The Masters is the new standard in golf video gaming. Golf’s greatest golf course is finally available to video gaming systems on Tiger Woods PGA Tour: The Masters.
This video game is available on multiple game consoles. I purchased the Xbox 360 edition.
This is a Masters video game more than is a Tiger Woods PGA Tour game. The opening cinematic is all about the Masters. The menu screens are loaded with photos of Augusta National.
The game opens with a playable introduction that walks us through the final shots of Tiger Woods winning a green jacket. The career mode has been renamed Road to the Masters, with the focus switched from simply progressing from the amateur ranks through Q School to the PGA Tour, to doing all of the above plus earning an invitation to this prestigious tournament.
This career mode is the most fun career mode I’ve played in any video game. As always, player creation and career are the heart of this game.
By playing each event and Tiger Woods challenge, we begin to earn XP. Our XP allows us to upgrade our characters attributes to improve your overall gameplay.
The sponsorship feature in this year’s edition of the game is key to success, with each sponsor having tasks we must perform to unlock each of the four levels associated per sponsor. The higher the level, the better the equipment.
At the game’s highest sponsorship level, we will come across equipment that significantly boosts our player’s stats. The previously separate Tiger Challenges are now integrated into our career path.
This game is well-integrated and streamlined, and better paced.
EA Sports has added the in-game global ranking and to get to the major tournaments we need to rank in the top 100. Do well in a tour event and we will rise up in the rankings. I
Along with being able to play Augusta National in one-off rounds, we visit its hallowed links in two other modes.
Masters Moments is a series of nine challenges where we walk in the golf shoes of pros from tourneys past and try to come close to their achievements.
These range from back in 1935 all the way to 2010 and include a wide selection of memorable moments such as Jack Nicklaus’ eagle and two birdies in 1986, an Arnold Palmer eagle in 1958, and Tiger Woods’ incredible seven birdies in a row in 2005. Each challenge can be beaten by getting close to the pro’s achievement or mastered by matching or bettering it.
Tiger at the Masters is the other main Masters-related game. It sees you playing as the great one during each of his four Masters victories, with the goal of keeping pace with every round.
Upon completing a round at Augusta National, I got an official Masters scorecard with all of my scores and my name on it.
Augusta National plays completely differently compared to the other courses on your virtual tour. It is significantly more challenging as the pin positions move over a full four rounds, really impressing me with this course’s famous demands of my second shot, as my approaches tend to go long, and of course, my putting.
Included with the Masters packaging and authenticity comes a new commentator, Jim Nantz. It’s great to have Nantz in the game, because his voice is iconic to the sport of golf.
There are a lot of commentary both from Nantz as well as his co-commentator David Feherty. As with all sports games, the commentary does get repetitive, especially when we are putting, but it is well done.
Graphically, especially the Augusta National, this is the prettiest golf game ever. I have been to the Augusta National and this video game represents it very well.
There are sixteen courses included in the game (including such fan favorites as Pebble Beach), with at least twenty others slated to be available for download.
The Par-3 course at Augusta National is also included,
Throughout the game, we sharpen our golf skills to win the ultimate prize: the illustrious green jacket.
The largest new addition is that of the caddy, who essentially serves as a guide to the course. When activated, this feature can be toggle off, the caddy offers club-selection suggestions and helps us to aim our shot, both on the fairway and the green.
The caddy gives us shot options that take into account factors such as the lie of the ball, weather, course elevation, draw/fade, etc. This is not only useful in speeding up play and making things easier, but the caddy often wisely leads me to safer areas of the green with certain approach shots.
Although my caddy tells me which percentage to hit, actually producing a smooth swing that hits that number is often difficult. The more I play Tiger Woods 12, the more I recognize situations for which I customize shots.
The caddy starts with us in the Amateur Tour all the way throughout our career. As we progress through different goals at the various courses, we can Master three levels for each course that improves the caddy’s abilities for reading greens and suggesting different shots for each level.
The levels include Bronze, Silver, and Gold; and each level is sort of a way to level up our caddy just as we level up our golfer throughout our career.
The gameplay is basically the same great Tiger Woods PGA Tour gameplay it has been the last few years, with the notable exception of putting. We can use the analog stick swing or the 3-click swing system in the menu if wanted.
Thus far, I hit my tee shots and approach shots very well, for the most part. However, saying that putting is difficult in this game is an understatement.
The putting difficulty replicates Augusta National’s fast putting surface and we experience how difficult they are in the video game, as in real life.
With putting systems and green-reading being given significant re-designs nearly every year, the shift towards realism rears its ugly head where greens are concerned, with little to no flat spots, unpredictable speeds, mind-boggling three-foot misses, and simple strokes all but extinct.
A controversial feature is the series’ continued use or abuse of downloadable content. There are sixteen courses on the disc but twenty courses available as downloadable content for launch day.
Playing through career mode and then being asked whether you want to purchase an extra course or just skip it is one of the most obnoxious moments in modern gaming.
However, despite the DLC stuff, this video game offers the best career mode yet for the series and the new Masters license is used very well. A lot of content and generally high quality of simulation are additional strengths.
Yes, the Augusta National itself is the best part and the main reason I bought this game and will buy additional course. However, the most fun and lasting appeal is working hard to earn and invitation to the Masters Golf Tournament in the excellent career mode.