Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters

Who Wears a Kilt and Wins the Masters? This Guy.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters had us seeing green. For a lot of reasons.
Author: Scott Rodgers
Published: April 9, 2011
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I grew up near the border of South Carolina and Georgia, less than an hour from Augusta, in fact. When time rolled around for The Masters it was, rightfully so, a huge deal. So upon finding out that Tiger Woods’ newest video game would feature the legendary Augusta greens, well I just had to play it. Even with all of the controversy surrounding how the title is handling microtransactions, I wanted to take some time to really see how much of an impact the “missing” courses had on the game. So while this review is a bit tardy compared to other outlets, I can honestly say I saw everything the game had to offer. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters has a lot of big additions other than that certain green jacket (even though a lot of the additions revolve around it) and it’s much more than the standard “yearly roster update” that most sports games seem to get. There’s a slew of new features that drastically change the game and most of them are positive.

Namely the brand new caddie system, which is a godsend for those who don’t know the difference between an iron and a wedge. The caddie is your right hand man and makes recommendations on how to attack a putting green or how hard to hammer your third shot of a par five. The caddie does not allow you to just turn your brain off and hit where you’re told to though. I found that I agreed with my AI buddy on how to open a whole but usually went with my own intuition the closer I got to the hole (especially in putting strength). As I achieved course proficiency not only did my own understanding improve, but my caddie’s recommendations became nearly flawless. I lost track of how many times I was able to save a shot that bounced into the second cut or plopped into a bunker and landed it right on the green just from following his advice. Of course this feature can be turned off, which I did after he kept telling me how great I was putting while I had to two putt everything (sarcastic jerk). I really can’t say enough good things for this feature. It made the game more accessible than any golf game I can remember, save the old Hot Shots Golf games on the original PlayStation (when my dad was my caddie).

Other than Augusta National itself (and let me add that even in the game it is the greenest course I have ever seen) a lot has been done in this year’s iteration of the franchise around the history of the tournament. The Masters Moments are really challenging and provide some awesome moments. Remember Phil Mickelson’s shot on 13 in 2010 where he had to get it right over the water hazard? Yep, you get a chance to do that. Arnold Palmer’s eagle on that very same hole in 1958? You get your turn for glory. Really, this mode is perfect for those quick gaming sessions so you don’t have to sink a bunch of time into 18 holes. There’s another feature which centers strictly around Tiger’s four wins where you try to beat his scores in each round. Also in this mode you get to go head to head with classic Masters scores and even the current field. I got to admit, I found it fun to go strive for strive with Rory McIlroy this year and I wish more games in the sports genre could bridge that gap between reality and video games. These may not be as challenging as getting that one perfect shot in the Masters Moments but I got to say there were times I felt like I was chasing ghosts and they’re no small feat. I don’t know if you would believe this, but Tiger Woods is a pretty good golfer.

The broadcast team of Jim Nantz and David Feherty add more depth to the presentation. Sadly, their commentary is more shallow than a puddle because by the third day of my very first tournament they were saying the exact same lines as they did on round one. The sound effects for the action itself are spot on, but it’s kind of hard to screw up a club striking a golf ball. Other parts of the presentation are hit or miss. While the courses look spectacular (especially the new 3D grass), everyone who isn’t a golfer looks like a no-face, textureless humanoid. When I was flipping through the angles after a nice 15 foot putt for eagle I couldn’t take my eyes off of a cameraman who literally had a pixelated line for his eye and a slightly longer line for his mouth and no nose to speak of. While I can’t say it did much to detract from the experience it’s very noticeable after you see it that first time. At least their golf claps looked rather realistic.
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