A long time fan and customer of the series here is the honest truth about the latest release.
Like many long time fans of the series we cross our fingers hoping for something new, different, innovative, anything that can enhance the experience we have grown so accustomed.
This year brought much media coverage and hype claiming to once again rebuilt parts of the game play providing the ultimate experience thus far!
The new swing mechanics without doubt are the best in the series, being more detailed offering a greater flexibility of both potential and challenge finishing with a greater sense of reward when successful.
I have always played on PRO difficulty which is referred to as "normal", increasing the challenge to Tour PRO or Tournament and the new swing mechanics become dramatically more challenging and for myself took away from the fun factor I have come to enjoy; for real golfers this increased challenge is presumably a fantastic new edition to apply to your real game.
Putting is revamped yet again moving the power meter down to the club level which is nice and challenge is increased providing more precise aiming required to sink the ball.
Increasing the difficulty beyond PRO applies the most to putting requiring equally perfect aim, speed and tempo if you plan to execute the shot as you intend.
When it comes to putting on PRO setting you get some aids by default a caddy preview on his opinion of ball placement, a shot preview, and the visual grid showing the elevations which provide enough help to generally sink the shot.
As you have likely read this mode starts with you playing Tiger Woods from his earliest years, throughout his career and beyond a few years into the predictable future.
Like many seeing the images the concept is a bit odd, however once playing the true story of Tiger's Dads influence throughout his life is both interesting and a sense of reliving those memorable moments is enjoyable up to a point.
The journey is broken up into different stages of his life and career which completing each challenge doesn't seem to offer any immediate rewards like XP which in the beginning you are trying to build up, this left me focusing on the career mode tours instead. (I don't know what you get for completing all the challenges there are many)
One of the new editions this year which I think rocks is the Clubhouse you can join ONLINE.
The process is simple the Clubhouse is accessible right from the main navigational bar in the game at all times, initially you start with a search having optional criteria like difficulty level of the club and hit the search button and a list is generated showing a graphic and how many club members there are.
Once you join a clubhouse it adds a completely new layer to the game, you have the game modes within Tiger, the normal online experience, but now the clubhouse which is a self contained entity where there are daily, weekly, etc challenges coupled with a lobby and live head to head challenges.
I haven't fully explored the clubhouse yet but I presume you can have clubhouse vs clubhouse matches, also the graphic for the clubhouse appears while you are playing local games it integrates into the game entirely :) very neat.
Is this years Tiger Woods the best in the series? YES
- if your looking for an increased challenge on precise swinging including tempo and speed this offers it
* most of us playing at PRO level enjoy a level of arcade play so too much realism can interfere with enjoyment with a small learning curve this still has that feeling with a bit more challenge.
As expected a small subtle improvement however there might be some moments or situations where things seem to look much better but overall as expected. (game face stuff same nothing that appeared improved)
All the improvements make this purchase a no brainer depending on what you want, the clubhouse addition has tons of potential for online gamers, the potential of more difficulty and potential shot combinations couldn't be better for the real golfer - if you like PRO level and don't care about online this is a release you could skip in my opinion.