So golf… A sport that can either drive you nuts with boredom or actually relax and entertain you after a stressful day at the office. Tiger Woods 2004 comes after a very well thought out game, by this I of course mean its predecessor Tiger Woods 2003.
Back then Tiger Woods 2003 had no competition but this latest offering now has got to go up against the mighty Links 2004 which also features Xbox Live! support which Electronic Arts have not taken on board for any of their Xbox games.
With this competition coming around the corner Tiger Woods 2004 really had to take what it has already in a tight grip and really push everything forward in every possible direction as Links 2004 looks very special indeed. So lets get straight into this game’s graphics which is really going to be challenged by Links 2004.
Tiger Woods 2004 uses the same game engine as the previous version and oh does it show. Like a wet kipper in the face the graphics look just as plain as the first game and even though the gameplay will help you to ignore the graphical frailties, the fact that little improvement has been visually presented, the game struggles as now we want new and impressive graphics.
Again the textures are quite low and the game engine still struggles in places to cope with some of the demand on it! The characters look as good as the last game, but really to compete with a hefty line of XSN Sports games they should have tried much harder. The new courses do feel much better in overall graphical presentation and the game you can enjoy even if the graphics are just the same as the previous one, but if they don’t do something about it next year Tiger Woods is going to suffer a very poor score indeed.
Each part of this game reminds you of the last and this is shown in many other areas. Even the interface, although a black colour and no blue, just shows yet another way they have tried to cheat any major upgrade to the game and just altered small details to hide the core of the game being identical to the first.
Thankfully though the heart of the game which had the most success is still very present and that is the gameplay. Even though this game feels like an add-on the extra 7 courses are excellent featuring Bethpage Black, Pinehurst No.2 and Kapula – Plantation Course. There are also the novelty make believe ones set in Australian outback and a lush Oriental themed course.
A new feature is the ‘Game Face’ which lets you completely customise your player’s look. It is here you can finally see some well spent time in adding something new to the game. Literally every feature you could think of right down to teeth, hair, tan, eyebrow style is all there. Another nice novelty is purchasing clothes which can earn you sponsors and get some well deserved extra cash. We do have a new shot as well and that is the ‘chip’. Very useful when on the edge of the green to chip and let the ball roll to the hole.
The World Tour is also an improvement over the original allowing you to. if stuck, move to another area and continue rather then hitting an impasse and not being able to progress. Choosing from continents you have a gradual raise in difficulty until you complete the World Tour. This part is great fun and when you have completed this section there are also other modes, and I mean lots of modes. The list is very extensive and should keep you very happy for hours and hours.
This game has been very hard for me to put in a review as I have been torn between whether I should present this game as if it was some sort of Add-on pack or as a game worthy of awarding a brand new experience. The fact is it is a bit of both taking the great gameplay from Tiger Woods 2003 and expanding on that experience but also unfortunately bringing back the same game engine which was quite frankly average then, so now it seems even more lack lustre.
A very satisfying title in its gameplay perfection, but the same game engine has made the game feel very old and imperfect. Still a worthy purchase for any golf fan and if you do already have the 2003 version, I would still recommend the game for its many extras.