Reviewed: May 18, 2002
Released: February 26, 2002
How times have changed in the world of golf simulation games. Until two years ago I was an avid purchaser of golf games such as Links and Microsoft Golf. When I was given the opportunity to review Electronic Art’s Tiger Wood’s PGA Tour 2002 I hoped that they had put a new edge on the electronic golf medium. This game has lived up to my expectation by providing a true to form golf game combined with graphical and audio qualities that are above average.
Tiger Wood’s PGA Tour 2002 is a game that craves for a top of the line computer system if you wish to utilize all the features EA Sports has provided. I first played this game on a 466 MHz system with 128MB RAM. In order to play without some slowdown and jerkiness I had to modify the graphical quality. When I finished building my new 1.6 GHz system with 512MB RAM with the same audio and video card setup I was able to play this game will all possible options turned on. There was very little jerkiness found with this new setup.
Thus I would have to recommend that you have a computer that is at least 733 MHz or higher with at least 128MB RAM. You will be glad if you have a system that has high hardware standards, and if you are a golf fan it may be worth it to spend some money to upgrade your machine’s memory and video so you can to play this game the way the developers want you to - with all the options turned on.
The game play was excellent in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002 for several reasons; especially the True Swing Technology that EA Sports has provided. There are fourteen game types available in addition to the normal seasons and practice modes. I also must note that the practice was excellent in that it provided a driving range, chipping and putting practice, as well as individual hole practice.
Also included in this game were six fabulous PGA courses that are also the best known: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Poppy Hills, Spyglass Hill, TPC Sawgrass, Royal Birdale and Princeville. If you happen to think that your will tire easily of these courses, you are probably wrong. Each course is designed to resemble the real courses due to the extensive research and implementation by EA Sports and the developer, Headgate Studios.
Another option included in this game was the Course Architect, which will allow you to create or recreate your favorite golf course, something which I am undertaking now. This is an excellent feature and a great way to extend the life of this title.
The number of available players that you can either pretend to be or play against was great to see. You can of course be Tiger Woods or other PGA greats such as Justin Leonard, Jesper Parnevik, Vjay Singh and Brad Faxon among others. This game also includes the option to create your own player who is fully customizable, including the sex and clothes. These created players are capable of developing more skills as you continue playing the game.
True Swing Technology is what sets Tiger Wood’s PGA Tour 2002 above other golf games I have experienced before. True Swing Technology is rather precise in that you will see your golfer move as smoothly as you move your mouse. These movements were the most precise when I used my trackball. It must be noted that practice makes perfect with this True Swing stroke.
If you prefer the more traditional computer golf swing, this game also provides the classic double or triple click swing stroke, which is found in most other golf games. Once you get accustomed to your method of clicking overall gameplay was great.
Weather elements seemed life like and one had to adjust your game accordingly. Grid line usage on the greens was also available and proved to be a valuable tool in determining elevations and how the greens were sloping.
Electronic Arts has designed Tiger Wood’s PGA Tour 2002 using a new 3D engine that is vastly improved and comparative in quality to their other sport selections such as FIFA and NHL. Over all this game provides realistic environments that are rather nice to view. I noted that water surfaces appear to be reflective and showing the proper movements from either a ball splashing into it or wind blowing over the water.
Also of note is that the user can manipulate the camera shots, so that you may look at a shot many different ways. Weather conditions also could be changed and were reflected realistically in the quality of game play graphics.
I did notice some glitches in the animation of shots. It seemed like whenever your shot went close to the trees the screen would show the trees and then they would disappear. However, one time when I hit the ball in an “empty” area the ball ended up hitting an invisible tree and bouncing into the fairway.
Another item that is hopefully improved before the 2003 version of this game is the player’s facial animations. An example of this was Tiger himself when he did his famous air punch after completing a chip in.
There are four areas of sounds in this game, ambient sounds, music, TV announcers, and the crowds. Ambient sounds are ones that are created by the environment such as flowing water, chirping birds or the wind. There was a nice balance of these ambient sounds throughout the game.
All the games are being commented by famous golf announcers David Feherty and Bill Macatee. Both of these announcers provided realistic comments like those heard on televised golf matches, as well as useful advice at the end of a game. Finally the crowd also provides background noises, as they do on television or in real life. I rather enjoyed their reaction when I got a hole in one on a par 3 once.
With the fourteen game types as well as season and practice options available many hours of enjoyment are available. In fact, I am still enjoying this game weeks after reviewing it. The average stroke game varies, but usually was about 30 to 50 minutes long. Game length is also variable due to the various options and settings, but you will certainly enjoy the game however long it takes to play.
Online gaming is available for Tiger Wood’s PGA Tour 2002 either via a LAN against your friends or online. The online option is easy to setup once you get an account from the EA Sports Net Server. Once you have an account you will be able to enter a worldwide tournament in all game modes except for season or practice. Online gaming will only be available through March 1st 2003 according to the website.
Tiger Wood’s PGA Tour 2002 is a good golf simulation that has lived up to my expectations by providing a true to form golf game combined with graphical and audio qualities that set it above the competition. Although this game has some graphical glitches as well as a need of a computer that is better than EA Sports’ unrealistic minimum recommendations I would still purchase this game if you are looking for a golf game that will give you many hours of enjoyment. The True Swing Technology introduced in this game is what makes it stand apart from the competition.