A free, once-weekly round-up of all the best Nintendo Switch links, articles and videos from the past seven days.
Rory McIlroy PGA Tour by
published Tuesday, Jul 28th

UK Chart: PGA Tour Putts In Again

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour (-56%) stays at the top of the chart in a week with no new releases.

From fourth, LEGO Jurassic World (-8%) makes a comparatively small loss to move around Batman: Arkham Knight (-28%) which sits at third.

F1 2015 (-55%) moves down the grid to fourth ahead of the solid GTA V (+8%), which has been making week-on-week improvements to stay at fifth.

Call of Duty moves forward one place to sixth as Minecraft comes back to the top ten with the Xbox Edition at seventh and the PlayStation Edition at eighth.

The Elder Scrolls Online drops one place as a result of earlier movement.

FIFA 15 reenters the top ten as the new Premier League season comes into view.

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour by
published Tuesday, Jul 21st

UK Chart: Rory McIlroy PGA Tour Tiptop

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour launches on the first day of The Open to the top of the chart. It is the first title in eighteen years to be released without Tiger Woods attached.

F1 2015 (-57%), Batman: Arkham Knight (-36%) and LEGO Jurassic World fall one place each to stand above GTA V which sticks at fifth.

Destiny (+90%) takes a massive leap to sixth from tenth through Amazon Prime Day deals.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare moves up to seventh to get in ahead of The Elder Scrolls Online as it drops to eighth from fourth.

God of War III: Remastered takes ninth as a new release of the 2010 hit.

Falling from sixth, The Witcher III completes the top ten.

published Monday, Jul 12th

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 Review

So you want to play golf? From novice to pro, EA’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 may just fit the bill. If you’ve played previous versions of this already popular software then you’ll soon be aware of the new features packed into this version. EA have skillfully managed to preserve the best of the old and also introduce new features that make it an even better golfing experience.

Mastering the basics may seem daunting at first but persevere and work through those early exercises. Trying out your new skills and developing will earn points that later affect your playing experience. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 has four new functions helping you all the way; you can initially select your gameplay difficulty from the standard easy, normal, hard or expert, you can even develop your own unique customized combinations style from this menu option giving you better control of the game configuration.

Other new features include True View that gives you a first-person perspective of the course, Experience Levels which collects and analyses your game play so watch out as playing a poor game can result in you losing points and the Focus System allows you to exploit and focus a single attribute in your profile for each round that could earn you a couple of point boost. What can be difficult to master is putting. Make sure you learn how the software works and again practice is paramount. You may also need the enhanced Wii MotionPlus accessory for certain game options. These new features are an enhancement to previous versions in the series, and build on an already good training interface to speed up the learning process for newcomers.

The various screens are packed with icons given you vital clues on the conditions you are pitting your wits against, so get use to using this information, again practice is essential to develop your strategies when playing.

EA have also enhanced the visual experience with the addition of features that show you how your aiming selections and playing style will affect the flight of the golf ball even before you strike the ball. True View for instance gives you a first-person perspective just as you would see it on the course. With many famous golf courses available in exotic locations, you are spoilt for choice and can easily be convinced that you are actually there on location. Of course you can never substitute a simulation for the real thing but this game offers an alternative experience. With little effort and at relatively small cost you can experience the next best thing. The enhanced visuals are a great improvement on previous editions giving you a better feel of what it might look like, just as if you were there.

After building your golf skills you may want to try your hand at the PGA Tour or the new Ryder Cup Tournament, this is new to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 and gives you the chance to play for either the USA or Europe building your own 12 man team to bring home one of the ultimate golfing prizes, the Ryder Cup. If you want to play the traditional games, you can opt for a series of different games all designed to enjoy and be played with family or friends, the variety makes golf fun to play. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 also includes Party Modes and Mini-Games giving you something for everyone, getting you further and further into playing golf. Getting bored is not an option with this version, as there’s so much to choose from.

If you have never dared to play online, now is the time to do it. Be brave and improve your game by playing and competing with the some of the best online players. If you are used to playing other games on-line, then this is no different. However you do have to be registered with EA games with your own account and be 13+ years. Once you have signed up then you literally have access to an entire world of online golf gaming community and this is where the real action takes place. There is no substitute for pitting your wits against other ‘real’ opponents in a game such as golf. This is where Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 really scores here. Once online you can set up and take part in a number of golfing challenges such as Head to Head and Live Tournaments. What’s new in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 is the additional 2 to 4 player simultaneous Stroke Play giving you the options to play a variety of game plays suiting your team’s collective skills and style.

Being online also gives you access to the aforementioned Live Tournaments where you can play with the best in a daily or weekly match. The aim of this is to compete to get to the top of the leader boards so the whole world can see that you are the best of the bunch! You also have the option of playing with the Pros where you compete and your score is streamed into the online tournament scores. EA also provide EA Messenger allowing you to create your own ‘buddy lists’ keeping in contact with other Wii gamers.

The game is packed with tips and advice on how to use the new features with plenty of practice modes to help you develop your style. Left-handed or right-handed it doesn’t matter, what matters is that through patience and dedication together with lots of practice, you too can improve your golfing skills. Perhaps even to a level where you may want to form your own Ryder Cup Team with your friends, play other teams or even go online and pit yourself against a worldwide golfing community all eager to prove they or their team are the best. Considering how expensive real golf can be, this game is worth every penny.

published Wednesday, Aug 05th

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 Review

Tiger Woods PGA Tour is one of those games where there really isn’t much left for EA to cover. And despite being a great golf game in its own right, Tiger Woods is now a franchise showing signs of age, proven this year with little refinements and a lack of major features. If you’re fortunate enough to be diving into the Tiger Woods franchise for the first time, you’ll find a wealth of game modes, courses, golfers and online features to keep you playing for hours at a time.

Tournament Challenge is where you’ll be spending the majority of your time in Tiger 10, which replaces the Tiger Challenge mode we’ve become accustomed to over previous iterations of the franchise. Here, Tiger tells us some of his favourite tournament wins and shots before placing you in his shoes, attempting to match or beat his scores using your created golfer across the different courses in the game. Unfortunately you have no chance of finishing this mode unless you purchase a max-stats costume (using a LOT of in-game cash or real money via PSN store or Marketplace) as the final challenges on each course often place you against Tiger in near-impossible situations for a low-level golfer. Speaking of such, there are 30 pro and novelty golfers in the game to choose from. Unfortunately the game conditions are significantly more difficult for the rest of the golfers with average stats, meaning there is absolutely no point of you choosing anyone other than Tiger himself or your custom golfer (assuming his/ her stats are maxed out). It’s worth mentioning that the create-a-golfer feature is identical to that of last year: a wealth of options to customise your characters face, or plug in the PlayStation Eye or Xbox Vision camera to put your face in the game. There’s also the usual pages and pages worth of unlockable clothing items (who knew that wearing a watch could improve your putting?) to enhance your golfer.

Undoubtedly one of the biggest, yet subtle, changes in this year’s game is the inclusion of a live weather feed, provided by The Weather Channel (a huge TV station in the US). So if you’re playing on the 4th hole at St. Andrews (and connected to PSN or Xbox Live) and it starts raining at the Old Course in Scotland, then the downpour will be happening in the game too, resulting in slower greens, fairways and generally more difficult playing conditions. This has the opposite effect too. If you start playing a round using live weather feed while it’s raining and it stops, your game will reflect the change in weather mid-game. Of course, this is completely optional but is just one of the great ways EA have used online to enhance Tiger 10, with another being Live Challenges. Building upon last year’s GamerNet instant challenges, EA have introduced a ‘Play the Pros’ option which gives players the chance to play side-by-side with real golfers as they play in tournaments across the world. Did Colin Montgomery shoot a -5 under par at today’s round in the Open? See if you can beat that by playing in the same playing and weather conditions as the pros, and against the rest of the world online. In addition to the online challenges, Tiger 10 boasts a wide range of multiplayer game types than can be played online or off. A personal favourite being Battle Golf, in which winning a hole entitles you to remove a club form your opponent’s bag or return one to your own. Seeing a friend tee off on a Par 5 with a 4 Iron provided a great multiplayer moment.

Another change, again optional, to Tiger 10 is the addition of the Precision Putter. Instead of having multiple putters in your bag for different ranges, you carry just one putter to cover any distance on the green. This can be tricky to master at first, but emulates the putting aspect of the sport better than it ever has in the past.

An unexpected feature and one you’ll be grateful for is the option to mute commentary. Scott Van Pelt and Kelly Tilghman provide the strangest commentary experience you’re likely to witness. Kelly talks as if she has hours to live, whereas Scott shouts things like ‘get some’ and ‘call it’ if you sink a putt. More is needed by EA’s writing and sound teams to provide these guys with more interesting comments to better replicate the real excitement and drama of a real tournament of golf. Thankfully though, once muted, you can sit back and enjoy the stunning visuals of Tiger 10 which have seen a further improvement over 09, such as seeing the waves crash against the side of Pebble Beach’s number 18 or admiring the sandy bunkers at St Andrews.

The real question here is simple: Is it worth spending £40 on a game released just nine months after its predecessor? If you enjoy the occasional spot of golf and missed out last year then pick this up as it has some serious lasting appeal with its enhanced online and multiplayer features. But if you’re a die-hard golfer looking for major new features, be prepared for disappointment.

Tiger Woods by
published Friday, Sep 05th

Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’09 Review

EA’s yearly updates of its major sports franchises are as predictable as the coming of the seasons. Now in its 10th year, and its fourth iteration of this generation, Tiger Woods PGA Tour has now hit the shelves once more. And from all accounts this year’s edition seems to be more popular than ever, judging by the series’ first number one slot in the UK multi-format charts. So are there any differences between this one and last year’s version?

Control-wise it’s just the same as it has been for the last eight or nine games; aim with the D-Pad, pull back on the Analogue stick and strike through the ball to let it fly. As usual, tapping ‘A’ like a mad-man can give you a bit of extra power on your shot or add a touch of spin if needed. Interestingly, this year EA have included the age-old three button technique (tap to start your shot, again to set the power, and once more for accuracy), which EA have re-named the ‘3-click swing system’. Seeing this control system in Tiger Woods makes you realise just how much more accurate the analogue system is, but it can be a handy alternative if you’re playing with someone who finds the default controls a little difficult. Maybe the Nintendo philosophy of inclusivity convinced EA to include it.

Overall, this game goes to great lengths to make itself more accessible to newcomers, and a lot of these changes can be handy for veterans too. If you find you are having problems striking the ball cleanly take a look at the ball icon as you take your shot. Whereas previously it was just used to show your power boost and spin direction, now you’ll see a line going through the ball indicating how you struck the shot, so you can whittle down the times you fail to hit the analogue stick straight. I’ve all but eradicated the natural ‘left curve’ I seem to get, which has made my approach shot far more accurate and my tee-offs 73% more awesome. EA’s other little addition sees the return of the putting preview, albeit in a slightly different form. Check out the green, aim your putt and when you think you’ve got a good line, hit the left shoulder button and you’ll be given a preview of the shot. This can make putting a bit too easy if you choose to use it, but as you can only use it once per putt is won’t make every shot a sure thing.

The biggest shake-up in ’09, and one of the biggest changes for some time (although that doesn’t say an awful lot) is the new coaching system. Say hello to Tiger’s real-life coach Mr Hank Haney, who’ll be helping you refine your overall game and improve your skills. At the end of each round he’ll give you the chance to practise some of your less successful shots; perform them better and you’ll get a slight stat increase. Hank can also give you some assistance with your clubs; thanks to the new club-tuning options you can tailor your caddy to compliment your natural game. It’s not quite up to Gran Turismo but this is the closest a golf game can get to that level of fine-tuning.

When you first fire up the game, you’ll be asked to play a few shots so Haney can measure you up and will determine how good you initial base stats will be. These have been trimmed a bit since last time and now cover four main areas: power, accuracy, short-game and putting. Perform well and at the end of each game you’ll be seeing these stats climb; but post a bad round and you can kiss goodbye to your ‘mad skillz’. It makes for a more organic system that reflects your true performance instead of just rewarding stat-farming or allowing you to buy your way to the top. This really makes a difference when you’re up against human opposition as you’ll find outcomes based more on actual skill than simply who’s played it the longest (although stats can still make a difference).

Most of the multiplayer games have remained the same, with the standard stroke & match play being joined by a variety of fun diversions like the excellent battle golf. Also, there’s a new and very welcome addition for online, which lets you play against three other players simultaneously instead of having to wait for each player to perform their shot. Each player’s shot is traced with a different colour so you’ll know where everyone else is on the course. Online performance is slightly better than in previous years, with less lag during games and less connection errors, it also seems to load a bit quicker too.

Overall, Tiger Woods ’09 is probably the best version yet, but it’s not without its troubles. The graphics seem to be a bit of a mixed bag – the presentation is superb and the golfers and lighting effects have been upgraded, but some of the courses look really poor compared to last year’s version. The camera and commentary are also in dire need of some changes, and the woeful EA Trax are as terribly inappropriate and unnecessary as they’ve ever been.

If you’re in need of a decent golf title you can’t go wrong here, and even if you’ve bought the ’08 edition this is a worthy purchase.

Tiger Woods by
published Saturday, Nov 18th

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07

When EA signed Tiger Woods to become the face of their PGA Tour franchise in 1999 it not only gave the series a shot in the arm but reinvigorated Golf games in general. It brought a new degree of control to console renditions that had been stuck with the same control system for over a decade. Shots were no longer determined by stopping a cursor on a power bar, but instead brought a refined analogue control. It let players to choose how much power to use by how far back they pulled on the analogue sticks and also allowed for draw or fade to be added on the fly. Now the latest edition is available on the Xbox 360 and it’s the best yet.

While it has never strayed from the same control system the series has gradually refined it with each new game. In TW ’07 players can now add height to their shots more accurately by tilting the right control stick before they strike the ball. The control issues from last years 360 debut are thankfully gone as the 360’s pad feels tailor-made for this game. Most importantly, power and spin have been assigned to the controllers ‘A’ button, making the mad tapping action for power boosts less ‘crampy’. Which is nice!

EA have now got more experience with the 360’s power and that certainly shows here. Last year’s game felt quite empty and looked as if it had been rushed to meet the 360’s launch date. Now every course has a superb level of detail not just on the course itself (all of which are blessed with hi-res textures and impressive grass effects) but in background details too. Buildings and foliage are properly modelled and the crowd now react to every shot you play. It’s actually quite hard to resist hitting a few balls at them just to see their reaction, something you’ll probably see regularly early on as this year’s Tiger is a bit harder to tame.

It may take you a while to get to grips with the difficulty level which seems to have been ramped up due to a number of refinements geared at making the game more realistic. Wind affects your shots more often and you now need to pay more attention to where your ball lies and adjust accordingly. Putting is also more difficult as the caddy tip, which used to tell you exactly where to aim, has been replaced by an ‘ideal line’ which only gives a rough idea of how to aim your putt. Early on this can be very frustrating as your putting can feel quite random (playing two shots in exactly the same way won’t always give you the same outcome) and you will find a lot of shots stopping short or flying right past the whole.

Everything gets easier as you play more though and it does get more enjoyable as you improve your golfer’s stats which are no longer bought by prize money. This year feels more like an RPG as skills like Driving Accuracy and Recovery are increased by playing those kind of shots more often; if you attempt a lot of long putts or find yourself hitting from the rough or a bunker, your putting and recovery skills increase accordingly. This means you have to put more effort into stat-raising but ultimately it is a lot more satisfying and you will see noticeable improvements as you progress.

If you’re worried about potential Xbox Live opponents simply stat-farming their way to online supremacy you don’t have to be as the stats are capped until you’ve completed events in the main game. Any skills you raise past your current level are saved as ‘untapped potential’ and automatically improve as your cap increases so you won’t lose any precious skill points in one area just because the rest aren’t high enough. When your skill cap increases there are plenty of training holes to practise on and you can now choose which skills to focus on. There has obviously been a lot of thought put into the stat-raising side of the game and it helps to make this game enjoyable and satisfying than any of its predecessors.

The EA game face, which for so long has been one of the best in-game character editors has been given a huge facelift (no pun intended), with a massive range of stats that can be tweaked to create scarily realistic avatars of yourselves and friends. Couple this with the superb animation on your golfer and for the first time you really will believe you are ‘in the game’.

Not only is this the best-looking Tiger Woods yet it is also the best to play with more game modes than ever before and some fun new multiplayer variations that are fun against friends or online. Menus are easier to traverse and EA have even reduced EA Trax to a selection of fittingly easy listening tunes that don’t intrude on play like previous games.

Tiger Woods 07 is not only the pinnacle of Golfing on consoles or PC but is one of the best sports titles around. The 360 houses the best version and unless EA do something special with the upcoming Wii or PS3 versions it looks like that will be the case for another year at least.