New year, new 'Tiger'

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Photo - gamespress.com
"Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14"
gamespress.com "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14"
Entertainment,Greg Prince,Video Games

The perennial golf series returns -- with enough new features and courses to keep the die-hard digital golfers coming back for more.

As a golf game, "Tiger 14" is far and away the best on the market. It has all four majors -- the Masters, the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship -- a huge selection of courses (20 on disc, six more with the "Historic Edition," and 22 more as DLC), playable versions of some of the best golfers on the PGA and LPGA tours, a solid career mode and expanded multiplayer tournaments.

It all adds up to a great game, but it still doesn't completely take the bad taste out of the mouth after last year's pay-to-play fest that was "Tiger 13." The hoard of "pay to unlock" signs are mostly gone, but a few remain (a reasonable amount, especially after many fans and the media bashed EA). The 20 courses are great, but the fact that there are more than 20 more you would need to download to have them all could leave you feeling like you shelled out full price for an incomplete game. And the ability to earn the courses is gone.

Pins and coins make a return. Pins boost your on-course skills, while coins can be used to level up faster or buy more pins. But coins can only be earned when you are connected to EA's servers.

'Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14'
» Systems: Xbox 360, PS3
» Price: $59.99, $69.99 for "Masters Historic Edition"
» Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

However, the online experience as a whole has seem some great improvements: There are more tournament options available, country clubs can now have up to 100 members rather than the previous 25, you're automatically put in a country club when you first go online (though you can still leave that one to create your own), and you can play with up to 23 other people in the new connected tournaments. Other nifty additions include night golf with glowing balls, old-time golf clubs and an even more difficult swing mode for the hard-core video game golfers.

Also, the new "Legends of the Masters" mode is quite fun. You get to compete against the likes of Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead when they were the best in the world, and unlock their characters.

"Tiger 14" is a resurgence in the same vein as the real Tiger Woods is having on the course. But something still feels a little off.

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