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Tiger Woods PGA Tour: Extended Playtest
Written by James Hobbs

Wii Sports Golf is excellent fun, undoubtedly, but there is definitely a little something missing. There's one simple thing that Tiger Woods has that immediately makes it feel more realistic and satisfying to play, and it's something seemingly insignificant - you hold down the B trigger, not the A button, to prepare your swing.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour Screenshot
Tiger would disapprove.
That might sound completely inconsequential, but it makes a surprising amount of difference. Holding the B trigger to swing means that you can grasp the Wii remote as you would a golf club, instead of mashing the button on the front down awkwardly, and it makes for an incredibly satisfying swing if you perform it correctly. Tiger Woods PGA Tour certainly rewards a 'proper' golf swing - Wii Sports, on the other hand, can pretty much be played any way you like, as long as the prerequisite motions are carried out.

However, whilst a long drive down the fairway is fairly simple to perform, arriving on the green presents a bit more of a problem. In the unfinished version of the game that we were playing, putting was something of a haphazard affair. The putter is controlled with the remote in exactly the same way as the driver, but it wasn't be quite so effectual - a much harder, over-the-top swing is required to successfully pilot the ball across the green and sink it into the hole. Whilst you can compensate for this lack of power quite easily, it would be nice to see a more finely-tuned putting mechanic implemented in the final version of the game.

The unfinished nature of the game may well have also contributed to the graphics on display. Whilst the animations of Tiger ( I hate saying that ) himself were competent, the rendering of the actual courses was somewhat lacklustre. The grass texturing wasn't particularly detailed, resembling more of a horribly uniform scratchy blob than a diverse grassy environment. The water was similarly poor, easily beaten by the water exhibited in Wii Sports golf. However, it would seem clear that EA have been focusing on getting the control system right, which they have, and presumably the graphics will be in a better state by the time the game goes gold.

The game features a tutorial mode that teaches you how to swing correctly, and it's definitely worth doing. Whilst we didn't have too much trouble after a few swings on the game, a certain well-known games journalist who was playing alongside us couldn't seem to get the hang of it, dismissing the game as 'rubbish.' If you've played golf before you might be able to dive right into the game, but if not, the tutorial is worth exploring.

There's a myriad of different main game modes, similar to those seen in EA's Madden NFL 07, that we didn't have time to explore properly in this unfinished version. We should be getting some more time with the game before it is released in March, so stay tuned to the site for more information on what should hopefully be the definitive golf game on Wii.

I still love Wii Sports Golf, mind.

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