You know his name is Eldrick, right? Of course you do!
You know, the benefit of having low expectations coming into a game is that when it surprises you with its depth and fun, it feels much more satisfying. This is the case with Tiger Woods 08 on the Wii.
First, I will dispense the dirty laundry. The graphics are pretty bad, and I'll hazard a guess as to why. EA used the PS2 version and ported it upward, which is economical, I'll agree, but more effort would be appreciated next time. These graphics are only made worse if you make the crucial mistake of running it in widescreen. EA definitely slacked off on this setting and did some sort of algorithmic expansion or something, because it looks all stretched out and pixelly. This goes away on the standard aspect ratio, so it has to be something screwy with the game. Secondly, whoever thought putting that "GET IN THE HOLE!" guy in the game should probably be fired. Enthusiasm about golf is appreciated, but please shut up.
But everything else in this game is gold. It is in fact hard to describe the feeling I got playing this game. This is because the controls are so good. It is a visceral experience. When I shoot well, the ball goes where I want it to, and I feel joy. When I shoot into the water or out of bounds, I find myself screaming and cursing the name of EA, Tiger Woods, Nintendo, and the sport of golf. The controls are simple. Just take a golf stance (two-handed, one-handed, swing with your foot, whatever), press the B button (with your toes if necessary, foot-swingers), and swing. Putting is much the same way. Just swing. The ball flies relative to the length of your backswing and the power of your downswing. And despite a couple of hiccups where the swing wouldn't register, the control is spot on. I took a course in golf this summer and found that I had a moderate draw to a severe slice. This is reflected in the game, as I routinely draw, have difficulty hitting it straight, and never hit a fade. It's that accurate.
The main mode is the PGA Tour Season, where you create a golfer, run him through the season, and hope to do well. This involves a lot of golf-playing, and it's a good thing the game is fun, because otherwise it would be a pain in the ass. Other game modes include a slew of mini-games that are somewhat forgettable, except for the Wii exclusive MiniPutt game. Now before you cry "fanboy" and let slip the forum posts of war, I only say this because it reminds me of the mini golf mode from the original Mario Golf.
The sundry aspects are well done. The music tests the limit as to how licensed music can be defined. (If nobody has heard it before, does it really count as licensed music? That's hardcore Zen.) The golf clubs go WOOSH and the ball goes PING. Speaking of PING, this and other such golf and apparel manufacturers are represented in the various gear you can outfit your golfer with. The courses are real and include St. Andrews and TPC Sawgrass. But, and this will be my final gripe about the game, why is the Augusta National Golf Course not included? Yeah, I'm a Georgia native, and yeah, the club itself might have misgivings, but could it really be that hard for EA to convince them? Please?
OH! One last thing. Seriously, EA, don't invite that "GET IN THE HOLE" guy back again.