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I appear to be a little different from your average gamer in the sense that I don't like going online to experience multiplayer and much prefer to be able to play alongside someone sat in the same room. As a result, when I find a game that doesn't just focus on online play and instead includes good offline co-op I like to sing its praises. PGA Tour 12: The Masters is one of these games.
Overall, the gameplay here is superb. The graphics are spectacular with every blade of grass appearing to shimmer in the breeze. It actually looks like you're playing a round of golf unlike the rather crude attempts I remember playing on the Sega Mega Drive. The sound is phenomenal; from the thwack of striking the ball to the reaction of the crowd to a misplaced drive. The commentary is varied and doesn't repeat itself every two minutes like many sporting games. At times it is also quite humorous - "that shot is on the green...but in a different area code". Playing is very fun and requires practice just like real golf would. It never gets dull and despite the fact that you are essentially doing the same thing each shot - no two shots are the same.
Now regarding the multiplayer in this game - the main reason I bought it - I have nothing but good things to say. You can play against 3 of your buddies in a variety of golf modes using only the one PS3 controller (great news for those who don't own a money tree). The golf modes you can play are vast: stroke play, match play, skins, stableford, greensome, foursomes, fourballs and bloodsome. These last four require 4 players as they are a team vs. team mode where 2 players play against the other two. If you only have 3 players you can add a computer controlled player from the roster of around 20 golfers to make up the numbers - alternatively you can control both players on one team. The number of golfers to play as/against is unfortunately not that vast. There are also noticeable omissions such as Donald, Mickelson, Westwood and McIlroy but the game does include Tiger Woods (obviously), Casey, the Molinari brothers, Poulter, Rose and many other great/average golfers. You can add yourself to this mix by creating your own player and improving their stats in career mode.
During multiplayer you take it in turns to play your shots with the furthest from the green playing first, handing around the one controller as you go. There may be a way to use 2 controllers but I cannot for the life of me figure it out. But since I usually play with 2 other people one controller is ideal (as I don't own 3 controllers). There is a scorecard at the end of each hole which shows the scores so far and the holes played/to come. Load times are a little on the long side between holes but when you consider the graphics they are forgivable.
There are 16 courses included in the game as standard including Augusta National, Pebble Beach, Atlanta, Celtic Manor, St Andrews and many more. You can download more courses from the Playstation store but this will set you back a fair few pennies (almost as much as the game to get all the additional courses!). You can select wind and weather conditions, flagstick difficulty, course conditions and green speed among others. You can choose which holes to play on each course - the full 18 or just your favourites. You can also create your own custom course where you select your favourite holes from the 16 courses (with the exception of Augusta, curiously) and make your own 18 hole course. So you can have a course devoted to par 3s or one devoted to holes including water hazards. This is quick and easy to do and you can make more than one course!
I would definitely recommend this game to anyone looking for a golf game to play against friends. The career mode which I haven't talked about is very immersive for the solo player but the multiplayer is where the fun is in my view. Beating the computer is one thing but beating your close friend in a final hole decider and then rubbing it in their face for weeks is much more satisfying...for the victor anyway. The number of game modes and healthy choice of courses will keep you and your friends amused for many hours so this game is well worth the money. FORE!!
I used to buy the Tiger Woods games each year when they first started making them as they would add several new courses each time but this has changed in latter years to be minor tweaks to the difficulty and improvements in graphics.
As the new version has the Augusta National course I shelled out for this and it's been well worth the investment. Gamplay has changed slightly to make things harder to shoot really low scores, with the limited amount of aids you can use and the more sensitive controls what was once a game that was far to simple now requires more concentration and focus on each shot.
Graphics are very good in general but the representations of some of thereal life golfing stars in the game could benefit from a bit of work. Sounds are what is to be expected with the usual thwacks of the club, murmurs and applaused from the crowd and the occasional bird.
If they brought back some of the fantasy courses that used to be included rather than having them as downloadable content at an extra cost then this would certainly be the best ever Tiger Woods game. As it stands it's a great game and if you're a fair weather golfer like me then it's perfect at this time of year.