I’ve been prolonging this one hoping a patch would be released, but it still hasn’t and I gave up on it. There are a lot of issues with this one compared to 13, but in case you haven’t been following along, here’s the short synopsis:

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 lets you set your sights on history. Chase the Grand  Slam as you play all four Majors for the first time in a video game! Play  historic events from the PGA Championship, the Open Championship, the Masters,  and the U.S. Open. Go up against the biggest stars of today from the PGA and the  LPGA or play against the game’s greats, including Jack Nicklaus and Arnold  Palmer. Experience the game’s greatest moments with courses and equipment  straight out of golfing history. Play on over 20 championship courses with  dynamic weather conditions and Kinect support. And for the first time, you can  even hit the links at night.

Overview

This years iteration has some new things and some things that were introduced in 13 are now gone. I feel EA went backwards with this one and to make matters worse, they are nickel and diming us to death and this one proves it. As I mentioned, there are a lot of issues with this one, there’s really not much content wise, so I’d stay away from this one, Tiger Woods 13 was much better and you can compare my reviews.

What’s New

This should really be a what’s missing section since it seems there’s more things removed than added, but since EA created another video of what’s new, I’ll let you see for yourself. Yes, the audio is skipping because that’s how bad this game is. It can’t keep up with a lot of frame rates and I even had it installed to the hard drive. You can view the video below:

The Menu

The menu seems a little bit more organized this year, and consists of the following categories; Pro Shop, My Golfers, Career, Legends of the Majors, Quick Play, Connected Tournaments, Country Clubs, Xbox Live, Settings and Extras. As usual, I’ll break each one down. You can use the controller or Kinect to navigate, although certain areas are controller only so it’s kind of pointless to frustrate yourself using Kinect when the controller is much more efficient.

Pro Shop

This is a more categorized area for purchasing everything. As in Tiger Woods 13, the coin system is back but this year you can only use in-game coins to purchase pins and to upgrade your golfer if you don’t feel like playing all of the courses. It’s such a waste and I’m very disappointed we can’t purchase real DLC again by working our butts off playing the game and winning coins. The Pro Shop is categorized into the following sections; Course Shop, Coin Shop, Pin Shop, Pin Collection, Upgrade My Golfer and Season Ticket Shop.

Course shop allows you to buy the DLC courses with real money. Coin Shop allows you to purchase additional coins with real money (there’s really no point to it). Pin Shop allows you to use your in-game coins to buy pins, although pins can only be used a certain number of times. Pin Collection lets you review what pins you have unlocked, Upgrade My Golfer allows you to use in-game coins to gain experience points fast and Season Ticket Shop allows you to purchase the season pass to enable the online features.

My Golfers

The my golfers section allows you manage all of your golfers. You can edit your current roster or create new golfers. You can also set up more options but I’ll go into detail in the Career section. Also to note, you can import your TW13 golfers and gain a bonus of a lot of XP. I was able to level up immediately to 60 out of 75 levels, so it kind of negates the whole needing coins to upgrade.

Career

The career area is the main single player mode of the game. You only have a couple of options in here, My Career and Create Golfer. Here, we’ll go into the details about creating/editing golfers. When you edit your golfer, you can modify the skills, golf bag, view golfer statistics, change the appearance (this also allows you to add in the photo game face again), and adjust your swing style which covers the style, shape, trajectory and handedness.

Next, you can modify your clothing. There is a lot of clothing in here all categorized as well, although you don’t get any bonuses for different types. The main areas of clothing are shirts, pants, shoes, gloves, socks, headwear, glasses and watches. It would have been nice by unlocking clothes gave you bonuses such as the clubs do.

Lastly, you can modify your equipment. Your equipment is categorized by clubs, grips, shafts and balls. The only items that improve your skills and give you bonuses are the clubs, grips and balls. Shafts are just for color basically.

The other things you can do in the career area are Play Next Event which allows you to choose which events you want to play in, I’ll go into more detail further, view your career info, view the stats and leaderboards and finally view your trophies. When you start your career, you play in the US Amateur Championship sponsored by the USGA. After completing this, you then play a round at the Web.com Tour Q School. After advancing through this, you then play in the Web.com Tour. You only have to win 3 of the following to earn your PGA Tour Card. The tour consists of:

  • Web.com Tour Season Open
  • West Coast Classic
  • New York Open
  • UK Invitational
  • Island Championship
  • Hotel Fitness Championship
  • Chiquita Classic
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship
  • Web.com Tour Championship

Once you win 3, you can finally proceed onto the PGA Tour. This year has the following tournaments:

  • WGC-HSBC Champions
  • Winter Open
  • Champions Cup
  • Tiburon Classic
  • Farmers Insurance Open
  • Waste Management Phoenix Open
  • AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AM
  • The Honda Classic
  • WGC-Cadillac Championship
  • West Coast Invitational
  • Canada Classic
  • Masters Tournament
  • Valero Texas Open
  • Zurich Classic of New Orleans
  • THE PLAYERS Championship
  • Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
  • The Memorial Tournament
  • Shootout Classic
  • US Open Championship
  • Travelers Championship
  • Charity Classic
  • Worldwide Championship
  • Summer Cup
  • The Open Championship
  • International Challenge
  • Ocean View Championship
  • PGA Championship
  • The Barclays
  • Deutsche Bank Championship
  • BMW Championship
  • TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola

Sure there seem to be a lot of tournaments, but does it really matter whether you play in a Nationwide or All-State insurance championship? Last year, I didn’t bother posting them because they randomized but I was able to fly through the career, this year is to time consuming so I didn’t see if the following year changed tournaments. Basically, that’s about it to the Career mode, you do get some goals to achieve during your career.

Legends of the Majors

This is the new challenge mode for this year. EA has seemed to borrow NBA 2K12’s Greatest Mode which allows you to play in that era and covers 1837 to the present. It’s neat to play in the old days using old clubs, as I had no clue woods all had different names back then. Going through the legends mode does make you appreciate technology as the different era’s, the clubs only get better and the game of golf became easier. It’s a nice history lesson.

There are 9 legends in this mode, which include:

  • Seve Ballesteros
  • Ben Hogan
  • Bobby Jones
  • Jack Nicklaus
  • Arnold Palmer
  • Gary Player
  • Sam Snead
  • Lee Trevino
  • Tiger Woods

There are other golfers you play with, but it seems the mode is only focused on these 9. That’s all the good things about the mode. What this mode should really be called is Legends of the Wind. Every single legend challenge is a pain because you are playing in hurricane weather. It’s so far from realistic it’s not even a joke. Another thing EA decided to remove was the caddy assistance, to help you out with the tough holes. I became so frustrated with this mode that I gave up. I rarely give up on games, but it’s that irritating. I wasn’t able to complete the goal needed for Tiger in his first visit to St. Andrews. The greens are ridiculous if you’ve ever played the course and it’s next to impossible to beat the challenge, so I never did finish the mode.

There are 2 challenges, you can either win the event or you can “legend” the event. It’s easy at first, but as you go on, it just becomes ridiculous as you just hope to win instead of trying to legend everything. Each era gives you a Legend challenge against that player. Beating them unlocks them for regular game use. Below is a legend match. The first video is the introduction to that legend which you can view here:

The next video is the actual gameplay using Kinect, which works fine for the most part, but you’ll notice at the end, the game froze up on me – that’s how ridiculous this game is. You can view it below:

Quick Play

This mode allows you to just jump right into the game, although I can’t imagine this game would excite anyone that much. Anyhow, there’s 3 main areas; Featured Event, Quick Tournaments and Practice Round.

Featured Event
This mode allows you to play a real featured event happening in the present time. There are a few different options to choose from, but I didn’t find it that special.

Quick Tournaments
This mode allows you to skip the whole career mode completely and jump right into a tournament. The list of tournaments you can choose from are:

  • PGA Tour
  • Masters Tournament
  • US Open Championship
  • The Open Championship
  • PGA Championship
  • LPGA Tour
  • EA Sports Tour

Practice Round
This mode allows you to just mess around and play or practice with what you need. You can choose from the following courses:

  • Atlanta Athletic Club
  • Augusta National
  • Crooked Stick
  • East Lake
  • Kiawah Island
  • Mission Hills CC
  • Muirfield Village
  • Oak Hill CC
  • Oakmont CC
  • Pebble Beach
  • PGA National
  • Pinehurst No. 2 Restored
  • Royal Birkdale GC
  • Royal Troon GC
  • Spyglass Hill
  • St. Andrews
  • Torrey Pines
  • TPC Louisiana
  • TPC Sawgrass
  • Valhalla GC

Once you select a course, you can then choose a game mode. The numbers in parenthesis specify the number of players for that mode. As you can tell, there’s not a lot of single player options in here.

  • Stroke Play (1-4)
  • Match Play (2)
  • Skins (2-4)
  • Bingo Bango Bongo (2-4)
  • Stableford (1-4)
  • Alternate Shot (4)
  • Best Ball (4)
  • Four Ball (4)
  • Battle Golf (2)

As you can see, all of the modes have returned from last year, so there’s nothing new here.

Connected Tournaments

Unfortunately you do need the online pass for this, so I wasn’t able to check it out. However, the manual states the following; In Live Tournaments, players from across the world compete for top of the leaderboards in 1 Round or 4 Round events. You can now play simultaneously with up to 24 other players, and watch ball arcs fly through the air as you play. You can also voice chat with anyone playing the tournament or with members of your Country Club. During active pro tournaments, the Play the Pros option is available, and players are allowed to compete alongside actual pros.

Country Clubs

Another online pass only feature. I did finally get around to checking out the 13 country club which was very cool so I’m assuming this is similar. The manual states Join a Friend’s Club, Public Club, or create your own Country Club and recruit other gamers. As a Country Club member, you can connect, communicate, compete, and compare your statistics and progress against your friends, teammates, and the world. Work together to level up your club with Status Points and climb the leaderboards to become the most prestigious Country Club in the world.

It does seem the manual breaks down each mode in the Country Club area which has In-Club Competition, Coins & Status Points, and World Competition, but I could be wrong. Here’s what each section states.

In-Club Competition
Players in a Country Club will be ranked weekly and assigned titles based on the amount of Status Points they contributed to the club during the week. The top ranked player will be crowned Club Champion and earn access to tournaments against other clubs! Players within the same Country Club can also compete in Head to Head teammate matches and Club Live Tournaments, and battle to become the weekly leader in each statistical category. To manage your team or create a Custom Club Live Tournament, visit the EA SPORTS Country Clubs website.

Coins & Status Points
Earn Coins faster as part of a Country Club. Coins are awarded at the end of each week based on your performance relative to other club members. The higher your club rank, the better the Coin bonus. You can also earn Coins in the all-new Club Loyalty Bonus. The more you play and the more your club members play in consecutive days, the bigger Coin bonuses you will earn. All earned Status Points also help level up your Country Club and your club rank.

World Competition
Compete with players from around the globe! Country Clubs are ranked by the amount of Status Points earned by all members of the team, and members can participate in Head to Head Club Matches. At the end of each week, all players are invited to Country Club Tour tournaments based on their earned ranking status for the week in their club.

Xbox Live

This is another season pass required area. The manual seemed to categorize this section in the following categories; Club Chat Sessions, Online Multiplayer, Online Game Modes and Simultaneous Play.

Club Chat Sessions
Enter the game and start a chat session with your club members anywhere at anytime. Easily communicate with your members to set up online matches or play in a connected tournament together.

Online Multiplayer
Find an opponent based on your skill level, check out the latest EA News, set your gameplay options for the games you host, and visit the Xbox LIVE Marketplace to download exclusive Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 content.

Online Game Modes
Challenge your friends to a round of traditional Stroke Play or face off in Match Play. Additional modes include Skins, Best Ball, Four Ball, Alternate Shot, and the 3 Hole Mini-Game.

Simultaneous Play
You don’t have to wait for other golfers to swing before taking your shot. Simultaneous Play lets you play quickly, as if you were playing by yourself, while indicating your opponents’ shots with real-time shot arcs. Each player’s shot arc has its own color.

Settings

The settings area allow you to adjust gameplay, presentation and audio settings. You can also view the EA Trax and Kinect Tuner.

Extras

Extras covers the following; Tutorial teaches you how to play, New Features shows you step by step what is new, and The Rules of Golf cover the real USGA rules. Legend Biographies give you the background on the 9 legends in the game. Lastly, you can view the achievements, software manual, What’s New Video that you’ve seen above and the credits.

 Better With Kinect

As with last year, this is one of the few titles that are actually Better with Kinect in my opinion. The Kinect controls are much more finesse this year and they work very well. Overall, you can play the entire game either with Kinect or the controller, but as I mentioned earlier, you do need a controller for certain parts to advance.

Conclusion

Overall, this game could have blown away Tiger 13, but it doesn’t, which is why I stated it went backwards. I hope to never see anything like this one again, it’s that bad. The frame rate issues, the freezing up, the bugs, which could probably be fixed in a patch may make the game more enjoyable, but taking away the coin system to purchase DLC is just a slap in the face. Removing the caddy assistant didn’t help much either. I get they are trying to make a simulation golf game, but in order to do that need, they need to get rid of all of the other things that give it the arcade feel, the biggest one being the spin. I think EA needs to go back to the drawing board and figure out what kind of golf game they want to deliver on the next-gen system, as this one seemed to be a last-ditch effort to see how much money they can get out of us. As for this game, stay away from it and save yourself a headache, a lot of money, not enough new content and pick up Tiger 13 instead, you’ll appreciate it much more.


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14
Scoring policy: What do these game review scores actually mean?