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Ten years into the PS2 lifecycle and it's heartening to see continued support across the board from EA's sport franchises, and those loyal to the format will be pleased with the appearance of another comprehensive golf sim. These days the bulk of the Tiger Woods budget and focus has shifted to the next-gen iterations however, meaning this version of PGA Tour 10 is neither definitive nor especially ambitious, though a poorly-realised control system continues to be the biggest thorn in its side.
With the left analogue stick, the player simulates the swing of a golf club by pulling back to the desired power range and jabbing forward. Sadly, at the risk of sounding a touch obvious, an analogue stick and a golf club are not the same animal, and the comparative lack of sensitivity in the PS2 analogue control means that hitting 100% power or only 75% can be separated by very little difference in motion. And in snapping the analogue stick forward it's really easy to shank the ball, meaning you're liable to end up driving more erratically than Tiger himself (ho-hum).
The preferable option is the old-style digital control setup, which involves less input but less chance for things to go wrong. Taking aim and then pressing X to judge the power is all that's asked of you; accuracy is taken care of automatically, leaving the player to worry about wind direction and gradient. Once mastered, it's an acceptable enough compromise; making for a simplistic but serviceable bit of golf. The (non-analogue) controls respond well and the putting system is very good, though fans will notice, perhaps inevitably, that changes from last year's game are minimal.
The rest of the game is best described as clinical. Menus are well-structured, offering a healthy selection of options and statistics for the player to peruse as befits an EA sports game, even if everything looks a depressing shade of beige. The golf courses are solid, smooth and faithful recreations of their real-life counterparts, though a touch drab. Creating and moulding your own player is cool, as is adorning them with a multitude of clubs, clothing and general golfing paraphernalia purchased with your tournament winnings. Tiger Woods aside though, the real-life players look distinctly puggish, and the graphics engine on the whole is starting to look a little long in the tooth.
Elsewhere, the audio is pretty much in line with what you'd except from this specific product. Commentary is of a good standard though less detailed than the next-gen versions of the game, whilst there's also a limited selection of slow-tempo instrumental tracks that suit the pursuit of golf about as well as any music can reasonably be expected to. Again, it covers the bases, but nothing really stands out.
For many the pull of the game is the licence itself and if you value the authenticity granted by playing on real courses with real players, there's plenty to like here. The Career mode is cavernously vast with much of the golfing calendar represented and a range of golf courses present that comfortably outnumbers what its rivals offer. Working up the rankings gives rise to new invitations and challenges, whilst earnings from such events can go towards buying new gear. Oddly though, the prize money from one major victory allows you to buy practically everything in the games extensive shop. Other than the Career strand, EA's self-devised cup competition deserves a mention; players begin in a round-robin setup playing a trio of three-hole match play games, before progressing to slightly longer format though equally accessible knockout stages. It's a great idea that would probably be best realised in an online environment, but if you can settle for pass-the-pad multiplayer, it's good fun.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 offers up all the trimmings you'd expect from an EA Sports effort, and golf fans will find plenty to sink their teeth into. However, failure to fix the crocked analogue control, an ageing game engine and a general unwillingness to distinguish itself from its predecessors, means it fails to rise above mediocrity. If you value fun over realism, any and all of the Everybody's Golf games remain a better bet.