Hitting a little ball with a stick.
I have my own Golf clubs, quite a nice set if I do say so myself. I live only a matter of minutes from two halfway decent Golf courses. So, given that the Wii version of Tiger Woods 11 is incredibly realistic in it’s gameplay, why on earth would I want to play it, rather than a real game?
Well, aside from the fact that the British weather is as rubbish as I am at Golf, because it really is that good. Seriously.
I have actually been playing Golfing video games for longer than I have the real game, only having taken it up about five or six years ago. It took me a fair while to make the transition from the standard three button presses to the newer, and more difficult, swinging of the analogue stick (or back and forward pushing of the mouse for PC golfing – not ideal for messy desks) as found in the more recent Tiger Woods games. Like making the transition from mouse and keyboard to controller for first-person shooters, I eventually got used to it. I am happy with that and really didn’t want to mix it up with another control method.
Then I was given Tiger Woods 11 on Wii to review. I had played some Golf on the Wii already and prepared myself for a dumbed down experience suitable only for after a few drinks at the pub, or entertaining the kids. Let’s just say that I was a bit surprised.
Graphically I was not at all impressed. The game looked nowhere near as good as the other offerings on PS3 and Xbox360. But I was not really expecting much on this front. This is the Wii after all and we all know that it will never achieve the graphical capabilities of the more serious consoles.
The game has quite a wealth of options and modes for the Golfing inclined. As expected in a Wii game, there is a collection of party modes, including a rather good mini golf game. They offer a fun distraction and will give you something to laugh about after a few drinks.
Frisbee Golf also makes an appearance. Being quite handy with a frisbee, this is something that I would love for my local Golf courses to consider allowing. So I was quite pleased to see this option here and I was even more pleased after playing it. This mode is even available to play online, through the EA severs, which don’t require any faffing about with friend codes. But the main reason why this mode is so much fun is the same reason that the rest of the game is so impressive. The gameplay itself.
As I said, I was not really expecting a lot from this experience. Maybe a throw away party game which would have me swinging the WiiMote like a muppet and hoping that luck would guide my ball somewhere near the hole. But what I found instead was that using the MotionPlus accessory allowed for a level of realism that I had yet to encounter in a Golf game.
At first I was not sure how to take this. Why would I want to put all of my effort into a realistic game of Golf on the Wii, when I could be outside playing the real game. Then I realised that it was far too sunny to be wandering around an 18 hole course and that I would probably end up with sunstroke (unusual for this country)
The MotionPlus peripheral, although not necessary, takes the game to a whole other level. It manages to track every twist and turn of the WiiMote during your swing. This took some getting used to as I am far better at video game Golf than the real thing. But as you play, you can really feel that you are learning how to improve your real life game. Any faults that you have in your swing will be evident here and adjustments can be made to fix those faults. Does this make the game a learning tool? Maybe.
New for Tiger Woods 11, across all of the formats, is the “True View” mode. This allows the game to be played from a first-person, true to life, perspective. There are no more flying cameras tracking your balls progress. Once you hit the ball, you get to watch it fly off into the distance and all you can do is hope. I could not get on with this mode on the Xbox360 version of the game, which I will also be reviewing, but on the Wii, this mode just adds to the immersion that the player already gets from the unique control method. Admittedly, True View will make the game more difficult and possibly more frustrating, but only as frustrating as playing the real game.
Tiger Woods 11 on the Wii has been a revelation. Golfers everywhere should rush out and buy this game, and even a Wii if they don’t own one or can’t wrestle it away from the kids. In fact, anyone with a passing interest in Golf should at least give this a try. At its best, Tiger Woods 11 is the most realistic Golf simulator to date. At its worst, it is a damn fine Golf game.