when you repeatedly catch your ball into a sand-trap, there’s very little for casual players to enjoy here.
In actuality, casual players should stay with far more accessible golf games such as Everybody’s Golf, the Mario Golf games and Wii Sports.
The addition of an all women tournament, the LPGA, for the first time ever … finally giving a nod to the ladies of the sport is a big push for breaking down the gender walls that exist in most sports.
To its credit however, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 does an admirable job of introducing new players to the fairly complex, and admittedly robust and dynamic, gameplay built-in into the title. Don’t know the difference between what makes a power and a control swinger? Scratching your head as to what a fade and a shade is? The opening tutorial does well to cover all this, and more, to ease you in.
Only, at least in theory. You’re able to stumble your way through the tutorial skill tests with nothing but dumb luck, which ultimately voids any and all relevance the tutorial had – especially since the game continues to hold your hand in the opening holes of the career mode. Though if you persist, the more you do play the more you’ll eventually pick up. Even if you will be snagging a few sand-traps for the first couple of hours every few holes.
For the more “core” golfing fans, or fans of the PGA Tour series in general, I’m confident you’ll find the gameplay experience and game modes exactly the same as last year’s entry, with one lumbering obvious exception. New to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is the “Legends of the Major” mode, which allows you to retrace history and play in some of the most iconic tournaments and against the biggest names in golf — even if EA has taken certain liberties that might upset purists.
Outside of this, there’s the addition of an all women tournament, the LPGA, for the first time ever. While not a big deal to many, it’s worth pointing out that the PGA Tour series is one of the biggest golf games on the market, so this franchise finally giving a nod to the ladies of the sport is a big push for breaking down the gender walls that exist in most sports. And of course there’s also the new pro golfers you can choose to play as, not to mention new courses and a somewhat head-scratching night/day toggle feature.
One other major addition found in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is the improved connectivity, something that’s pushed more than ever thanks to EA’s recent mantra; “play with your friends”. As like before, you can join country clubs — each now capable of hosting a hundred members — and compete against other members of your club, or challenge other clubs in custom tournaments. Joining a club is easy and is just a matter of finding one that best suits your personal involvement with the game.
If you’re just after a quick game online with someone, the matchmaking is for the most part quick and painless. After dredging through the sometimes confusing menus, I was playing against another player while enjoying absolutely new lag whatsoever — aside from the game’s general slow loading issues. During online matches you play in tandem, with a sixty second timer counting down to see you line up and take your shot in a timely manner, and if you pop the ball in the hole before your opponent(s) you can kick back and watch the game.
When it comes to graphics, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is a very ugly looking game. While a golf game doesn’t really need to enjoy high-end visuals to make it look aesthetically stunning, it would had been nice if at least some effort was made.
Most of the golf courses in-game are modelled after real-world ones. I’m sure if the development team would had put in a little extra effort they’d had really sold the “real-world” look this series tries hard to capture, and we wouldn’t instead need to endure the mostly flat, same-same environments with a few low-res textures environments found in the game.
The Final Verdict
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is a game that’s purely aimed at golfers and golf-game fans alike. Casual players can still find a measure of enjoyment, however, given you ignore the game’s rather mundane tutorial and instead focus on teaching yourself the ins and outs of the core gameplay mechanics. For any fans considering whether Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is worth the upgrade, new additions like the “Legends of the Majors” mode, as well as being able to participate in all four major championships and some great new online features makes this new game a worthy addition to any fans collection.