Reviewed: November 10, 2006
Released: October 12, 2006
Tiger is back for his second appearance on the PSP system in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07, a whittled down “PGA Lite” version of the console title that shares the same name. But despite the small platform and the reduced content, Tiger has never been better on the handheld.
PGA Tour boasts 12 championship and fantasy courses including Bethpage Black, Pinehurst No. 2, Cog Hill, Pasatiempo, and Fancourt Links., as well as 11 of the world's top players, including Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh, plus the newly added John Daly, Luke Donald, and Ian Poulter. Throw in a pack of game modes, mini-games, wireless multiplayer, and integrated ESPN support and you have quite the handy (and portable) golf package.
Tiger Woods 07 takes great steps to revolutionize the franchise and personalize the experience for each player. It all starts with the new Game Face system that gives you surprising freedom to create your own golfer. It falls well short of the console version but it’s mighty impressive for a handheld.
But creating your own golfer is just the first step in a lengthy career of personal development, as you slowly advance by tweaking stats using skill points earned through gameplay as well as purchasing gloves, shoes, clubs, balls, and other licensed pro shop equipment that will add significant bonuses to your attributes.
The new ESPN integration that allows you to hear live feeds of ESPN radio as well as having a sports ticker scroll along the bottom of the screen with all your favorite sports, teams, scores, and news. This is ESPN integration at its finest and a great addition for the gamer on the go who wants to access ESPN without carrying around a laptop.
So once you have created your golfer and logged a few hours of practice playing the normal stroke, skins, match, and Stableford game modes you can head for the PGA Tour Career mode – the heart of this game. Here, you have access to a massive calendar of events, mid-week training exercises, challenges, and pro tournaments, all leading to the FedEx Cup. You’ll need to train and earn prestige points to qualify to play in many of these events. The bigger the tournament, the more points you earn and the faster your rise to stardom.
If you want to take a break from the demanding PGA Tour there are some fun mini-games to divert your attention. Head to the Shooting Gallery to practice your speed and accuracy or check out Putting Frenzy to sink as many putts within the time limit. These can be enjoyed solo or with a friend via ad hoc or Wi-Fi.
Playing golf on the PSP can be a bit frustrating at times. The analog pad doesn’t feel nearly as nice or intuitive as an actual stick, but it works, and with a bit of practice you’ll get the hang of it. The PSP has the swing meter to show you exactly how hard you are swinging, but everything you do is all based on the skills and stats of your golfer. This means the game starts off as extremely hard with a fresh golfer, then slowly gets easier as your skills improve. Of course, if your ego needs some massaging you can always go play as Tiger and tear up the course with a 10-under par.
Visually, Tiger on the PSP fits somewhere between PS2 quality and Xbox clarity. The splash screens are gorgeous photos that transition nicely into CG courses full of lush green grass and foliage, calm blue water, and a totally functional HUD that overlays the necessary info while staying out of the way of the gameplay.
The characters are definitely far more primitive than their next-gen cousins, but you can still recognize Tiger and the other pros. Custom characters are diverse, but with far less variables available during the creation and customization process. You’ll still manage to create a unique persona that swings and moves like a real golfer.
The camera work is excellent with all sorts of coverage and camera angles, some realistic and others only possibly in a video game. There are excellent replays and you can save your favorite moments to a personal scrapbook that you can share with over players and even view using the PSP system software.
EA Trax delivers up a modest mix of ear-pleasing music for the menus and setup screens. Most gamers will gladly trade in their music for the live ESPN news and radio feeds. It was pretty cool hearing all the latest updates for my favorite sports while creating my character and doing ongoing skill maintenance and pro shop shopping between tournaments.
The environmental and ambient sound effects really bring these courses to life with wind, water, and wildlife, plus all the physical sounds of golf like clubs whiffing through grass, sand, and the striking of the ball against woods and irons or the clank as you hit the flag or drop the ball into the cup.
For rookie golfers, David Feherty and Gary McCord’s commentary might be funny and refreshing, but for anyone who has played a PGA Tour game in the past three years, we’ve heard 90% of this recycled commentary before and it’s getting pretty tired. We need new guys in the booth for 2008 or at least a new script.
While not nearly as comprehensive in content or game modes, Tiger Woods 07 on the PSP is still packed with plenty of gameplay for a handheld system. The ability to play multiplayer games either locally or over the Internet is a huge plus and the mini-games are somewhat useful as a training tool but rather dull when compared to the fantastic batch you can choose from on the console.
A course designer would have been nice, but instead we get My Dream 18, where you can pick your favorite holes from all the courses and assemble your own custom course. You can then invite others to play on that course.
EA gets it right with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 on the PSP. While this new version still lacks a lot of the content available on the big consoles it still delivers quality and fun and lots of challenging golf for the gamer on the go. Heck, you can even play this on the real golf course while you’re waiting your turn.