Love it or loath it we are always indulged with yearly titles such as the Fifa Football series and of course the golfing expectation of Tiger Woods. Since Tiger Woods 2003 first became an Xbox title I for one have been enjoying the quirky aspect that this series of games have brought to an otherwise very slow going game.
Tiger Woods on the Xbox have never been amazing graphical experiences, looking more like an average PS2 game the visuals have been far behind that of the release of Links 2004 which also had the plus of online play.
Tiger Woods 2004 used the same engine as 2003 and although there was plenty to keep you occupied in the game, the visuals had only token improvements. We need much more from Tiger Woods 2005.
When EA announced they were entering the online arena in the form of Xbox Live, the title I wanted more then ever to be online was Tiger Woods 2005. I thought at last we can have a golf game to rival Links 2004. Now this is a problem for us European users, this is down to the NO ONLINE for us Europeans. Those in America will be putting and driving to their little hearts content while people like me from the UK will be wondering why oh why we were left out. Whether down to time or server issues who knows, but this is a major disappointment.
So landing in the rough with the online play, I am hoping for a nice chip back on the land of the green grass, however it is not all looking any greener on the other side. Just like 2004 last year and dare I say, yes I must dare, even the 2003 version you notice huge amounts of poorness in the visuals retained in 2005. Having seen Links 2004 you would have thought this was the year that something much more was required from the graphics system, instead yet more token gestures which does absolutely nothing to impress my eyes.
The gameplay is as rock solid as ever with the controls being that little bit better then Links. One of the new aids to the game is Tiger Vision. With a very limited amount per round you can use Tiger Vision to view where your marker should be placed. This is still not 100% accurate however on extremely long puts is worth having in reserve. Tour Difficulty as also hit our shores allowing you to disable some of the caddie aids making putting even more challenging which is where Tiger Vision is even more essential for a good round total. You also have the squillion different game modes if you want something a little different to pass the time.
Now lets imagine you hit a great 5 Iron onto the green near the pin, of course you get the rumbling of the heart beat sound as your screen narrows and your own heart starts to flutter. Nothing new there, but now lets take this further and say that you put a terrific birdie or even better an eagle. You will soon be part of a unusual but very fun celebration. With a little short musical interlude watch as your created character jigs on the green. Celebrations and even the more depressive negative arrangements can be purchased to add a little more variety.
The 2 new fantasy courses are very well done despite the limitations of the game engine but other licensed courses include 8 New licensed courses are available but you have lost the huge amount of courses from 2004 so you will have to decide whether you want more courses or a newer game. The new courses are Sherwood Country Club, The Links at Fancourt and Monument course.
Game Face II has now even more additions to creating your unique gaming character. Again something that would have really gone down well online so you can show off your creation. Going to all this trouble for your own pleasure is quite a self indulging pleasure and does nothing for the feature unless playing dress up and flexing your virtual muscles is your thing. You can go to some incredible depths with Game Face II altering every little feature imaginable. Really you can even add freckles, aging and ‘wrinkles’, eeeek. If that was not enough even scars, tattoos and create your own little image and stamp it on your clothes or skin.
There is so very little in the way of new I am struggling what to venture to next. Oh yes the Legends mode. Play against the Legends of the game such as Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer to further improve your game. Advancing your player is virtually identical to the previous titles in the series, earning cash to push up your skill levels and adding unlockable equipment to add extra points on top.
The last addition and this is probably the biggest is the Tiger Proofing mode. Simply this is making your courses even harder. Shrinking fairways, altering the roughage and just making your life hell if you are beginning to get bored with the standard course difficulty. This can add extra life to the game indeed, but I am not totally impressed with the idea. Although altering a course is a good idea, it is not something everyone is going to be bothered with.
Again and this is getting tedious to repeat but even the sounds are hardly any different to previous versions other then some toning down of any crashing shores. Commentary remains on the quirky, but as someone who lives in England would prefer some British commentators and lose the quirky edge as it has lost its appeal. Infact that would really fit the game entirely. It has lost its appeal. No doubt it is a great game if you never purchased the 2003 or 2004 versions but if you have either then ignore this game as nothing essential has been added that would be worth the outlay.
To say I am disappointed would be an understatement. If only they had maybe missed this years out and instead used the time to make a corker for 2006 I would be quite happy to miss out one year in the series, but no here we are again with something that is a complete and utter worthless purchase for any person who owns an earlier version. If you want a good golf game, buy either Links 2004 or Tiger Woods 2004 and get many more courses for less cost.
Rating: 3.5 / 5