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Tiger Woods 14 gets hyper-real

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What happens when a part-time golfer goes up against the best in the world? GAVIN MANNION finds out when he tries the latest in the Tiger Woods series.

It’s always interesting getting sporting titles in for review in our office. Geoff suddenly forgets how to speak English, Darryn is keen as mustard to strap on his cricket pads to hit the golf course and score a touchdown and Yolanda just points at the pregnancy bump and waddles away. So it’s left to me to review these titles, which works for me, as I actually love sports.

I’m actually even a golfer‚Ķwell a hacker of beautiful fairways and a master of raking the bunkers so this was going to be an experience. The last Tiger Woods I played was Tiger Woods 11 so I was interested to see how the gameplay had improved and what had been added.

The game starts up and you are given the chance to customise your golfer in quite a lot of detail: my guy ended up with a purple spiked goatee and some very angry eyes‚Ķ something which you wouldn’t see on most golf courses in the world.

You then get to choose some clothing and quickly realise that anything you would want to wear outside the house is locked and can only be chosen once you have ranked up significantly, but I’m not a style guru so I slapped on whatever I could and hit the course.

The controls are very straight-forward. When standing on the tee box you push up to zoom to where the ball should land, you can then move that target around and then hit X to zoom back to the tee box. You then use the right stick to choose where you would like to strike the ball and when you are ready an arc is drawn for your swing.

Pull the left stick back until you are happy with the power you are going to use and then push the stick forward to strike the ball. If you do this perfectly the ball will fly as planned (taking wind into account) but if you are a bit ragged with this motion you end up with the ball fading or drawing possibly out of bounds.

It’s a very simple mechanism to get to grips with but pretty difficult to perfect, especially on the short game, which is exactly how I find golf to be in real life.

If you don’t want to use the club the caddie chooses for you then you simply tap R1 or L1 to swap clubs and when you are putting (and are using base settings) you can tap L1 and the game will draw a line of where your putt is going to go.. you can only do this once per shot however and it’s vital if you are new to the game.

And that really is all the game is about… only it is so much more detailed than that. You start off on the amateur tour and after the first tournament you have two more tournaments available. The third tournament is the Web.com qualifier where you need to finish in the top 50 to be allowed to proceed to the next level of the game and unlock more of the tournaments to enter and to start winning some real cash.

Unfortunately try as I might I simply cannot do it. I’ve tried to get past this level a ton of times now and I’m simply too impatient. As in real life, if you rush golf it all goes horribly wrong. The most frustrating thing about golf however is that if you make one big mistake it hurts too much, going out of bounds pretty much confirms you are going to get a double bogey for that hole. Which means that you are then going to try hitting the great shots to make up for the dropped shots, which leads you to drop more shots.

However if you are a real golfer you will know that you mustn’t do that and simply play the safe game and make the cut‚Ķ I’m just not very good at listening to the sensible voice in my head.

But in true EA Sports style the single career mode isn’t the only option that is available in the game. In fact there are tons of other options including

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