Tiger Woods PGA Tour '14

Bogey For The Course

Another year, another Tiger Woods game. At least the real Tiger is good again.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: March 30, 2013
I can’t pinpoint exactly when the “yearly” entries for sports franchises began, but I have a feeling it was John Madden Football ‘93 and beyond. Obviously sports games had sequels before then, but no one felt the need to “update rosters” every year. Once it began with Madden, it soon spread to all the other EA Sports franchises and to pretty much everyone else who was putting out a licensed sports game. For a bit of time 2K tried to buck the trend by slashing over 50% off the price of their yearly football release, but were soon crushed under the thumb of EA’s exclusive licensing deals.


This strategy makes at least some semblance of sense with team sports that turn rosters over pretty quickly. It’s not all that practical to add MORE GAMEPLAY every year to a series that has been honed for 20 years in a sport that doesn’t really change the rules, but updating who’s where can make a big difference, especially in a sport like football where careers can be only a few years long.

It’s a bit more off-putting in a solo sport like golf (or boxing for another example) where almost NOTHING changes from year to year, and the core concepts of the sport are so simple as to not allow for massive leaps in gameplay. Let’s be frank, if you put in Tiger Woods 2010 and Tiger Woods 2014 you wouldn’t see very many core differences at all over the five year span, and barely even any change in the roster. Let’s be clear here. If you own a Tiger Woods game from this generation, there isn’t very much reason at all to update.

So why exactly does EA put out a new game every year? Well, the answer is what you’d think… money. Not only do they put out a new $60 game every year, they’ve taken to locking more and more courses behind DLC. To the best of my knowledge, that DLC doesn’t carry over from one year to the next either. Nor is the DLC all that cheap, so you are looking at a total investment exceeding $100 if you want everything. To be fair, there are over 20 courses included in the base game (and another 8 or so if you spring for the “Historic” edition) but the fantasy courses, included in the game since the dawn of time, are locked up behind DLC. This annoyance is compounded by the fact that almost all modes involve matches on the DLC courses and if you don’t have them, you are forced to skip right over them.

Obviously EA had to include SOMETHING new this year, and the big new offering in Tiger Woods 14 is “Legends”, a title which encompasses a group of historic golfers you can play (most of whom have been in the game at some point in the past), a “Legends of the Majors” mode which is a robust selection of scenarios that seek to replicate some iconic moments in history and a whole slew of presentation changes relevant to different eras. You can hit the links from the turn of the LAST century and play the game bathed solely in sepia tones and forced to use clubs like a Brassie, Mashie and Niblick. There’s also a full LPGA tour tossed in this time around (“Make way for the ladies” as EA so coarsely puts it) and a few upgrades to the online system.

Here’s the rub though… without the DLC a lot of these features might just not be available to you on some days. Imagine my frustration when I joined a Country Club on release day and tried to play in the daily club tournament. Only I couldn’t because the tournament was on a course I didn’t own. DAY ONE the tournament is on a DLC course? Really? That was enough to turn my stomach. I also tried another “connected” tournament only to find THAT was also on a DLC course. Then I started a career and a few rounds in I was forced to skip a tournament because, yes, that was on a DLC course. Fuck off, Tiger Woods.

None of these complaints are my biggest gripe though. While I did not play Tiger Woods 2013, every entry prior to that going back 5 or 6 years had a great suite of minigames like T-I-G-E-R, skins games and a host of others. There is no longer any sign of any of that, taking the entire “party” style of play out of the game. I can’t see why you cannot continue to include those modes even if you don’t change them up very much. Those had been one of the biggest draws to me and when I found no sign of them I regretted having gotten rid of Tiger Woods 2012.

Yes, the gameplay of Tiger Woods is still second to none (not that there is very much competition out there) but there is no need to continue to purchase new entries in the series every year at this point. In fact, if you somehow don’t already own one of the prior entries in the series it is far more economical to purchase any of the earlier editions at a fraction of the price and get not only the same gameplay, but also more content. This is a series that has stagnated this generation and each new entry looks more and more like a straight cash grab with a bloated package of DLC that directly impacts your ability to enjoy all of the features if you don’t purchase it.
The Verdict
7.0

The most damning thing to say about Tiger Woods 2014 is that it gives you no reason to upgrade from prior versions. With a bevy of overpriced DLC and scaled back modes there isn't a whole lot to recommend in this entry compared to earlier ones.

9.0Graphics:

The game continues to look excellent and there are more swing animations than ever. Courses are simply stunning to look at and the character models are easily recognizable.

8.5Sound:

The announcing is quite good and handles different situations with aplomb. It would have been cool if the early 1900's commentary reflected the era better but overall it's pretty strong.

9.0Control:

The swing system is intuitive and the range of difficulties means even your grandma can get out on the links and be competitive, while real pros will be able to adjust their stance and swing with precision.

7.0Gameplay:

There just isn't enough new here, and they've pulled some of the stuff that gave the game variety. The new focus on "everything is a tournament" makes for some bland moments and not much is done to make things like Country Clubs very compelling.