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Tiger Woods 2004


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I got this game yesterday, so far I've played a couple rounds and started a career. So far I'm quite impressed, after some initial uncertainties.


EA has modeled this after the console version (FWIW, any reference I make to the console version is about TW 2003 for Xbox, as I don't have 2004), although they understandably had to leave out stuff. They left out the 'target' golf mode where you shoot targets for cash, I don't believe Speed Golf made the cut (which I couldn't care less about). What did make it is the 'scenarios' (which I like) "Eagle Hunt" and, obviously, career tournaments. There are 5 courses here: Bay Hill, St. Andrews, TPC Scottsdale, The Highlands (fantasy), and The Predator (fantasy). I believe they are all unlocked at the outset.


Swings are done with the D-pad, similarly to how you use the left stick in the console version. Also fades and draws are done by doing an angled shot (up-left, down-left, etc) on the D-pad. You can partially fade or draw by using a single direction on either the up or downswing, and then an angled swing on the other part of the swing.


Also like the console version, you can 'overpower shots' and apply spin while the ball is in flight. To do either, you tap the R or L buttons while swinging (for power shots)and while the ball is in flight (for spin). This turns out to make these kinds of shots easier to do than the console version.


Another addition is a power percentage reading that pops up as soon as you've taken your swing. In the console version, it was a guessing game as to how much power you actually applied, given the higher resolution and more accurate representation that you have on the console, this is understandable and even preferable as it feels more true-to-life. But it's a nice change for the miniaturized version to be shown your exact power level (and it's fair that it shows up only after your shot).


One of my initial reservations arose when I played my first round, in Practice mode, when I discovered that there was no save option. I was a bit freaked out as I'd hate to always have to finish an 18-hole round in one go. But I found out that, as long as you're in career mode, you can save the game and resume later, whew!


Another thing I noticed is that, at bottom, this is not a 3D game. It looks 3D when you take a tee or fariway shot (the player animation is nice), but in modes where you setup your shot, watch your shot fly down the course, and putt...it's all 2D top view. When you return to 'third person' view after setting-up your shot direction, it does redraw the course to reflect the direction, and it does a nice job. After adjusting to this idea, it's really not a big deal. The physics do seem quiet sophisticated, and while you don't get to see nice 3D views of the ball rolling down the fairway, or even on the green, you do get the sense that the calculations are realistic.


The putting system seems easier than in the console version. You have the familiar "Caddie Tip" which tells you how far past the hole and left or right you need to shoot, but what makes it easier is a readout that tells you in feet and inches just how far you are aiming. It does not tell you left or right distance, but that's relatively easy to guess based on the distance (for example if your caddy says shoot 1' long and 1' left, you can move it 1' long via the readout and then 'see' what 1' left needs to be). Putting is done in top-view, but once the ball gets close to the hole, the game cuts to a close-up of the hole and a rather cheesy representation of the ball rolling toward it. If the ball is rolling toward you, it scales up to try and simulate the fact it's getting closer...which is understandable given that the GBA doesn't natively do 'true' 3D. In the end, the cheesiness of the look is forgiven by the realistic feel of the outcome, if that makes sense.


All in all I'm happy with this game. It does seem a tad easier than on the console, but for a portable version, it's quite a quality product.


That's all I can think of for now, if/when I find anything new I'll post it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just picked TW up after reading Ed's positive words. He was right-on about everything. The game plays well and has realistic golf physics. The putting is made easier by the caddy tips, and the GBA caddy tips are much more accurate than the Cube version. I won my first two career tournaments yesterday and spent my attribute points evenly over the skill categories.


I prefer the top-down view over the actual swing camera, and thankfully much more time is spent in that orientation. The course graphics in top-down mode are beautiful. Overall, a great pickup for golf fans.

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