STAFF REVIEW of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 (Xbox)

Monday, February 17, 2003.
by Rick Wallace

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 Box art Silence comes over the crowd as Tiger lines his birdie putt up for the win. He stands over the ball and takes his stroke. Its in the hole!! Tiger dominates yet another tourney.

And that?s just what Tiger Woods 2003 has done on the Xbox. It has dominated the small community of golfing titles available. This game has everything you want in a console golfing game. Graphics, gameplay, control, and sounds, its all here.

All the negativity towards EA lately should be set aside for this great game. EA even offers online tourneys for players to compete in using a ?submit your code? system. So to a degree the game is online, but I know that will not satisfy most Xbox gamers online expectations. If anything just pick this game up for a quick rental and you?ll soon see the addiction so many true life golfers have with this game.

There are many different gameplay options available. Match play, stroke play, Tiger Challenge, Scenarios, Online Tourneys, and that?s just a few. Your best option to start the game would be to compete in matches with you friends to build up money to add stats to your golfer. 105 in each stat category is the best you can have, just so you know. You also may want to try the skill zone, as you can build quite a hefty purse to buy stats with.

The skill zone consists of hitting golf balls onto bulls-eye targets at different distances. You?ll have to master the forward spin and backspin to keep the ball on the target.

Match play and stroke play are self explanatory for the golf fan. Match play consists of hole by hole play, whoever finishes the current hole wins that hole and receives one point. This will continue through 9 or 18 holes until a winner is declared. The winner is the one who finished the most holes first. (Just a rough description of it) Stroke play is just standard golf. The lower your score at the end of the round the better. Lowest scores obviously wins.

The Tiger Challenge consists of 25 different challenges. Some are one on one, and some are skins or match play events against several computer players. Your goal is to complete all the events and earn your Tiger tour card.

Speed golf is a 1 or 2 player split screen. The object is to beat race your opponent from tee to green trying to be the first one to finish the hole. You?ll receive money for accomplishing certain events before your opponent such as being the first one to drove off the tee. It can get quite addicting so just beware.

Those are just a few of the gameplay options you have to choose from.

Tiger Woods 2003 uses an easy analog stick interface for hitting the ball. Pull the stick back for your backswing and push it forward for your forward swing. You can add power and spin by tapping the white or black buttons during your swing and during the flight of the ball. The spinning of the ball can be become quite useful. Putting can become quite easy once you get the general distances down. Be sure to play the wind as it will come into play almost always.

Overall gameplay is solid and offers quite a bit of replay value, whether it be playing in online tourneys or just sitting around with friends. The game can get quite easy after playing for hours and hours, and especially once you get all your stats built up.

EA has done an outstanding job recreating the real courses offered in Tiger Woods 2003.Even the fantasy courses look great with sea spray and fog. Trees sway, and flags flap in the wind. The sand blasts look excellent when coming out of the bunkers, not that you really want to see this. The water on the courses is quite basic with no real special effects. You?ll take notice to a lot of Easter Eggs planted throughout the courses such as wildlife and other objects. I won?t delve into them but keep your eyes open and take a look around every once in a while. You?ll find some interesting things.

One of the coolest features at first is the slow motion for great shots. After a few times though this can get quite annoying. It does give you time to get some good spin on the ball though, so I guess that?s a plus. Here?s a hint, when your heart is beating hard(you?ll feel this via the vibrating controller) just leave the shot go. Don?t add any spin until the last minute if needed. I?d say 7 times out of 10 the ball may be going straight into the hole.

The sounds in the game are great. From the menu soundtracks with some rocking tunes, to the gentle sound of the breeze swaying through the trees at Pebble Beach. You?ll have birds chirping, planes flying over, crowds cheering, even ?Nessie? the mysterious sea monster makes a cameo voice over. All the sounds are well done and well placed throughout the game. You?ll notice sounds getting closer and farther away as you move through the golf courses. Definitely have the surround sound on for this one. It adds to the whole experience.

The heartbeat is about the only annoying thing in the game. This occurs during a clutch shot or eacht ime you are trying to reach the green in 2 on a par 5.

Make this game Xbox Live compatible. Man it would be awesome to have some great golfing tourneys on XBL. Also, get rid of the slow motion cut scenes. It makes the game boring eventually especially when you know you are going to have a great shot no matter what and just set the controller down and let the game do its thing. Make the players think is all I am saying.

Make courses available for download via XBL.

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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