E3 '07: Tiger Woods 08 Hands-On

We grab a controller and spend some quality time with Tiger Woods 08.

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Last month we got a good look at many of the new features that will be found in Tiger Woods 08 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The ability to import your own photo and model a character that looks just like you is cool, and being able to share and download challenges using the GamerNet feature sounds promising, but how will the game play? That's the question we set out to answer when we visited EA's booth, grabbed a controller, and took on Cog Hill.

The most noticeable change to how the game plays is how you add slice and fade to the ball. You still use the D pad to change the direction you're aiming your club when you're using the zoomed-in landing target view, but you can also move the target zone by adding a slice or fade to the ball with a tap of the left or right bumper, which in turn moves the landing area. This is super easy to learn and it should encourage players to be more creative with their shots. The rest of the analog controls are unchanged, though you can now press the right analog in to instantly switch to a more "old-school" three-button-press system at any point during a round.

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

Once we reached the green we got a chance to check out the new putting camera. How you putt is unchanged, but the ideal putt cam is nowhere to be found. Instead, you can tap a button and the camera will rise above you, showing you the current line of your putt. You can use the analog stick to rotate around the green, and you can study the line as long as you want, but you can't make adjustments to your aim until you return to the normal behind-the-golfer view. You can't go back to the bird's-eye view once you've left it, so you'd better make sure you've read the green properly before you exit out. The EA representative mentioned that putting would be less frustrating this year and there would be more makeable long-distance putts, but it didn't feel drastically different to us.

Many of the changes to the way the game plays are subtle, but it's those subtle changes, such as the B button instantly teleporting your view to the target area when you tap it (you can still fly towards the target by holding the button) that veterans of the series will likely appreciate. Try as we might to glean information, EA still wouldn't confirm an exact release date, saying "August, but the game is nearly finished now" when pressed.

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