Early look at Tiger Woods 08

Posted June 23rd, 2007 at 9:49 am

Tiger Woods 08 screen

Teamxbox has posted up a pre-E3 preview of Tiger 08. After revealing GamerNet and Photo Face on April 11th we hadn’t gotten anything on Tiger until the recent trailer and now this. So it appears that the news and media on the game is getting ready to gear up for its release on August 28th.

This year the franchise has moved from the EA Redwood Shores studio (not EA Canada as stated in the Teamxbox preview) to the Tiburon studio and that has brought some hope that it will come back with a better offering than the last couple years which have been disappointing.

GamerNet adds the entertaining element of user-created content which has been a big hit in other games and looks to be coming up for other titles such as NCAA Football 08. Photo Face will be an interesting addition especially when you combine the two and show yourself off in videos.

But how about some of the other aspects such as gameplay? Not many specifics are known but Teamxbox went into a few details.

From what we saw, if you walked into a room and looked at the game playing on a monitor without knowing it’s a video game, you’d have a moment’s pause and think you were watching a tournament broadcast. It’s that detailed.

The crowd reacts that much more to the ups and downs of a match, and if the ball flies into the spectators, those who are hit respond to their injuries more realistically.

More significantly, the “accuracy ring” you get when you’re preparing your shot indicates the area in which your ball can land. As your skills improve, the ring gets smaller to show the result that your improved ball-striking precision will have on the shot.

On the green side of the action, the developers have revamped the putt preview. The previous tool enabled you to hit a button to bring up the “ideal putt” from your location, though when it came time to make the adjustments before the shot, it was often hard to match the direction and power of the diagrammed putt. In Tiger 08, the choice was made to show you exactly where your ball will end up if you took the shot with the direction and power you currently had set up. However, while it seems that this might be too much of an advantage over the old system, it’s countered by the fact that you can only bring this diagram up once per putt. While we’ll have to see how this plays out in actual play, it appears to be a fairer method of helping you gauge your shot without making it a gimme.

Among the additions to Tiger 08 include five new courses, such as Hilton Head’s Harbour Town, TPC of Boston and the Cog Hill course in Chicago. More LPGA golfers have also been included as playables: In addition to the returning Annika Sorenstam and tour vet Cristie Kerr, you also have the ability to play as rising stars Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.

Perhaps most of all we’re excited by the promise of improved online play. We found it to be severely broken in Tiger 06 and only marginally more stable in Tiger 07, but we’re looking forward to a fully playable Tiger 08 that hopefully won’t drop players mid-match or have a situation where players wanting to play together can’t see each other to meet in the same lobby.

From what we’ve seen so far, the small and large changes made to Tiger 08 are combining into a substantially different and improved game. The foundation, which was always pretty solid, is still there, but it seems like the old clubs are getting new shafts and grips so it’s like getting a fresh start with familiar tools.