It's early days in the great next gen console war, and the commercial reality of development is very simple - the cost of making games on more advanced hardware has skyrocketed meaning that publishers get the best returns from their investment with multiformat development. Eurogamer typically reviews these games on the lead platform (more often than not, the Xbox 360) but we've got plenty of love for the PlayStation 3 - enough to bring you the all-important info on any differences between the versions, even when review code arrives somewhat belatedly.
In comparing the games we concentrate first and foremost on the gameplay experience, with objective commentary on new game modes and control methods that have been added or tweaked since the initial review. And as there is such a large cost difference between the two gaming platforms, we think it's fair game to point out any differences between versions on a technical level too. This makes these ongoing features as much a commentary on cross-platform development as they are aiding in a purchasing decision.
Complementing each piece is a series of screenshot galleries at full HD resolution 24-bit RGB using the PS3's HDMI digital output and the Xbox 360's precision VGA display mode, both professionally calibrated and captured losslessly using state-of-the-art grabbing equipment - indeed the only kit available that can handle full colour-depth and 1080p when required. Console analists can then debate the minutiae we expose and exercise the full unbridled talkback POWER of the Internet to give voice to their thunderous displeasure.
Golf is not the most accessible of sports and, in this, Tiger Woods on the Wii certainly achieves parity. Rather fittingly, most of your early attempts to play the ball fall short of the mark, or fly off into the woods. What's annoying about this is that it really needn't be the case.
The problem is that the game starts off by encouraging you to treat the controller like a golf club. This it is not. Tiger Woods on the Wii is about as close to real golf as shouting is to being a piano. What you're doing looks a bit like a normal golf action, but there are things you need to bear in mind that the game is curiously reluctant to acknowledge, leaving the appetent beginner - for want of a better phrase - somewhat handicapped.
The basic instruction is to grip the Wiimote like a golf club (never mind that it's not really long enough), hold the B button, draw it back and then swing.
Being the best isn't always great (or so I'm told). Sometimes, it's enough to make you cry. Or, er, offend people with disabilities. People like to pick on a winner - especially if he's clearly not as good as he could be. That's been the case with the Tiger Woods games for a while, culminating in 2005's totally rubbish Xbox 360 opener, which stumbled drunkenly onto the course with all the grace and vital content of a Fat Les reunion tour. This one's a big improvement.
The basic analogue swing and shot-selection buttons remain, but on the fairways control is refined to emphasise the risk that golfers take trying to cover that extra dozen or so yards. The aiming marker is dispatched, replaced instead with a circle that encompasses any number of potential landing spots, and also grows in size the more ambitious your shot selection. Its impact actually develops you into a better golfer, encouraging you to play safely. You may not make as much ground as an opponent who attempts a shortcut, but most of the time you will find yourself on surer footing with a better chance of success on the next shot. This you remember. Online, it helps nurture the occasional upset - a 315-yard drive might put an opponent on a par-4 green in one shot, but more than likely it will put them in thick rough, or leave them with an 80-foot putt, whereas a sensible tee shot and a reliable 9-iron approach could put you on the lip of the cup.
Putting is also a bit trickier now on default and higher difficulty levels, thanks to the removal of the "ideal putt camera" and caddy tips, leaving you to use movement lines to make putting judgements. As with your other shots, it's possible to tilt the club-head to add spin (off the green it adds height, too), but putting in general is harder and requires consideration, concentration and a gentle swing rather than a vicious thwack. Just like the real thing.
There's a school of thought (founded and attended by me, in this paragraph, although I suspect others have enrolled in their own heads) that says we'd be better off if Electronic Arts adopted a subscription model for Tiger Woods. In a sense, it already has: each September, you pay a flat fee for a box of new toys, and the presence of old save-data gives you a small boost (in this case, a bonus per-hole for using a particular brand of golf-club). Tiger Woods 07 is hardly disguising the fact it's the same game as last year with a few upgrades - they've even put little "New!" icons next to things that have been introduced or altered.
In many ways, Tiger Woods 07 is the most complete Tiger to date, with every eventuality covered. If you're returning, you get a bonus. A range of tutorial videos allows you to learn everything from scratch, if needs be, or to simply pick out the "New!" bits. You can select between standard and alternative swing types for tee and approach shots (either using the left analogue stick for everything, or using the right analogue as a "Shape Stick" to bend your strokes) as well as putting (grid lines and "ideal putt" camera, or caddy tips telling you roughly where to aim on a naked green).
You can create a custom character to now spectacular levels of depth (although randomising usually builds you an unspeakably mole-ridden face). You can customise your swing. You can change your clothes. You can set the game up to skip all post-shot animations and proceed to the next one by pressing R1. You can play alone or build up a team, with four-player games online and off, and new game modes to service the size of your group. You can build a team of AI players.
Sales of Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy may have dropped by 49 per cent, but the cute sci-fi makeover continues to hold the number one spot in the Chart Track All Formats Chart for the second week.
Electronic Arts is bringing the real Tiger Woods to London on Monday to help promote the launch of the 07 version of his multiformat golf game.