Last year Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 used the Ryder Cup, an international tournament as its selling point, which was kind of underwhelming. This year EA Sports took another tournament to use as a focal point for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12, and it's a hell of a lot cooler than the Ryder Cup. It's time for fake golfers to finally get to play in The Masters.
Everything in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 is themed around The Masters, and the prestigious tournament is included in all three versions of the game. The Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii versions all have different control schemes and game modes, but the big things are the same across all three versions.
The entire career mode has been built around working your way up to competing in The Masters. Your character has to progress through amateur leagues, and pass the Q school, a tournament series that golfers have to complete to become pros. After that your golfer competes in a variety of professional tournaments until he or she is invited to The Masters. The new structure is a significant improvement to the career mode. The constant goal of going to The Masters is a nice change of pace from the general tournament structure and all the other major tournaments are in here as well.
Outside of the career mode are even more Masters themed elements. You can recreate nine different "Masters Moments" based on iconic shots from previous tournaments. There's also a mode where you play as Tiger Woods through his four Masters Tournament wins, having to match or beat his scores for each round. As a simulation these extra modes are good additions, though because they all take place on Augusta National, the one golf course that the Masters is played on, they can get tedious if you want to play all of them.
Included with the Masters packaging comes a new commentator, Jim Nantz. It's great to have Nantz in the game, because his voice is iconic to the sport of golf. There's a ton of commentary both from Nantz as well as his co-commentator David Feherty. It does get repetitive, especially when you're putting, but it's very well done. However, I wish they had put in something more exciting when you win The Masters. There should be something to indicate what a momentous occasion it is, instead of just commenting casually about my Par on the 18th.
The actual mechanics of the game haven't been changed much since last year, but there is a noticeable gameplay addition: an in-game caddie. Before nearly every shot, your personal caddie will recommend a couple options. If selected, the game automatically chooses your club, adjusts your angle, and aims, but it's just up to you to take the shot at the power he suggested. For the most part the caddie works great. He's not designed to be perfect, so sometimes his shots aren't the absolute best shot you can take, but if you follow his advice you will golf a good game. Plus he's fully voice-acted and though he gets repetitive, he's well done. Ultimately though, he's a glorified help system, albeit a really well done one. It would have been nice if the caddie explained everything he did to alter the shot so that newer players could learn about the game mechanics, and graduate from having to use him. It's a great new feature though that really opens the game up and makes it more accessible for new and old players alike. There are still plenty of things you have to do yourself, like putting spin on the balls, and power shots, so it's not like the game is playing itself. And you can always choose to turn the caddie off entirely.
Still got it.
The previous improvements to the game have been kept for PGA Tour 12. Features like the use of focus to increase aim, and the experience system will be familiar to those that played the game last year. That said, annoying things like the need to grind your created character for hours if you want to have any hope of competing in an online tournament are also still here. The Wii version has a more limited online mode, without GamerNet, but the bonus features like disc golf and mini-golf are in here still too. I actually prefer disc golf to real golf half the time, but unfortunately you can't play it on the Augusta National, which is a missed opportunity.
On Xbox 360 and PS3 Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 features 16 courses on the disc, and 20 available as DLC. The game finally incorporates DLC courses into the career mode, though in an awkward way. As you play the career, you'll try to enter a tournament attached to a DLC course. The game will stop you and inform you to go purchase the course from the store, or skip the event. Having a good chunk of my career mode blocked off sucks, and comes off as crass. By comparison, the Wii version of the game, which features no DLC, comes with 25 courses. If course amount is a deciding factor in your purchase, the cheaper Wii version has nine more courses than its HD counterparts.