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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2001
Review By: Jared Black
Developer:   EA Sports
Publisher:   EA Sports
# of Players:   1-4
Genre:   Golf
ESRB:   Everyone
Date Posted:   3-15-01

To me, no genre is more telling of the differences between console and PC gamers than that of golf games. For years golf games have been a staple amongst PC gamers, with strong sales (and devout followers) of both the PGA Tour and Links series. Despite their success on the PC, golf has never really caught on amongst console gamers. This makes perfect sense though: since golf is a sport typically reserved for older (and richer) people, it makes sense that the older PC crowd would naturally enjoy a good game of golf more. Regardless, itís still important for each console to have a good golf game, and EA has stepped up to fill that void with their release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2001.

Like most EA Sports games on the PS2, the control scheme from the PSone (thanks largely to the almost-identical controller) has made it to the PS2 release of Tiger Woods. Before each shot, you can use the D-pad to line up your shot where you want it to go, as well as judge how hard a swing you must use to reach that area. If you want to hit a ball only 50 yards out of a possible 110 yards with that club, you can move your cursor to the 50 yard mark and it will be represented by an "I Bar" on your swing meter. First press down on your analog stick to start your swing meter, and then press up on the stick to stop the meter and swing your club. The closest you get to 100%, the farther your hit will travel. While the ball is in the air, you can use the D-pad to give it different spins (much like controlling a pitch in most baseball games). Mastering this is critical, as giving the ball a proper spin at just the right time can set you up for some easy shots (such as making the ball "stick" close to the hole instead of rolling past it).

Golf gamers knows that the real skill lies in putting, and here EA has done an outstanding job of giving the gamer complete control over each putt. EA added a nifty "terrain morphing" feature to the game, which really helps you judge hills and valleys on the green. Pressing "triangle" on the controller will shift the camera behind the ball and the terrain will morph to show you how everything looks from the ballís point of view. Pressing "X" on the controller will do the same thing, expect that it will show it from behind the golfer. While the morphing effect is a bit exaggerated, itís a handy visual aid to reading the green and will no doubt be copied on other golf games in the future.

So the gameplay itself is very sound. There is also a good number of different gameplay modes to play in. First, there is 21 different "Play Now" scenarios. These are various challenges you must overcome, such as winning the 18th hold of the Skins with all $1 million on the line. Adding to that are six different game modes, including Tour (basically career mode), Practice, Stroke (multiplayer), Match (one on one), The Skins Game and Tournament (72 rounds). Unfortunately, this variety of game modes isnít as important when there are only a few different options in each. Itís obvious that this game was rushed out the door, as virtually every feature is limited when compared to other golf games (and even other EA Sports games). There are only six golfers to choose from, and these six (Tiger, Calcavecchia, Cink, Damron, Faxon and Leonard) arenít exactly the cream of the crop. Other golfers appear, but only as names on the leaderboard. Adding to this lack of playable golfers is an astounding lack of courses to play on, as there are only three (Spyglass Hill, Poppy Hills and Pebble Beach) to choose from.

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