Best of all, EA has finally invested in online and user-generated content. As well as multiplayer action on Xbox Live, players can now save particularly impressive holes or drives as clips and post them online as challenges for other players to compete against. Masses have already been uploaded, and EA has put a few of its own online to keep rookies or experts interested. If you want something more long-lasting, there are even complete, recorded nine-hole games you can play against another player. It’s all quite brilliantly done, even if a few of the challenges are either plain stupid or require you to repeat someone else’s once-in-a-lifetime, gobsmacking fluke of a shot.
All in all, although this still isn’t quite the HD Tiger we were hoping for, taken as a whole it is a big step in the right direction. Though the series hasn’t moved on visually and some of the control tweaks seem designed to antagonise weaker players, Tiger 08 isn’t short of innovation despite the lack of a much needed golfing equivalent to Pro Evolution to keep the series on its toes.
That said this is a bigger, richer, better structured game than its predecessor, and one with more depth and long-term lasting value. The less committed virtual golfer can stick happily with the 07 version, and some newcomers might want to save a little stress and money by picking up the old Tiger at a bargain-basement price. For serious video-game golfers, however, the update is by far the better bet. Tiger 08 might take some getting used to, but it’s still the best version of the best golf game in town.
This year’s Tiger scrapes victory by a whisker, but with so little real competition that’s enough to be the best of the best. Serious video-game golfers should look no further.