This year’s tour through the golf course with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14, doesn’t introduce any major innovations, but seems a little more polished than last year’s edition, while both removing and adding new features at the same time.
Easily the coolest feature is the Legends of the Masters mode, which is the main addition to the game and lets golf fans play through a sort of timeline of the sport, going all the way back to the 1930s. As they progress through the timeline, they’ll encounter eight legendary players that will become unlocked and usable after completing challenges. Some of the legends include the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Sam Snead, to name a few. The challenges are interesting and keep things fresh, while helping you improve your golf game. No doubt the best part of this mode is that EA takes a page from NBA 2K12 by changing up the presentation depending on which era you’re playing in. So if you’re playing a game in the 30s for instance, you’ll notice the game will be shown in a sepia color with grain, while the players’ attire also matches the era.
Gameplay mechanics are fairly similar, with the game’s Shot Shaping feature coming back again this year. You’ll need to manipulate the control sticks to angle your shots, which adds a bit more realism due to better simulation of swings. Of course, for those who just want to go up there and hack at the ball, the game’s options allow for the tweaking of the controls, which get closer to older versions of the series.
Career Mode, as expected, is still there, and earning your way into The Masters is the ultimate goal, but you won’t find features like sponsorships or the caddie system anywhere, which is kind of a bummer. Though they didn’t exactly add a whole lot to the gameplay, they were still nice additions to encourage progression. Though Career Mode is still fun to play, there really isn’t as big of a reason to play through it if only because EA now offers Quick Tournaments, which lets uses jump into all four majors right off the bat. It’s both nice for casual players and for those who want to just get down to the nitty gritty but it sort of cannibalizes Career Mode.
Online play is as cool as ever with the game’s Country Club system getting an upgrade, as the player cap has gone up to 100 from 25. Also, you get credits towards your club, regardless if you’re playing in tournaments, career or the challenges against the Legends. You’ll also find Connected Tournaments, which show shot trails of other players as you’re playing so you can see how you fare against others. As for Kinect controls, let’s just now get into them because they suck. The mechanics feel awkward; nuff’ said.
Overall, I like this year’s game more so than last year’s edition and that’s always a good thing. It’s got tighter controls (not counting Kinect) and the additions outweigh the items that were removed from PGA Tour 13.
Final Score: 4 out of 5