Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 adds some drastically new gameplay features and modes to the long-running series, bringing life into this great golf simulation, but the annoying and money hungry microstransaction nonsense and novelty Kinect integration distract gamers from an otherwise great game.
The Gameplay and Modes
One of the biggest features that fans of the series always try to complete first would be the tutorial to learn all of the new gameplay mechanics added compared to the prior entry in the series. This time around they hide the tutorial in the career mode on the third event of competition. This may make newcomers to the series feel lost and frustrated because they have to struggle before they can learn anything. One of the biggest things that many companies have been doing is removing the instruction manual from the box, and this will make getting used to the new controls hard to get used to. It's a shock that EA decided to make a section that is all about what's new in the game, but you can't try them out in a practice environment. If you have patience and a lot of trial and error, you will pass each event.
The latest addition to the game modes is the Tiger Legacy Mode. You will be taking control of Tiger from his younger years to his championship wins throughout his career. It's a weird experience to play as "toddler Tiger" but it's funny to watch a two year old hit 150 yard shots.
If you're a fan of the old school mini games the series used to have in the early 2000 days, you will be sorry to find out they are still absent from the series. It was a great addition to play little quick game of T-I-G-E-R, but now you have to play an entire round of golf, and sometimes you may not have enough time to do that.
I typically haven't had a problem with microtransactions or DLC in retail games, but with Tiger Woods PGA Tour13, I feel like EA has their hands out every few minutes asking for another round of Microsoft Points. There's the old Free To Play trick in this game of giving players a currency, coins in this case, and having them earn the currency from their play. Once earned, you can spend your currency to unlock rounds on DLC courses or to purchase boost pins that will give your player an edge in the game – it gives you a taste of the DLC, but nothing more. In this game you can access all the content, unlockables and other doodads, but not without some serious time investment to get coins. They put upgrades and new courses just out of reach for any sane player and push microtransactions as the easy way around your frustration. I wish there was an option to flat out remove the listing for courses and other DLC that are not active on the disc.
The retail copy includes 16 courses, including new five new standout courses: Crooked Stick Golf Course, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Royal Country Down and Valhalla Golf Club. If you purchase the Masters Collector's Edition, you get six additional courses including the PGA National Champion Course. Then there are the 16 additional courses that EA dangles in your face as DLC that will cost you a lot of Microsoft Points.
The integration of Kinect has been heavily advertised with this release and for the games that loved the gold in Kinect Sports Season 2 you're in for quite a treat. It was a nice change from the traditional controls, but I found that you need to have the perfect bend in the knees and swing to get your ball to land where you intended. If you're looking to play competitively or online Kinect isn't for you. It will cause you to have inaccurate shots and will put your score way above par. It's for the laid back gamer looking to have a new experience with the feel of a real golf sim.
This is a fine entry to the series and any hardcore fan will enjoy the new mechanics and modes the game has to offer. Kinect controls will bring a group or party together for a fun casual game that will keep you entertained for hours. With a price tag of $60 it's strange that EA has gone with the Free to Play feel with all the microtransactions that have been thrown in the game. It's a huge distraction and gets annoying quick. With all of that this game is a definite buy for those who love the series or want to enjoy their Kinect for an upgrade to the golf in Kinect Sports, but if you're buying this game just for the Kinect integration you will be sad to find out that the controls are very precise and require patience.
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