Tiger Woods’ rehabilitation as a marketing tour de force obviously isn’t complete yet – as with last year’s installment, the cover of PGA Tour 13 is a philanderer-free zone. His image must be on the road to recovery, though, as he’s tentatively prodded back into the limelight with a special Legacy mode that sees you replay his life from precocious tot to sporting legend.
Unsurprisingly there’s no driving into fire hydrants or cheating on your wife, and that’s a great shame because the Legacy mode is painfully dull. The key moments in Woods’ remarkable sporting career are presented with little excitement and the golfer’s own commentary is the aural equivalent of sleeping pills.
Unfortunately this isn’t the only disappointing addition to the mix this year, for PGA has also embraced Kinect. The core ideas are sound. Hit balls by swinging like you’re holding a club, crouch down to check out the ground, shade your eyes with your hand to get a bird’s eye view of the course and bark commands at your caddy using the Kinect microphone.
The problem is that Kinect’s recognition of these actions is annoyingly inconsistent – we ended up having to repeat swings multiple times in the hope that Microsoft’s electric eye would notice. Having to face the Kinect and swing your non-existent club sideways to hit the ball into the screen is odd, too. It’s sort of like playing golf in Portal.
The standard controller is much better and provides the accuracy that’s need to take advantage of the game’s impressively deep simulation of golf. A simulation that we would enjoy so much more if it wasn’t for EA’s insistence on making a grab for your wallet at every turn by trying to flog upgrades, new courses and golf trousers. It’s like playing a round of golf while being followed by a persistent tramp who constantly shoves his outstretched hand at you.
It’s must be tricky to have to find a way to distinguish each new iteration of an annual franchise from the one that came before, and this year EA Sports has unfortunately managed to come up with features that detract from, rather than enhance the otherwise rock-solid formula.