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  Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 15:03 GMT
Let's play: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003
A graphic from Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003

Play this game and you'll feel like you should be wearing a pair of plus fours. It's that realistic.

If you don't know what they are, then this isn't really the game for you.

Because Tiger Woods PGA 2003 is not just for Christmas, it's for, well a lot longer.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003
Format: PlayStation2
Price: 39.99
Publisher: EA Sports
Genre: Golf
Published: Out now

If you haven't got the patience for real golf then make sure you consider the following: this game also requires you to learn the courses, perfect your swing and practice your putts.

Then again, get it right and the perfectly-implemented control system makes it a pleasure to execute drives and approach shots.

Pulling back on your analogue stick starts the swing, and pushing forward follows through, with draw and fade added on the diagonal axis to give it that realistic edge.

Putting can be frustrating though. Sterling approach-play often unravels once on the green, where the only clues are subtle contours around the hole.

But this adds to the game's ultra-realistic feel, and leads to a feeling of satisfaction when you eventually sink a difficult putt.

The main single player game is the "Tiger Challenge", where money is earned for completing various tests - usually beating computer opponents in match or stroke play.

There are 14 courses in the game; some real, some fantasy, and all of them playing very differently, with the real life challenges of actual courses faithfully recreated.

Verdict
Graphics: 90%
Playability: 85%
Sound: 80%
Realism: 95%
Overall: 83%

EA have even provided an online leaderboard so you can compare your scores with the rest of the world's Tiger Woods PGA fanatics.

Aesthetically the game is beautiful, from the perfectly-rendered courses to the computerised versions of 17 of the world's players (though most of them are American).

The crowd 'ooohs' and 'aahhs' at the right moments and you'll hear your players heart beating - complete with vibrating controller - when faced with a make-or-break shot.

Elsewhere, the usual options abound.

But there's a new speed golf game which has the player rushing to complete holes quicker than their opponent - even running to the ball in between shots.

If you already own the 2002 edition then there is possibly not enough that's new for you to part with your hard-earned cash.

Similarly, if golf's not your game or if you are looking for something you can pick up and play, then you should avoid this like the plague.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a golfing experience that is as close to the real thing as you can get without wearing comfortable slacks and/or tartan, then buy it.


Let's Play..
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