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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14: Masters Historic Edition Review


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On 07/02/2013 at 12:30 PM by Travis Hawks

Brought to you by your seventy dollars, a series of in-game transactions, and your agreement to watch the occasional sponsored advertisement between rounds of golf. Now, please… LOADING…LOADING…LOADING…enjoy this year’s edition of Tiger Woods PGA Tour!
RECOMMENDATION:

If you’re interested in golf games, buy this one… in a couple of years.

Yeah, I’ve golfed. Once. Does that make me qualified to critique a modern realistic golf game? You betcha! My sole golf outing was in high school with several people who knew their way around the fairways. What started off fun and with a lot of potential quickly turned to a disaster as the hours wore on. Balls were lost, tempers flared, and the idiot driving the golf cart I was in crashed into a brick pillar throwing me forward, stopping only when my shins slammed into the sharp dashboard of the cart. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14: Masters Historic Edition has lots of similarities to that fateful golf outing, and I’m hoping to keep someone else from getting plowed into a brick column.

Things start off looking poorly when you boot up this seventy dollar(!) game and the resolution is immediately downgraded to 720p. It must be pretty tough for developers to get the resolution up to expected standards by the time they’ve released the eighth entry on the PlayStation 3. As someone who rarely plays sports games, this visual downgrade made me wonder if there was truth to the oft-heard criticisms that annualized sports games are just churned out to make a few bucks from habitual buyers. It was the first indicator of many that this is clearly what’s going on, which is unfortunate. The tried and true basic mechanics of the actual golfing are marred by irritating technical issues and cash grabs every step through the menus and almost every time you head out on the course.

Let me reiterate that the actual golfing is quite enjoyable and I wanted to play more rounds and more holes even though there were continuous irritants. The tutorials do a good job of teaching you how to perform the different shots and what the various indicators mean (with a few exceptions, like why your controller rumbles during a swing). After a few short lessons and a little practice, I was able to turn in some adequate score cards. Each of the rounds I played was genuinely fun – at least the golf parts were. Again, it’s the rest of the garbage keeping you from actual golf that’s the issue.

Once you recover from that initial slap in the face of the game only being in 720p, you’re quickly faced with more annoyances. The game has to log on to EA’s servers when you start a session, which isn’t a snappy process, and you’ll also encounter frequent loading times that are also far from fast. In fact, between every hole on the course you’re stuck waiting for the next hole to load – leaving you with nothing to do but look at the random statistics about your golfing while you wait. You’ll have plenty of time to digest whatever numbers they put in front of you and even time enough to start wondering why you really care about the lifetime eagle leader board among your club.

The between-hole interludes also feature the occasional voice over from the recorded announcers, which makes the waiting even more painful. When the announcers chime in on the loading screens or during actual golfing, it becomes very clear that real care to the presentation was not a priority when Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 was created. The announcers have very few phrases, and when they pipe up it’s almost as if you can hear them clicking on a microphone to create a jarring, unexpected vocal blurb. Additionally, most of what they say is awkwardly unnatural, such as: “Let’s see how the golfers are progressing thus far.”

While there have been problems with voiceovers in sports games before, the real personality problem in this game comes in the form of poorly rendered athletes. These fellas have fallen deep into the uncanny valley with nary a rope ladder around to attempt an escape. Their soulless eyes peering out from plastic masks are the only thing distracting you from the inexplicable presence of moobs on Tiger Woods.

Only the characters in the special historic rounds available in this fancy edition of the game are somewhat not creepy, and they only look more acceptable because they are behind scratchy sepia filters to make the world look just like it did back then. (The world used to be brown and scratchy, right?) If you fork over the extra bucks for this edition of the game, the bonus olden tyme rounds are pretty fun, despite the silly aged look. You’re given the actual equipment of the time on courses as they were and get to try to match or outplay actual historic golf rounds through history. This makes for a pretty cool extra bit of content for the person who buys this game annually or wants to really spend endless hours playing virtual golf. If you’ve already resigned yourself to spending the usual sixty dollars on another vanilla edition of Tiger Woods, you might as well splurge and get this content for an extra ten bucks.

Unless, of course, you want to save your money for the bountiful add-on content available in the game. There is so much additional crud you can pay actual American dollars for; you would think it’s the latest free-to-play title smoking up the iTunes app charts. Sadly, remember that this is a seventy dollar product that is begging you to send even more cash in EA’s direction. You’ll be offered upgrades to your custom golfers, the chance to buy more skill-boosting pins, and be allowed to pay to unlock additional golf courses around the world. Many of those extra courses are required to take part in online tournaments too. You won’t know you don’t own a necessary course, though, until you click through multiple menus and finally press the button to start the game and get an error message. A small flag on events you can actually participate in with your available golf courses would be a great way to recognize that paying customers have better things to do than click through endless menus to see if they can play part of the game they paid for.

When you can play in those online tournaments, and against other humans in live rounds, it’s a fun experience. You’ll still face all of the frustrating loading issues and goofball graphics and sound, but it’s a good time overall. Whenever I tried to focus on the positive parts and accept that the game is asking me for cash, trying to show me random product advertisements on the menu screen, and not a highly polished technical masterpiece, it still found new ways to make me angry. Multiple times, my golfer got stuck in practice swing mode that required me to quit a round (and lose the skill-boosting pins I had equipped). I also lost contact with the EA server and had to sit there idle while the game tried to reconnect – which was pointless since I was just playing locally by myself and had no need to be in contact with any sort of server.

It’s all extremely frustrating to experience. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 (and it’s Masters Historic Edition extra content)  has a foundation of golf simulation that is engaging, takes practice to perfect, and can lead to fun times online and off, but there are so many technical issues and stupid cash grabs going on that I can’t help to come away annoyed. EA doesn’t seem to have much respect for some of its most loyal customers (the annual sports game purchasers) by releasing a game with all of these problems and extra trash, and that’s a shame. If each annual installment de-creepified the golfers a little, shortened the load times, and didn’t pass the virtual hat around, then this could be a great game that everyone should consider trying. As it is, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is only for those who can’t stop from buying these things annually, or for those savvy enough to wait a couple of years and buy it for five bucks in the clearance bin – when it will be essentially identical to the brand new Tiger Woods PGA Tour 16 on the shelves.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


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Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Alex-C25

07/02/2013 at 02:58 PM

Really bad you had to go through all those problems.

Damm, EA really doesn't get tired of its greedy methods. I think it's even the first time i've heard of advertising in game menus. Unless that has happened before and I didn't know.

gigantor21

07/02/2013 at 06:02 PM

Nothing springs to mind, but I'm sure it couldn't be the first example. Especially in this day and age.

Also, fuck putting F2P tactics in a full-price console game. That they still do it in the deluxe version is even more odious. Why can't they just leave well enough alone?

Chris Yarger Community Manager

07/02/2013 at 04:11 PM

I love the Tiger Woods games. They're best after you've had quite a few brews with some friends and you all get together, turn the wind on high, and let 'em fly!

Seriously, it's fun as hell!

Super Step

07/02/2013 at 04:44 PM

Well, that's a shame, cause you and Yargz seem to actually have fun with the core gameplay. I think instead of having all these monetary requests, every game from now on should just have "Man of Steel" Superman flying around on screen, but with a bunch of logos, like that guy from Mystery Men.

Think about it,

+ +   =

GeminiMan78

07/02/2013 at 07:33 PM

Thats pretty damn pathetic. I'm still on the fence when it comes to DLC, but there is the right way to do DLC and the wrong way to do DLC. The right way would be like Borderlands 2. Yo can enjoy this games and get a lot of replay without getting any of the DLC. Yet IF you do opt for the DLC you get a massive collection of areas to explore, missions to play, and new weapons and gear to find. Even the extra character classes are worth investing in. A game that I felt took the wrong way was Tekken X Street Fighter. The stat modifiers were and intregal part of the game play and they want to knickle and dime you for each and every one. I did the math and if you bought them all it would be another 30 bucks for something that should have been in the complete game. This crap of selling a gutted game for full price then trying to get you to buy all the stuff they stripped out is just shameless greedy bullshit.

Raised_on_Nintendo

07/04/2013 at 12:40 AM

The way you describe TW14 reminds me of my experience playing WGT, the free to play online golf simulator, but maybe worse considering TW a full-price retail game.  With WGT it was forgiveable due to it's F2P entry fee, but TW?  This could end up backfiring, which is a shame, because I like the series.  Oh well, looks like I'll be sticking with TW12 a bit longer.

leeradical42

07/05/2013 at 12:13 AM

Personally i really enjoyed this one of course my freind from EA hooked me up with it for free, but i think it was worth the money really the only gripe i have is every year having to but the same golf courses ever year i mean once you buy spyglass you shouldnt have to buy the same course for the next years eddition and then theres like twenty something dlc courses available on the day its released is a bit of a slap in the face but thats EA for ya.

NSonic79

07/06/2013 at 10:17 AM

Wait! so your telling me the game REQUIRES you to have a constant-on internet connection just to play the single player mode? What is this a console game or a PC game? makes me wonder if EA snuck in a form of Origin in this version of the game, would love to see why it takes so long to load

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

07/06/2013 at 04:22 PM

I need to check this, but I think you can have it work just fine without it being connected... but once you log in to your EA account, if it loses the connection it will try for a long time to get re-connected. Mine always re-connected eventually, but I am guessing it will let you play off line without connecting. The same thing happens in Far Cry 3 (to point out that Ubisoft is also guilty of this nuisance). 

AnonymousJ

07/07/2013 at 07:58 PM

Thanks for the review.  I love Tiger Woods golf for some reason.  The last one I bought was 09 and I felt it was about time to upgrade.   The extra buy me features are a turn off though.  I know I don't have to buy them, but on principle I am passing this title.

WGT

10/16/2013 at 10:48 AM

wgt on line is the worst peice of garbage that i've ever played.   wgt is really sickining and so obvious that it is pathetic.. who are they trying to fool??? What a horrible load of crap. It is ridiculous that they charge money for memberships and then you end up having to pay $400.oo a month just for the balls. 

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