Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 Review

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Graphics: 8.0
Sound : 7.0
Gameplay : 8.0
Multiplayer : 9.0
Overall : 8.0
Review by Neil

Ever since EA came out with Tiger Woods '99, the game has just gotten better every year and Tiger Woods 2003 is no exception. Tiger Woods 2003 is everything you would expect from EA Sports. It has 12 championship courses from all over including Spyglass Hill, TPC of Scottsdale, and Pebble Beach Golf Links. Also players like Vijay Singh, Mark O`Meara, and of course Tiger himself just to name a few.

The requirements for the game are not all that bad, this is the minimum.
- Any Windows (Windows 95 and NT are not supported)
- 333 MHz Pentium/AMD (700 MHz or better recommended)
- 64 MB RAM (256 MB recommended)
- 8x CD-ROM/DVD-ROM
- 820 MBs of hard disk space plus space for saved games and windows swap file
-16 MB Direct3D capable video card (32 MB T&L recommended)
- DirectX 8.1
- Keyboard and mouse

Graphics:

Although you could probably play the game with a 500 MHz, my Duron 1GHz sometimes has framerate issues when there is a lot of trees around the course. Graphics in game are great. I am not all familiar with polygons and pixels, but the graphics are good. I have them turned down just a little to reduce the framerate issues, so the game doesn't really look as good as it can, even with the graphics turned down a little, the golfer animations still swing in a fluid motion (most of the time). The courses themselves look amazing! Courses like Pebble Beach are great with the waves smashing up against the rocks, Off hand I cant remember if the previous TW series had the audience alongside the course, but they look better than little 2d pixels. They cheer, clap, and moan depending on your shot. Although sometimes the seem to be looking other places than where your golfer is and the women seem to look like men with boobs! (Big deal! Our own beloved main editor Francesco looks like a woman except without boobs, so we're used to it by now. - Editor) This is one of the biggest things I have noticed: when your golfer is waiting to shoot, he will walk around, mainly in your way, and pick the grass. When this happens, their fingers and soles of their shoes will disappear under the fairway/green. Although this isn't really a big deal, I would like to see them pick the grass and throw it into the wind. But overall the game is very visually appealing.

Sound:

There's not a whole lot of music in the game except for when you are not in a match. There is, however, plenty of ambient sounds while you play. Birds chirping. the announcers, waves, and of course the fans. The announcers are a little redundant. After playing 18 holes, you can pretty much guess what they are going to say and when they are going to say it. There are also occasions when they will repeat themselves (annoying!) and will state the obvious. For example, let's say you hit from 200 yards out and land on the front of the green, after the ball has landed, and you know where it is, one of them will say "That should stay on the front of the green!" Well duh! I just saw it land there! I don't think it would hurt them any to add some new sayings. Although there is no music, the sounds are wonderful. I really love to hear the waves crashing! Need to work on the announcers though.

Gameplay:

Now lets dive into the game itself, shall we :) . When you first enter the game, you get to see the intro movie, which is not all that bad. Get past that and you are in the game. The first thing you come to is the main menu and on this are: career mode, play golf, EA Sports Online, record book, options, network play, and inside EA Sports. Play golf is, well, play golf! Pick a player or create one, choose your clubs, course, your preferred swing type, opponents, etc.. In career mode, you create a player to compete in various tournaments and contests all for the love of money. Options, well thats self explanatory. Change graphics, sounds and what-not.. The record book is for loading saved games, review saved plays, and see player stats. The network and online I will get into later. Now lets look at career mode and play golf in more detail..

Play golf. This is where you can get into the game real quick and get a feel for how the game is played. Once this option is chosen, the first thing you see is a “select your game” screen. Here you pick game types, which include: stroke, match, skins, shootout, scramble, amongst others, Also on this screen is the selection of opponents (if you want any), number of holes, gimmies and mulligans. The next screen is “select golfer”, this is where you pick a player or create one of your own. If you decide to pick a pro player, you can customize them a little, hair color, hat color (if they have one), and shirt and pants. Also yo can choose their clubs, up to fourteen. If you choose to create a player, you obviously have more you can do, like height, shoes, shirt and pants, hair color, and hat or no hat. Again your clubs, shaft, club head, ball, and swing type. There are 3 swing types, 2 click, 3 click, and true swing. The 2 and 3 click are your typical golf swings, however the true swing brings the feeling that you are really hitting the ball. You can choose to swing vertically or horizontally. I prefer the vertical swing myself. Once you have completed all of this, you are ready to tee off. If you use the true swing, it takes a little bit to get used to it, but with a little practice, its no problem. And might I add that TW2003 has done an outstanding job with it. The best thing about it is the putting. Sooo much better than anything I have played. All you need to do to hit the ball is: pull back for the back swing and then push forward to hit the ball. I would recommend you to try and keep it straight :).

Career mode is a little different. When you choose this option, you get a new menu, career calendar, which has the events you can play on any given month, golf lessons, which is learning new golf shots (I highly recommend you take them all), my golfer: create your golfer here, its a little different than in the play mode. Here not only do you have to make a player, you also have $3500 to buy new clubs, shafts, club heads, balls, and attributes, all of which increase your player's performance. The practice range, well thats for practice! And then there's your trophy case. This is where your trophy balls are kept. First birdie, eagle, tour win etc... The career calendar is where all of the events for the month are. You may choose the ones you want to play in, you may choose not to play in all of them, but if you choose not to play in an event you cant go back to it. After you have played through the various events and start accumulating money, you can buy attributes through the level you are. Such as amateur, pro, and tour. You can not go higher than the level you are at. If you are an amateur you can not buy attributes for pro until you have won the amateur tournament. As you get better you will have to adjust to the players' skill. Say for example you play through four events and accumulate 30k before you buy anything. This will take a few holes to get used to as it ups how far the club can hit and accuracy. Career mode is where I think a majority of players will spend their time (I know I have). You can also earn a little cash by making side bets on the practice range.

TW2003 also has a course architect. You have the option to make a course from scratch (which I have yet to do), tinker with an existing course, or the easiest way is use the wizard. It makes life sooo much easier. While beginners might want to go through the wizard, more advanced users might want to create a course from scratch. (I am not that advanced :D). TW2003 course architect comes with all the things you could possibly need to build a perfect course. All this will keep you busy for a long time to come and have fun doing so!

Multiplayer:

Multiplayer makes almost any game better. Playing people instead of the computer is always fun. It goes for TW2003 too! I have not had a chance to play on EA yet so I cant really say anything about it. As for the LAN, its a very simple process. Either choose LAN or direct ip. LAN and direct ip are about the same as play golf. In lan, have a person host the game and pick the course options(host should be the faster of the computers). Once the host chooses the course, the other players join and pick players or create your own. Direct ip is about the same, except the players joining need your ip address to join. I am running through a Simiens router with two computers and it runs rather smoothly, except there is a little lag between the players shooting. This might not be the case with all lans. I give multiplayer a 9 because this is where a lot of people are going to be playing. It has enough options to keep you playing for a long time to come. And as I understand it, EA has done a great job with their online play.

Conclusion:

I personally find Tiger Woods 2003 to be a great game. It has everything a golf game needs. It doesn't have a very hard learning curve, there are things to keep you busy well into when the next installment of the game comes out, it looks and sounds great, there is something for every skill level from a newbie to Tiger himself. I only have a few complaints about the game: framerate issues, the announcers, you appendages going below the course, and the audience going "ahhhhh" when you sink a 20 foot putt! Other than these minor issues, I would recommend this to anyone who is even remotely interested in a golf game. Now everyone go grab a copy and we will all have a drink and play a nice tournament!