The most fun I had without question was on Tiger Woods 11 Wii. Incredible to me how so much change and innovation can be created with one simple new feature – the new True View.
First, EA Sports added new swing recognition technology dubbed the Advanced Plus Swing. Basically it will track your entire swing motion and angle on the ball, so you now can draw and fade the ball based on your swing. You can check the videos for a nice tutorial.
The Tour Pro swing reads the point where you contact the ball with a first person view titled True View. Yeah, you actually have a view looking over the ball like your actually playing – and it plays seamlessly! That’s the craziest part. You can waggle the club and open it, and even change your setup on the ball.
I give it high praise based on the fact after countless hours of practicing on my real swing at the range with my friend flip camming it, the verdict is I have an inside out swing and that’s just the way it is. Tiger Woods 11 Wii tracked my swing and angle on the ball and confirmed this with me; the ball faded like a line drive to opposite field just like it does when I play the real thing.
Just be careful where you play because you actually do have to take full swings at the ball; and you may or may not hit somebody behind you holding a glass of wine…
While I was messing with the new swing motion tracking, I had a chance to speak with Eric Busch who is a lead developer and manager on the game. Eric was explaining the feedback the game will provide, as explained above with my swing, but also with the contact made on the ball; you can shank and chunk balls, hit them square or even off-center. Remember to keep your wrists locked if you pick this one up because the game takes all this into account just like last year.
Another addition to the game, which is a big theme for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of the game is the team play Ryder Cup game play mode.
Tiger 360 & PS3
First thing I noticed about the new Tiger 11 on the 360 was the cloth motion from the breezy tee box. Tiger’s clothes were flowing similar to what we see in MLB 2K. Visually, the game is upgraded yet again – I didn’t think that was possible after last year’s showing.
Back to the Ryder Cup: You can launch into online team play Ryder Cup and have a chat with your team to discuss strategy. Up to 24 players can compete in a Ryder tourney.
As you play, the game tracks your teammates progress with ball marked colored lasers on the course. Make big shots, and the crowd will roar energizing teammates in the process (if they are a.i. teammates).
As you play with a.i. teammates, you can switch between golfers on your team to try and save them from a bad round – but this is at a risk of leaving your current golfer’s progress. Lots of strategy coming into play with the Ryder Cup mode giving some nice multiplayer appeal.
Aside from the Ryder Cup, what this game really comes down to is fine-tuning the swing mechanism that this franchise has been relying on for so long. Lead Developer Cameron Lee walked me through the game and we had a nice discussion about the fans of the franchise driving this game forward.
According to Lee, every year their studio will bring in the top gamers in the world to come in and point out flaws in the game, and abuses that online gamers use. These guys are experts on some unworldly level. Lee was telling me that there was a minor glitch that occurred when flying the ball straight into the cup from over 100 yards out – these guys managed to achieve this and show Lee and his team in-person in under ten minutes. That’s how good they are.
Another abuse that has been common to the franchise is the swing pauses; if you play the game enough, you will begin to notice if you hold your back swing at certain precise moments and stop, only to take a full follow through from that point onward, you can pinpoint exact percentages on your swing. This isn’t how a real golf swing should look and feel.
To combat this abuse, Lee and his team added random swing degradation. Now gamers will be forced to using a more fluid swing type without holds and pauses. The result if you want to fine-tune your swing, practice with your specific irons and fluidness of your shot to gain a good feel for the club and your environment.
On a side not, chipping on the green will now be more unpredictable as well.
Last year they added the new putting and practice swing. Gamers took advantage of this practice swing to the point where, they knew exactly where the ball was going to land after aiming the target circle – I mean exactly. Seriously, these guys even coined it “laser golf” and they would proceed to land the ball in the dead center of the target circle.
Lee explained that these top online golfers had notes for each shot on every course with every wind condition. They knew where the ball was going to land precisely. Now, it will be much harder for them with a more dynamic wind that can slight change mid-shot. Further, balls will land a bit more randomly within your target circle.
Another nice little feature added is the approach grid; when your shooting your approach shots you can bring up the green's grid to see the layout and slope as you attempt to attack the pin.
Overall, both games on the Wii and 360 looked great and I look forward to doing the 360 review again this year. Stay tuned for more insights and news from the event in the coming days.