I've played a lot of golf games over the years, from the arcadey Hot Shots series to my all-time favorite, Links 2004. But I've never played anything quite like Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. For someone new to the series on Wii, its MotionPlus controls aren't just a revelation -- they're the only way I want to play golf games from now on.
%Gallery-87857%For veteran golfers, MotionPlus provides an expert level of precision that not only calls for practiced, realistic swinging, but it also makes the experience feel less like a game and more like a sport. You don't control ball spin in the air -- everything boils down to your swing and knowledge of how real-world golf is played. It's a leap forward for me, who's used to dealing with analog stick putting and driving.
That's not to say the game has a high barrier of entry. Amateur putters can customize a more forgiving experience or even take the MotionPlus out of the equation to simplify things even more. Besides, there are plenty of distractions from the core golf experience, including -- as in previous years of PGA Tour-- a bunch of different mini-games and even the beloved sport of George Costanza, Frolf.
With the development of persistent character attributes like power; accuracy; recovery; and spin or the new "True View" first-person golfing that lets you monitor your swing in real time, you'll likely find that your character and real-world skills will grow in tandem.
This is why Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 succeeds. It feels like I'm golfing, not being frustrated by seemingly infinitely lucky AI or grinding to unlock characters and other in-game items. Sure, those unlockables are there if you want to partake, but for me, the fundamentals are so solid that I was motivated by just the pleasure of teeing off. If I had my own clubs and lived close enough to a course, I feel like this could help me actually become a better golfer.
After this, my first time playing golf with MotionPlus, I can't imagine going back to using a thumbstick. I was pretty inconsistent with the Wiimote at the start, but its superiority over the classic control methods quickly became apparent. It's simply more fun to play with MotionPlus, even if it felt a bit like learning how to ride a bike all over again.
If you've found yourself unsatisfied with golf offerings on the PS3 and 360 in recent years, give this one a shot. It might not have the graphical polish of the other consoles, but you won't find a better pure golfing experience.
This review is based on the retail version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 provided by EA.