Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 E3 2004 Preshow Impressions

The 2005 update to EA's popular golf game will feature more courses, customization options, and an extensive update to the popular "Game Face" system.

Following up on the big success of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004, EA Sports is revisiting the popular golf series again with a new installment, due in September. PGA Tour 2005 won't radically change the formula that made the previous entry work--certainly not a bad thing, since GameSpot's review called the game "quite probably the most entertaining and enjoyable golf game ever released." On the contrary, the new game will offer up even more of the solid gameplay and peripheral customization features that made the last game great, only this time with even more depth than before.

Tiger Woods 2004's most distinguishing and popular feature was its Game Face system, which gave video duffers an unrivaled number of options for creating a unique in-game avatar. The new game will offer up the "Game Face 2" system, which will perform the same function but give you even more ways to customize your character (if such a thing is even possible). EA says the new system will let you create any player from 8 years old to 80 years old, and what we saw of the system bore this claim out. There will be between 50 and 60 sliders for facial features alone, and you'll be able to change your character's height and body type to represent different ages as well. Attributes like height will even factor into your gameplay experience, since your ability to play will be affected by your physical stature.

Your onscreen golfer won't be the only customizable element in Tiger Woods 2005--you'll be able to control lots of variables related to your play experience as well. For instance, you'll be able to choose the date and even time of day you want to start your match, and the sunlight and other ambient conditions will be presented according to this start time and the duration of your match. Seasonal factors like weather will also be controllable. The course customization will be extremely detailed as well--you'll be able to control terrain topography and color, the height of the grass in the rough, and even the mow pattern on the greens. EA stressed the real-world emergence of "Tiger-proofing" in professional golf courses, which involves course designers trying to find new ways to keep exceptional players like Woods himself from blowing through their courses way under par. From the looks of things, you'll be able to do some Tiger-proofing in the game yourself.

Tiger Woods 2005 will feature a new game mode called the "legend tour" that will let you take control of five of golfing's all-time greatest players: Seve Ballesteros, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus. Nine new licensed courses, such as Sherwood, Elysium Greens, and The Blue Pearl, will be added to the lineup, as well as several new fantasy courses set in places like Greece and the Caribbean. Though we only got to see the game on video, it's looking as good as ever, and with the host of new features being added to the new installment, a great game looks to be getting even better. We'll bring you more on Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 from E3 and as its release date approaches.

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