Tiger Woods PGA Golf has been the gold standard in virtual golf for many years. Featuring the sport’s most recognizable player and a fine balance on simulation mixed with some arcade flourishes, the series has amassed a loyal following. In the iOS space, Tiger Woods PGA Golf faces some stiff competition courtesy of the excellent Real Golf series from Gameloft. It’s fitting, considering that Tiger Woods has been challenged more than ever coming off of his personal issues. Read on to find out if Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 will be wearing the proverbial green jacket at the end of the day.
EA Sports is known for packing its golf games with so many features that they spill over the brim. This game is no exception. There’s a full blown PGA Tour mode where you get to gradually take a created player through the journey of competing with the best pros in the world. Working through a calendar system to replicate the grind of the PGA tour, you develop and grow your scrub golfer into someone who can compete with the very best.
Don’t get sand in your loafers.
If you’re not as interested in investing time in that deep mode, there’s the Tiger Challenge mode that’ll put you in situations where you have to accomplish goals to earn purse money. Most times your objective will be to finish “x” number under par, and the holes you take on are cherry picked. Banging through challenges takes around 5 minutes on average, as opposed to the longer commitment of getting through 18-hole courses in PGA Tour mode. Quick play rounds out the single player action as it’s a pick-up-and-play mode allowing you to jump into any of the 8 courses.
Digging into the mechanics of the game, we discovered mostly great stuff, with some small annoyances along the way. Anyone familiar with the console versions of Tiger Woods will feel at home with all the usual options. Prior to your shot, you can assess your ball placement and distance, as well as pick your various swings and irons. It’s great they managed to squeeze in environmental considerations like how deep the ball is nestled in the rough and whether you’re targeting uphill or downhill terrain.
Taking the shot is executed by dragging your finger down to dictate power and flicking up for accuracy. Depending on obstacles and hazards in the course, you’ll want to draw or fade the shot to give the ball some curve. Putting uses the classic grid system, and you have caddy tips giving you a sense of how you need to target the hole. Our only annoyance with the mechanics are the very small fonts for all the information, especially compared to Gameloft’s Real Golf 2011. There’s a lot of information being presented, but they could have easily doubled the font size to make it easier to read.
Make a splash.
The course selection in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 is solid, but with one major omission. There are several fun and challenging courses to tame, like Pebble Beach and Doral, but where the heck is Augusta? The console versions of Tiger Woods feature the Masters tournament for the first time ever, and it begs the question of why the iOS versions of the game didn’t get the same love. We always review games on their own merits rather than what we wish they had, but be careful from all the TV advertising, as there is not a sniff of Augusta here.
Moving on, Tiger Woods PGA 12 has great presentation and extras. The game runs fluidly, and the environments are lively, with birds flying around, water rippling, and all the usual sounds of golf accounted for. There are some minor draw-in issues with the graphics on course pans, but the engine powering this game is putting in serious work. We slightly prefer the crisper and more contrasted look of Real Golf 2011, but this game isn’t a slouch in the visual department.
Multiplayer action in the game is handled via local Wi-Fi and an asynchronous Facebook game, where you and your buddies can compete to place one-off shots closest to the pin. No online tournaments are here; we can hope those find a way in next year.
Par for the course with EA, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 does a great job of bringing the famous franchise to iOS very faithfully. The game packs hours of entertainment that should please any level of golf fan, or sports gamers in general. We can’t lie: The lack of The Masters makes us feel like we are getting a gimped version of the game, but we can’t ignore what’s actually here. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 delivers where it matters, and we’re eager to see where the franchise goes from here.