Still going through the old games but I was also traveling for work for the past 2 weeks but I was able to finish up this game to review it. It’s quite good being the first full-fledged Kinect golf game. If you haven’t played any of the Tiger series yet, here’s a quick synopsis of this year:

The greatest golfer of his generation returns to stalk the fairways in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13. You’ll walk the Tour’s greatest courses right alongside the Tour’s greatest pros, playing with optional Kinect motion controls. Use swing metrics that deliver the most accurate shots yet. For the first time, the tempo of your swing affects your shot, with more speed delivering more distance. Get the sweet spot on the ball with a new Strike Meter and get full post-swing analysis to improve your shots. You’ll play as one of 22 of the world’s best golfers including Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, and Rickie Fowler, relive the greatest moments of Tiger’s career, and more.

Overview

The really good thing about this game is that there is a ton for you to do, I have some disagreements with some things which I’ll get into below but there’s more good than bad and it is a pretty good golf game. You don’t have to have prior Tiger experience in order to be good at this game, but if it’s your first iteration you will probably have to practice. Don’t expect to just be a pro right away at this game.

The Menu

The menu is very congested in my opinion as there are a ton of things so I’ll break it down as usual, but I’ll go through each category in detail. The menu can be controlled via controller, voice and a swipe method using Kinect. The main categories are Notifications, Game Modes, Country Clubs, The Store, Xbox Live, My Golfer, Settings, and EA Sports Extras.

Notifications

Notifications simply list a lot of the new features in Tiger 13, however you can also purchase additional rounds at downloadable courses here either with the in-game currency or Microsoft points. There’s also tournaments you can play in as well and new ones are listed here. It’s basically like a news section so there’s not that much to it.

Game Modes

The game modes are your main area depending on what you want to do. The first option is to Play Now. This just throws you right into the game, you pick a course (all courses are listed, downloadable ones are described as downloadable), and then choose the type of game you want to play. It basically has all of the different types which include:

  • Stroke Play (Lowest number of strokes)
  • Match Play (Win the most holes)
  • Skins (Lowest score on the hole wins the hole with points)
  • Bingo Bango Bongo (Points are awarded with first on the green, closest to the flagstick and lowest score)
  • Stableford (Point system determined by your score on the hole)
  • Alternate Shot (Team game where alternate shots are taken until the ball is holed)
  • Best Ball (Best score among teammates is used)
  • Four Ball (Best individual score among teammates is used)
  • Greensome (Match play game where each team chooses their own tee shot to play)
  • Bloodsome (Match play where the opposing team chooses the tee shot for your team to play)
  • Battle Golf (Match play where the winner can remove a club from their opponents bag)

After choosing a type of game, depending on the type you chose, you will select from 1-4 golfers. After the number of golfers are chosen, you can then customize the course with many options which include:

  • Weather (Sunny, Cloudy, Light Rain, Steady Rain, Random, Live Weather which actually pulls real weather from The Weather Channel)
  • Wind (Calm, Breezy, Windy, Gale Force)
  • Wind Gusts (On or Off)
  • Tee Select (Black, Red, White, Blue)
  • Hole Select (Full 18 Holes, First Nine, Second Nine, All Par 5’s, All Par 4’s, All Par 3’s, Custom Select)
  • Flagstick Select (Easy, Medium, Hard, Expert)
  • Tournament Atmosphere (On or Off, just adds the patrons and cameras)
  • Course Conditions (Slow, Average, Fast, Tournament)
  • Second Cut Length (Short, Medium, Long)
  • Mulligans (On or Off, but if turned on, you cannot earn any bonuses such as XP, Status Points, etc)

After setting your options, you can also choose from 32 golfers (including toddlers that you unlock in the Legacy mode, or use your own custom created character, which I’ll get into later.

Tiger Legacy Challenge

I thought this section was a nice touch, you basically relive all of Tiger’s most memorable moments as well as the “What If” for the future of Tiger’s career. This section consists of more categories so I’ll break each one down as well.

Toddler Years

  • 1978 First Television Appearance
  • 1978 Backyard Golf
  • 1978 Learning From Dad
  • 1979 Tiger Par
  • 1979 Drive, Pitch & Putt Competition
  • 1980 Training With Coach
  • 1982 First Hole In One

Early Years

  • 1983 Always On The Course
  • 1983 Youth Golf Tournament
  • 1984 Junior World Golf Championship
  • 1984 In The Bag
  • 1986 Major Dream: Jack’s 18th Major

Junior Years

  • 1988 Distraction Training
  • 1990 Junior World Golf Championship
  • 1991 Putting Practice
  • 1991 Junior World Golf Championship
  • 1991 Junior AM Player Of The Year

Amateur Years

  • 1994 Perfecting Tiger’s Drive
  • 1994 Tiger At Stanford
  • 1994 U.S. Amateur
  • 1995 First Masters
  • 1996 College Invitational

Rookie Years

  • 1997 First Major Win
  • 1998 First Presidents Cup
  • 1998 Fight The Winds
  • 1998 First Tiger Woods Video Game
  • 1997 Phoenix Open

Tiger Slam

  • 2000 U.S. Open Championship
  • 2000 Open Championship
  • 2000 PGA Championship
  • 2001 The Players Championship
  • 2001 Tiger Slam Complete
  • 2000 Pebble Beach National Pro-AM

Pro Years

  • 2002 Back To Back Masters
  • 2002 U.S. Open Championship
  • 2005 Greatest Shot
  • 2005 Open Practice
  • 2005 Open Championship
  • 2007 Inaugural FedEx Cup Champion
  • 2008 U.S. Open Championship
  • 2008 Walk on Water

Present Day

  • 2010 Ryder Cup
  • 2011 Presidents Cup
  • 2012 Tiger’s Next Major
  • 2012 Tiger Woods Foundation
  • 2013 Masters
  • 2011 Around The Trees

Future

  • 2014 Major Playoff
  • 2014 Major Champions
  • 2015 Tie Jack’s Major Record?
  • 2016 Top Of The World
  • 2018 EA Sports Pro-AM

Record Books

  • 2019 Tiger’s Record

Bonus Challenges

  • Tiger vs. Tiger (Toddler Tiger vs. Teen Tiger)
  • Cover Athlete Challenge (Tiger vs. Marshall Faulk)
  • Knockout (Tiger vs. Sugar Ray Leonard)
  • Young Gun Rickie Fowler (Toddler Tiger vs. Toddler Rickie Fowler)
  • FIFA Challenge (Tiger vs. Rooney, Milner and Cech)
  • Young Gun Rory McIlroy (Toddler Tiger vs. Toddler Rory McIlroy)

There are quite a few and some will be frustrating, however I recommend completing the legacy first as it covers everything in the game and will get you better prepared for when you are ready to start your tour. Completing all of this also unlocks additional characters and some items if I recall correctly. It is a neat thing to follow the life of Tiger, and they even made it realistic where as a toddler, he’s decent but not great, and then when you get to his prime, he’s driving a minimum of 285 yards if I recall, and then as he gets older in the future he starts to not be as good as he is now, so even EA Sports knows his time is over soon, hopefully they start changing it to just PGA Tour and we can experience a legacy mode with many other golfers (even past greats would be fine in my opinion).

Career

Career mode is probably where this game shines the most. It is so in-depth and there is so much to do, I really don’t think you will ever get bored with the game. I played it for about a month straight and still have not completed everything but I’ll try to break this mode down as well but it is very detailed. The section consists of Notifications which are just news pertaining to your career such as completed sponsor challenges, new awards, etc. Then there is Road To The PGA Tour, Your Golfer, Equipment and Clothing.

Road To The PGA Tour

This is your main section that you will probably use the most. It consists of Event Schedule, FedEx Cup Leaderboard, EA Sports Golf Rankings, Sponsors, Career Progress, Masters Trophy Room, PGA Tour Trophy Room, and PGA Tour Settings.

Event Schedule

The schedule is your season schedule but it works in a progression form. You basically have to do well on the first unlocked event to qualify for the next. You are also able to Skip Events if you don’t want to play it as well but you may not qualify for events you want to play. There are events that use the downloadable courses, however you have to the option to change the course if you don’t have that course or want it. When you first begin, you have to create your golfer and then are able to choose from the American, United Kingdom or World Amateur Tours. Each one consists of a Classic event, an Amateur Cup and then the Amateur Championship. Winning everything gets you an amateur shot in the masters. After the Masters you are then able to start your PGA tour career and earn your PGA Tour card. There are a lot of events and whether you change the course or not, changes the type of event it is. There are a total of 26 events in the regular PGA Season.

FedEx Cup Leaderboard

As you progress throughout your career, every event you play and depending on how well you do will rank you in the FedEx Cup Leaderboard. Unfortunately there really isn’t any bonus by winning, only one of the sponsors requires you to win the FedEx Cup, which does happen throughout the entire season, but you can always check status back here.

EA Sports Golf Rankings

This is EA’s version of the FedEx Cup, not much difference and sponsors require you to do good as well here, you do however have to defend your ranking as your career progresses.

Sponsors

The sponsors area lets you choose sponsors as you progress through career. I actually thought this idea was cool, but it needed more. You initially start with EA Sports as your first sponsor, each sponsor has their own objectives for you to achieve such Get 1 Eagle or Get 25 Pars, etc. As you complete these objectives, you level up your sponsor. Each sponsor has 4 levels and with each level, you unlock new equipment and clothing. It’s quite a nice add-on to the already in-depth game. The other 5 sponsors consist of Cleveland Golf, Ping, Callaway, Taylormade and Nike.

Career Progress

Career progress is just kind of a reminder of what your overall goals are. Early on in your career, they will be simple, such as be invited to the masters, but later on they get more difficult such as Win the Green Jacket for a record 7 times (that’s 7 years of career mode). Other than tracking your current progress, that’s really all that’s in this area.

Trophy Rooms

Both the Masters and PGA Tour trophy rooms just keep track of how many times you have won events and what year you won them.

PGA Tour Settings

Under here you can adjust a few aspects of your career mode, the first is being the AI Difficulty. There are 5 levels of difficulty which consist of Easy, Normal, Hard, Very Hard and Expert. What’s cool about changing the difficulty, for example you can start off as easy and then as you get better you can change it to a harder difficulty. But in doing so, you also increase your XP multiplier, giving you options to earn more XP and faster.

The next option is the number of rounds per event. You can choose from 1-4. I found that 4 takes forever so I just went with one. You do however, have the option to simulate additional rounds except the last one if you choose more than 1. This option does not apply any XP multipliers however.

The last option is the live weather to be applied to the courses. I’m assuming it grabs the weather data from where ever the course is located. I can tell it works because a couple of weekends ago it was quite windy everywhere in the states and a course that is nearby, I started to play and it the wind speeds were quite accurate so it was a neat feature. This option also does not apply any XP multipliers.

Your Golfer

This area will actually have whatever name you entered for your golfer. Under here you have more options which I’ll go through briefly. The first is My Skills. Under here is where you can apply XP points that you earn from playing to increase attributes of your golfer. There are 6 main attributes which include Power, Accuracy, Workability, Spin, Recovery and Putting. You earn XP by playing good in the game such as getting a close approach, driving far, hitting fairways and greens in regulation, eagles, birdies and more so it’s not difficult to earn XP, you just need a lot to fully maximize all of your attributes.

The next section is the Golf Bag. Here you can choose all types of things that are in your bag. These include your drivers, woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, putters, balls and grips. You can change the set once you start unlocking different sets as well as the shafts which typically provide extra power. You can also customize which clubs you want, for example instead of a 3 wood, you can select a 5 or 7. It’s really customizable on what your preferences are.

The next section is the statistics and these just basically keep track of everything you have done in your career include your own records such as longest drive, longest putt, etc.

The last area is your appearance. You can basically customize your character to no limits. Changeable options are hair, skin, eyes, brows, face/head/neck, mouth, nose, ears, chin/jaw/cheek, upper and lower body. There is also a “Photo Game Face” but I’m not quite sure how this works. I assumed Kinect would take a picture but then I realized it would have been too grainy, so possibly you have to save a photo to your Xbox or something, but it’d be neat if it was actually you in the game.

Equipment

The equipment section consists of more areas, which I’ll go into briefly. The first area is your clubs, it’s kind of similar to your golf bag selection but it’s more detailed as it gives you ratings based on attributes and you can see everything you can still unlock. You can also preview them and view them in detail.

The next section consists of grips. Unfortunately grips are just personal preference based on color choices. You don’t get any bonus attributes based on different grips. Next we have shafts which only provide a club power bonus ranging from 10-20 but some also do not provide any additional bonus so be careful on which ones you choose.

Lastly are different balls that you can choose. They primarily affect power and spin.

Clothing

The last section consists of all the different types of clothing you can apply to your golfer. It’s broken down by categories again which are, Shirts, Pants, Shoes, Gloves, Socks, Headwear, Glasses and Watches. Unfortunately nothing in here will give you bonus attributes but there is a ton of it to unlock throughout your career.

Course Mastery

This section keeps track of your progress on mastering all of the different courses. The one thing that I appreciated was that if you put in the time and effort, you can purchase all of the downloadable courses free of charge using the in-game currency of coins. The problem with it though is that it takes a while! You need to master a course by completing many objectives such as 5 eagles, 100 birdies, etc. but it is cumulative. How this system works is you spend coins on a course, for example, 1 round at some course may cost 6000 coins. But that is all you get is 1 round which is 18 holes. You get a deal on some courses where it has 3 rounds or some even have 50 for a fair price. After you master the course, that course is fully unlocked and can be used all the time with unlimited play.

Skills Challenge

This area just keeps track of all of your challenges that you have accumulated. Unfortunately these challenges only apply to your country club status if you belong to one.

Boost Pins

Once you do master a course, you also obtain a pin pack for that course. Pins do all kinds of different things, such as adding additional attributes to certain golfers, or on courses adding bonus multipliers and what not. The problem is you only get 5 for free. After you use your 5, you have to purchase refills with either with the in-game currency or Microsoft points, so you have to  use them sparingly when you really need them. You can apply boost pins to any game mode which is kind of nice.

New Features

This area is like an in-game manual of the new features of 13. It consists of EA Sports Country Clubs, Boost Pins, Course Mastery, Tiger Legacy Challenge, Total Swing Control (Swing/Setup), and Skills Challenge. I’m not going to detail it all here but you can reference to it if need be.

Country Clubs

As far as I know, Country Clubs is the online play mode of Tiger. Unfortunately even though some of us pay for Xbox Live, you have to spend even more real money to purchase an online pass and activate the online features which I didn’t since this one was a rental so unfortunately I cannot tell you how good or bad the online features are of this game. From what I read though, you can start your own or join another.

Once you are in one, you gain status as you play the game either offline or online. Your objective is to become a Five-Star Legend Country Club, which I have no idea how long that takes. There’s also a weekly status leaderboard that is competition within your club. There are three ranks to achieve from Members to Club Pros and Club Champions. Whomever is the club champion of that week is rewarded with a substantial coin bonus. Those players that collect status for days in a row also obtain a loyalty bonus. Club Champions also get access to represent their club in special EA Sports Club Championship Events.

The Store

This section only consists of purchasing additional boost pins (in-game currency or real) and coin packs for in-game currency if you don’t want to unlock them all. They do get kind of pricey however, 6000 in-game coins cost 160 Microsoft points. You can also purchase your season ticket here as well which I have no idea what it is, maybe it’s like the others and you get new courses that are released for a set annual price.

Xbox Live

I’m assuming this section allows you to set up your online matches with other players or clubs, but if you don’t purchase the online pass then you have no access to any online features and unfortunately I didn’t so I can’t tell you exactly what this area consists of.

My Golfer

This area allows you manage all of your golfers (up to 4) or create new ones and customize all of their gear. You can also invite your friends and earn extra XP from here as well. I did find that you can’t delete any golfers, only replace them with new ones.

Settings

Under this area we have more categories of course! These include gameplay settings with the first option being the game difficulty level. The default is Pro, but you can choose from Amateur, TOUR Pro and Tournament. Each difficulty level adjusts your XP multiplier. The next one, Swing Difficulty, affects how you swing to apply draws/fades and the strike meter, ranging from Easy to Expert. These also adjust your XP multiplier.

The swing meter can be turned on or off to adjust your XP multiplier and only shows recommended backswing length.  Ball Spin allows you to apply crazy spin to the ball during flight. The Masters event is the only course that you cannot use spin on though. Turning this on or off also adjusts your XP multiplier, actually all of these options adjust your XP multiplier and it does tell you exactly how much. Putt preview gives you one chance to preview where your ball is going to go.

Caddie Mode can be set to automatic, manual or off. You can get recommendations from your caddie on what club to use, distance, power, etc. Green Grid shows both the direction and severity of the green’s slopes. Swing Stick allows you to use either the left stick or the right stick for swinging. Lastly, the handedness you can change from left to right. There actually is no XP multiplier for the last two settings.

Presentation Settings

These settings consist of the aiming style (carry or total distance), the ball flight camera, First Person Camera, Ball Flight Trail, Putting Trail, Animations, Auto-Replay and an option to use the Metric system.

Audio Settings

The audio settings consist of your normal sound effects/commentary and music volume. You can also choose to turn on or off the EA TRAX menu and game music.

EA TRAX

This section allows you to choose which tracks you want to use listen to while you play. By default all are enabled but you can choose certain ones as well.

Kinect Tuner

Lastly you can adjust Kinect using the normal Kinect tuner.

EA SPORTS Extras

This section consists of the achievements, the on-disc instruction manual and the credits.

Better With Kinect

I would have to say I did enjoy this game more with Kinect. Even though standing frontwards to your TV is awkward, it works pretty well. I know some people can’t do it because they look at their TV but even in real-life, you keep your eye on the ball (even if it is imaginary) until you make contact with it and follow through. I really didn’t have any issues using Kinect and it picked up my voice commands and other gestures perfectly.

I think what I liked the most about it is that it is up to you whether you want to use a controller or Kinect to play through the entire game. You are not playing a mini-game here and there, it’s a full-blown in-depth game, so a few days I was lazy and felt like using a controller which was no problem. After I jumped right back in where I left off using Kinect, it’s a really nice setup with this method.

Conclusion

I apologize for this ridiculously long review but this game is very detailed so I tried to hit every aspect of it. Hopefully you can get an understanding of it. I didn’t include any videos as there are tons already out there and it’s golf, so it’s not super exciting. This is how much content should be in games though. I know more developers are wanting us to spend extra money to play online but I don’t think they understand that we already pay for the online service, otherwise they should just mark up those other platforms that don’t cost anything for online service the additional amount.

That’s basically my only issue with this game, it has plenty of content, utilizes both regular and Kinect controls and overall a well done game. It does get repetitive since it’s golf and the same thing over and over, but most sports are, you typically just play different teams, in the golf world, the courses are the different teams so as long as you treat it like a sports title and not some adventure game, it’s a good one. I also praise the ability to purchase DLC with in-game currency, it would be fantastic if other developers did this. We should be rewarded somehow besides achievements for putting all this time and effort into gaming. Anyhow, if you are a golf enthusiast, I definitely recommend this one. Kinect Sports Season 2 golf is fun, but if you want an authentic experience, this one would be the right choice.


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13
Scoring policy: What do these game review scores actually mean?