Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 (PSP) Review
Monday, August 10, 2009 10:43 AM
PGA Tour 10 is not only the best in the series, it's the PSP's best golfing simulator.
Having had no experience playing golf and very little desire to change that, you can imagine my excitement when I was told I would be reviewing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 for the PSP. This sentiment was only compounded by the fact that its predecessor, PGA Tour '09 wasn't particularly great.
Having said that, being the eternal optimist that I am, I really hoped that EA listened to criticism of the previous incarnation and brought us an accessible, playable and lasting game in PGA Tour '10.
For the most part, I'm glad to say that they have.
The game's presentation is slick, no less than what you'd expect from an EA sports title endorsed by a pro, though the menu systems can be pretty cumbersome. The options when you start up the game are: Quick Play, PGA Tour Career, Tournament Challenge, Mini games, Multiplayer, My Profile, EA Sports Extras.
You are invited to create your own golfer with which to play your way to the top spot, with the character customization options being pretty extensive, from jaw shape right through to styling.
The graphics in PGA Tour 10 on the PSP are hit and miss. While the golfers themselves are well rendered and do the job, extra features on the courses such as trees and spectators are disjointed and heavily pixelated upon closer inspection.
In addition, when engaged in a long distance putt, the hole has a habit of disappearing. While the PSP port cannot be expected to contend with the consoles in terms of graphics, it goes without saying that disappearing holes can really hamper game-play.
All the menus are assisted by bespoke ambient tracks that you can play in the provided media centre, complete with media player style visualisations. These play through when you return to the main menu, which is a nice touch as customization can be a pretty lengthy process.
Scott Van Pelt and Kelly Tilghman provide the in-game commentary, which is accurate 9 times out of 10 and for the most part helps rather than hinders the overall gaming experience. Having said that, the number of sound clips are limited and the repetition does begin to grate some way into the game. After about 20 minutes of play, you will have likely heard every commentary clip on the UMD and after about 5 hours, may be inclined to play on mute.
Not being a golf enthusiast, the accessibility of the gameplay was the make or break feature for me. Fortunately, upon starting up the quick play mode, EA took me through a short, sharp tutorial that taught me everything I needed to start golfing. There are also in-game suggestions throughout with regards to swing power, club selection and alignment. I found this feature to be hit and miss, since more often than not, my better judgment prevailed.
There are two types of in-game control, with the harder option being the manipulation of the analogue stick to define swing power and direction, and the easier option being the coordination of X and O button presses. The tutorial teaches you the harder of the two (using the analogue stick) which is great. It's like driving on manual instead of an automatic, where you'd better stick with the easier option to begin with, but swap over to the analogue stick's subtle nuances as you get deeper into the game.
EA has provided a range of challenges in PGA Tour 10, adding longevity to this instalment of the series. In addition to the PGA Tour Career mode found in'09, Tournament Challenge enables the player to re-enact marvels of golfing history in their very hands, with a selection of courses ranging from Bethpage to Firestone. This makes what could have been a potentially short lived easy game a challenge that will keep you playing for hours.
In addition, the mini games enable you to refine your technique with the 'shooting gallery' and 'putting frenzy', and a range of mental games such as shoe cleaning, fan spotting and autograph signing that are incorporated into gameplay. You can choose to ignore these mini-games, though they do mix things up and also contribute to player confidence and thus skill attributes.
Confidence is a big feature in PGA Tour 10, earnable by successfully keeping shots in the green and earning as low a score below par as possible. EA has also incorporated an EA Online mode, enabling online multiplayer. This worked smoothly and quickly once set up, but the process suffered from a clunky interface.
To conclude, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 on the PSP is a fun, long lasting and very accessible golfing simulator. EA has built upon PGA Tour '09 and fixed a lot of its issues, adding the tournament challenge mode and refining the in-game physics.
While the game is far from perfect, suffering from graphical issues in the form of disappearing holes and repetitive commentary, its offerings of extensive single-player modes and an online option make it the best in the series, and possibly the best golf simulator on the PSP.