Tiger Woods 13
Last year's Masters release was widely seen as a little bit of a let-down and although the Tiger Woods games are generally successful, this year's release really needs to step up if it is to redeem itself somewhat.
There is no doubt that Tiger Woods 13 is the best golf game available today. There have been a number of key enhancements that have put the series back on track and really helped to over-haul some of the frustrating elements of the game. There is still room for improvement but this year sees a return to what we expect from Tiger Woods.
One of the more noticeable additions this year is a change to the swing mechanic. In previous versions it was hard to identify what part of your swing action was causing trouble. This year a new stroke meter is displayed around your golfer, displaying an arc to show how far of centre your actions are. It also helps to better gauge the strength of shots for those cases where you are in between clubs.
After you strike the ball your thumb motion is depicted by a line on screen. The straighter the line, the better the swing. Overall this new addition is very welcome. It helps to identify flaws in your swing and you can then take corrective action on the next shot.
There are 16 courses available and the Masters is now part of the overall game, incorporating the release from last year. The game modes are pretty much the same as before with the exception of the Legacy mode.
Legacy mode allows you to play as Tiger as he grows up and step through the pivotal moments of his career from the time he was a young boy. This ranges from chipping balls into the family pool in the back yard to winning majors on the PGA circuit. It's a nice idea but it falls a little flat as it isn't explored in enough detail.
TW13 again supports PS Move and for the first time the 360 Kinect controller can be used. I spend some time playing with both of these and had very good experiences with both.
The Move controller does produce a much more accurate representation of what I want to do but it is just too sensitive making the shots much harder to make. The Kinect controller is more forgiving and easier to use and makes the golfing experience much more fun.
The Move controller is much improved from last year but you still need a lot of space in front of the TV to get the best out of it. Being able to stand parallel to the screen is welcome as you are able to see the screen while swinging. This is a change from last year.
The Kinect has the benefit of being more flexible and providing more inputs into the game. Voice commands are recognised and this is cool as you can ask your caddy for advice or simply ask for your club. Hand movements are also well done as you can perform simple tasks with pre-defined movements like shot previews or the simple swing mechanic.
Both controllers do struggle on the green where your movements are more subtle and maybe the PS Move controller wins here due to it being more precise.
Most players will probably still stick with the traditional controller but there is no getting away from the fact that Kinect and Move enabled games are becoming the norm and are getting better and better.
There is now an online Country Club feature that allows players to join a club online and take part in competitions within that club. It's a lot like the local leagues seen in FIFA. It includes daily competitions and invite only tournaments that all help to boost the online element of the game.
There is a lot of unlockable content in the game and although it can be done via in-game coins, the game does push you towards paying for it with either MS Points or PSN credit. Extra courses are available to download but thankfully all the best ones come as part of the game.
Tiger Woods 13 is a much better game than any of the previous releases. The introduction of the motion controllers and the new swing mechanics are a big improvement. Fans may argue that the differences aren't huge over previous games but these subtle changes do make the game a lot more enjoyable.