Review : Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 08

A golf game that leads a lot to be desired.

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: Electronic Arts (EA Sports division)

Price: $40 US

The Good

  • The grass and water looked nice.

The Bad

  • Did not have fun or enjoy any features of the game. Web site offers little to Mac users. May not support USB speakers.
I have been a console gamer for many years, but my PC gamer friends claim that the computer experience is far superior to that of a console. They boast about better graphics, music, and interface, as well as the overall presentation of the game. As a long-time fan of Tiger Woods on Xbox, I looked forward to the offerings of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 08 for the Mac. Unfortunately, the Mac version feels like someone shouted down the hall at EA two weeks before it was due to ship and said "Oh yeah, Bob, We're going to need a version for the Macintosh too!"

The Object of the Game

Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 08 is a customizable golf game. It features the standard PGA Tour courses, such as Cog Hill, TPC Sawgrass, and St. Andrews. You play a standard game in any one of 18 real life courses. Other choices include the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which is a special game mode that puts you in fantasy matches, and a Custom mode where you can play skins, shots, or a number of other fun golf games. You can also play the Tiger Challenge, where you move on a little virtual board game divided into hexagons. Each hexagon has a challenge associated with it as you work your way up to playing against Tiger Woods, who sits many spaces away.

To play the game you click and rotate your character, then click slightly higher on the club to initiate the swing. You move the mouse back, and then forward, while making sure you don't swing off to the sides or swing too fast or slow. It probably won't help your real golf game, but it does let you see courses you may otherwise never see in real life.

A Close Look at the Graphics

The rich, modern designs that are prevalent in all of the Electronic Arts console sports titles are nowhere to be found in Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 08. Boring white hexagons with static cartoon-like pictures litter the main screen, replacing the well-rendered, high-resolution hall and jeweled menu buttons of the Xbox 360 version.

The interface is tired and uninspiring, the create-a-player is flaky and visually unimpressive, and animations are weak, as are the graphics. The included golfers and Game Face golfers share this unflattering fate. Gone are the ultra-realistic character models, as well as most of the shader effects that are present in the Xbox 360 version. These normally glowing features are replaced with flat, muddy textures that fail to impress. Facial and body animation is stiff and weak. Faces seemed to be able to look left and right, while the jaw comically tries to emulate disappointed and enthused expressions.

Yojimbo screen

Tiger from Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08

The crowd members looked particularly uncomfortable and bored, staring blankly in the direction of the golfer. I realize that some elements are meant to be viewed from a distance, but they should look realistic. They don't in Tiger Woods and the crowd standing with hands behind their backs makes me feel like I'm golfing in front of a bunch of zombies.

Yojimbo screen

Crowd Shot From Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08

One of the features I enjoyed most about the Xbox 360 version was the inclusion of Photo Game Face. I was able to make a perfect replica of myself, complete with custom animations and gear. In the Game Face feature in the Mac version, you just tweak an existing model, rather than creating your custom golfer.

Screen resolution options are 800 by 600 and 1024 by 768, with no widescreen options; again, unlike the console version. The game only runs on Intel Macs, excluding the MacBook and Mac Mini that have the GMA950 integrated graphics card, so you expect more resolution options.

Swinging the Club

It seems to me that EA tweaked the mouse control past the point of usability. The backswing and follow-through are stiff, stuttering, unnatural motions. I honestly felt like I was playing golf using marionettes. Even after hours of play, I still have no real grasp on how to effectively use the mouse to swing. No matter what I try, my swing is always imperfect, missing speed, accuracy, or timing for the follow-through.

Background Music

Music in the Mac version is just flat and forgettable. Even if I don't enjoy the style of music that Electronic Arts puts in its games, the tracks are usually memorable and complement the game. While I can still hum tunes from Tiger Woods '04, I can't remember any of the riffs in the new version five minutes after I quit the game. In addition, the usually whimsical comments made by commentators Gary McCord and David Feherty are watered down. Normally their cutting comments are funny and sharp, however the comments in the Mac version are little more than a play-by-play of your shots. There is also spotty information on the web that all the EA games have issues with USB speakers and you may experience crackling or distortion.

The Bottom Line

I am thoroughly disappointed with Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 08. I only hope the other games ported to the Mac run better so that they receive better reviews and EA games continues to support the Mac platform.

Related Product Reviews:
eaGame - Need for Speed Carbon

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor