Tiger Woods' face is one of the most recognizable in the world, and, in the upcoming PlayStation 3 version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07, that face has been immaculately re-created, thanks to a capturing process EA has dubbed "U-Cap." Still, with just a month or so to go before the PlayStation 3 (and Tiger 07) launches, there's more to check out than simply Woods' perfectly modeled toothy grin. At a recent EA press event, we spent some time both with the game and with producers to see how Tiger's PS3 debut is coming along.
The majority of the content Tiger 07 for PS3 is similar to that of the Xbox 360 version of the game. Some numbers to start with: The game will feature 12 courses and more than 20 PGA and LPGA pros such as Michael Campbell, Annika Sörenstam, and, naturally, Tiger himself. Oh, and there's that 5,000 number as well, which refers to the number of people who can populate the gallery on some of the longer holes in the game. Just as in the 360 version of the game, the folks on the sidelines are more than static window dressing--not only do crowd members track the ball as it flies through the air, but handfuls of the crowd will pick up and head toward the green after your shot lands. Another presentation detail from the 360 version found in the PS3 game: multiple picture-in-picture views of Tiger reacting to various shots throughout his round.
So beyond slightly crisper player models and environments, where does Tiger 07 separate itself from the other versions of the game? The answer, as you might expect, is found in the PS3 game controller. In the game, you use the controller's tilt functionality to control the spin in the ball in midair. While the concept isn't new--you've been able to affect the spin of the ball for a while now in Tiger--the execution in the PS3 game is different. Once the ball is in the air, you hold down the X button to initiate the spin of the ball and then tilt the controller in any direction, which will in turn affect the spin. The longer you hold down the X button, the more powerful the spin will be. While it isn't a game-changing addition, you do have the option of going back to the old spin system if you wish.
It should be noted, that Tiger 07 for the PS3 features the same aiming circle found in the 360 game; and, just as in the other version, the additional challenge it brings to the game makes it one of the best gameplay additions to the series in a while. New game mode additions found in the Xbox 360 version, such as one ball and battle golf, will be found in the PS3 game. One ball is a fun mode, especially when played with a buddy. The object, of course, is to get the ball in the hole, but the difference is that both players are playing the same ball. One player tees off and then the other golfer has to decide whether they want to try to go for the hole, or "screw" their opponent by putting the ball in a really bad position. Soon enough, one-ball games become a constant balancing act between making big shots and setting up your opponent for imminent failure. Another cool game mode, battle golf, also sounds like a feature best played with friends. In this match-play mode, the winner of a particular hole is able to take away one club from his opponent's bag (excluding the putter, which would just be unfair). Should the other player win the next hole, he or she has the option to either take his club back or steal one from his opponent.
The Tiger challenge training minigames are also in the PS3 version of the game and serve as a handy way to progress your player away from the traditional golf events. Events like the chipping challenges, longest drive, and closest to the pin are also good opportunities to work on specific parts of your virtual golf game while at the same time improving your various attributes. There's no requirement for playing the minigames, however, and you can fully progress your golfer simply by taking part in the long string of events that make up the PGA calendar.
Those who have played the Xbox 360 version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 will likely find the PlayStation 3 game a tough sell because, in terms of content, the two games are more or less identical. Sony fans who manage to stay away from Tiger 07 until they get their shiny new PS3s, however, will find a wealth of golfing gameplay to dive into. We'll have our final verdict on the game when it hits stores in mid-November.