Saturday, September 08, 2007

Golf Commentators Smoke Crack

I decided to give Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’08 a try this week.

I was very impressed. I’m not a huge golf fan, but this game is fun.

That being said, the last Tiger Woods game I played I think came out in 1997…so I’ll admit that because my last experience of a TW game was over 10 years ago, I’m probably seeing this as far better than someone who played TW 07 would.

That’s the one thing I don’t get about sports games. Why people feel the need to buy every single new version that comes out. If you’re playing on a console, there’s going to be no major graphics leap in a single year…and all you’re paying for is an updated player roster and maybe one or two new features. In other words you’re paying for a full price ‘new game’, with the equivalent of a $10 update’s worth of extra content.


For once, I only have a handful of complaints about this game, and one of them comes under the heading of ‘Funny’ rather than ‘problem’.

The only real problems I have are with the experience system and the spectators.

It’s strange. The last TW game I played had no experience system whatsoever. In TW 08, you gain RPG-like experience points as you play, and can spend these points on your power, long game, short game or putting.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t quite work, and rather than just being ‘good’ at the game, your skill seems to vary wildly depending on the course or event you’re playing. For example, I won the first event of the FedEx cup by completing the event with 18 strokes less than my nearest competitor. In the second event, I lost by over 30 strokes more than the second to last place player. I was playing in exactly the same way, and there were no difficult conditions on the second event…but I was hitting the ball perfectly (not my opinion, but from the swing stats), but the ball just seemed to have a mind of its own.

It’s just plain odd. One minute you’re playing at international level and winning by miles. The next you’re playing against ‘hack’ players and struggling.

I’m all for experience and leveling up your golfer, but you just shouldn’t be able to win an international event and then struggle to get in the top 10 of an amateur tournament.

My second gripe is the spectators, in that they will actually block your ball. Too many times, I hit the ball, it bounced on the fairway, and instead of bouncing over a patch of rough onto the green, it would hit a spectator who would refuse to get out of the way.

Then, when hitting from the rough, the spectators in a direct line to the hole will be removed…but if it’s windy, and you need to curl in a shot, or decide to hit to the side to chip from the fairway, you’re screwed. Seriously, this game needs a ‘Tell the spectators to get the fuck out of the way’ option.

My last ‘gripe’ comes under the heading of ‘funny’. This gripe is simple…the commentators are on crack.

Very early on you learn to completely ignore their putting advice, because they seem to deliberately try to put you off. They’ll tell you a straight-shot will curve and vice-versa.

Secondly, while they’ll comment on each stroke, they seem to have no concept of the rest of the game. More times than I could count I’d be in an unbeatable position (IE, 12 strokes ahead and on the last hole) and the announcer would say:

“He’s under a lot of pressure to make this birdie.”

Huh? Pressure? I’m two inches from the hole, 12 strokes in the lead, and everyone else has finished. The only way I can lost first place is by taking 13 strokes to make a 2 inch putt. Too finish last, I’d have to take about 30 strokes!

Here are some other classics:

“Well, he can’t be satisfied with being on the green if he’s that far from the hole.”

Umm, yeah, I can…especially considering it’s a par 4 and I just got on the green with my tee shot.

This next one is a great example of them not remembering what they just said. I was taking my shot and one said:

“It’s 280 yards to the pin, there’s no way he’s getting there on this shot.”

I whack it and get it on the green. Then he says:

“Well, he just made it on…not a terrible shot”

So first he’s saying it’s pretty much impossible to get to the green, then when I do, instead of being impressed, he criticizes the fact I didn’t get the ball closer to the pin.

Then, they continue to suck up to Tiger Woods like they’re after a bonus:

“To get it to the green from here, you need to bring you’re A-game, in fact, you’d need Tiger’s A-game!”

Then you do, and they criticize you for not getting the ball closer to the pin.

Finally, they continually criticize your swing style. This makes absolutely no sense, because they’d criticize my swing when I’d make a 350 yard drive…and even said what a terrible swing I had when I got a hole in one!

So, yeah…golf commentators are on crack.

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