Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 Review
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Coming up with the best golf game took a while, but EA Tiburon's Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 is undoubtedly the pinnacle of the series. With a new caddie system, a revamped career mode, and the superb Augusta course, 'The Masters' is masterful on many levels.
- The challenge and beauty of Augusta and the Masters
- Caddie system and course progression is a game changer
- Career mode is refreshing
- Progressing through career is too easy
- Unrealistic difficulty gap between Augusta and all other courses
- Online needs an update
The Tiger Woods PGA Tour series is the champion of its genre, mostly due to a lack of competition, but also because of its mix of easy-to-learn gameplay and its authentic approach to the sport. But over the past several years, the series has remained stagnant, with EA adding only minimal changes to each installment. Last year Focus and True-Aim added an extra layer of authenticity, but nonetheless PGA Tour 11 lacked the sweeping changes that fans of the series really desired. Well, prop the tee high, pull out your biggest driver, and start focusing on your short game because Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters scores an eagle in just about every area.
If you consider yourself a golfer, then you have probably dreamed of two things: having your very own caddie, and playing the iconic Augusta National course. PGA Tour 12 gives players both a caddie and the ability to play in the Masters, the former offering the biggest change to the gameplay approach and the latter giving true golf fans a chance for their very own virtual Green Jacket. The focus is all on your created golfer's Road to the Masters, essentially PGA Tour 12's new career mode.
Arguably the most difficult and one of the most well-known courses in golf, Augusta is an absolute beast. I can only imagine that even professionals have nightmares of the course’s iconic laser-fast greens and ankle-high rough. EA Tiburon did an incredible job of recreating Augusta like no other course in the series’ history. The course looks sharper and is far more detailed than any other course in PGA Tour 12 (not to say that the others look shabby). Fans of the series who have asked for Augusta will not be let down: both Augusta National and its little brother Augusta Par 3 are available. For hardcore golfers, the addition of the course is reason enough to pick up this game. A majority of the game plays homage to this classic course, especially with Inside Augusta, a section that gives you hole-to-hole details of the course. If you are up for a challenge and a walk through history, you can play through Masters Moments, a mode that allows you to trace the steps of historic moments from the Masters. Outside a few easy sections, like landing an approach shot within 15 yards of the pin, there are challenges that truly test your skills — including a round of seven under par. The difficulty of some Master Moments challenges are both exciting and frustrating.
Difficulty — or, more accurately, the lack thereof — is actually a common criticism of the Tiger Woods series. While I don’t feel the game is any harder than previous years, nearly every aspect of the Masters portion of the game, from the challenges to participating in the actual event, is substantially harder than the rest of the game. There’s a huge gap in difficulty between Augusta and other courses in PGA Tour 12. Even on the game’s harder settings, it’s still pretty easy to consistently outscore the best golfers in the world on all but Augusta.
The Road to the Masters campaign starts your rookie golfer in amateur leagues, where you’ll have to compete well enough to enter Q School (which isn’t a school, simply a ranking system to enter the Tour). When you finally pass Q School, which took me a round or two, you’ll be ready for the actual PGA Tour. It’s a refreshing career progression system, but it’s all a bit too easy. As in past years, you’ll gain experience points to develop your golfer’s abilities, like power, putting, or touch. Because the bulk of the game is so easy, by the time I was at the Masters, my golfer’s abilities were technically weak, making Augusta extremely tough. In a way, it was refreshing to play a course that presented a real challenge. When I finally did get my Green Jacket, I ... (continued on next page)