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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002
The controls are nice and easy. Swing the analog joystick back and forth smoothly to swing the club, just like in real golf. You can try to over-crank your shot, but the way you do it tends to make the swing not be even, again just like reality. You can choose which clubs to carry, choose which one to use on a given shot, choose how much to swing it and even put spin on the ball.
The starting game helps teach you the controls in a learn-as-you-go manner, so you don't have to study the books to get started. Then your choices open up. You can play on a variety of courses, in both training mode and tournament play. Different tournaments have different players in them, and offer a variety of money prizes. You can play against players drawn from real life, and when you win you unlock new courses and player models (i.e. the physical shape of your computer player).
The physics are beautiful. Balls leave trails in the sand as they slow down, can bury themselves high or low, react to rough and green and fairway.The flag and leaves on the ground clearly show you wind direction, if you don't want to rely on the little graphic indicators in your control area. The balls have markings on them which show you which way they are spinning and how fast they are going. The balls bounce, hop, spin and rebound just as in real life. And when it's an important shot, your heart beats quickly, the thumping affecting your play!
You have a great time playing, enjoying the beautiful graphics of real courses and fantasy setups. The water rushes through streams and crashes against the surf, ambient sounds really add to the experience. The players react quite well in every situation, from great triumphs to tragic defeats.
Learn the difference between match play and tournament play, how different clubs impact the balls, how to get out of different kinds of situations. It not only makes the game more enjoyable, but helps your real life golf game too!
On the downside, the commentary is awful. They tend to rag on you a lot, and their all-knowing powers take away any wonder if a ball is good or bad. They'll tell you long before it lands. You can turn it off, though, which is usually a good choice.
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