How would you react if we told you that this is the first time - apart from a couple of holes in an obscure Japanese golfing title - that the Augusta National has been included in a golfing game?
Would you leap into the air, lose all function in your legs through poorly-contained excitement, and make an enthusiastic honking sound as you slumped to the floor? Or would you look at us like a dog, your tongue hanging out in an amiable display of not knowing what the hell is going on?
The answer to that question contains the vital clue you need as to whether you should buy PGA Tour 12. It's a clean, easy, smooth experience. The caddie helps out with friendly advice and encouragement, and his recommendations are easily adapted into a custom shot. After a few rounds, you'll probably turn him off, but that just means he's done his job.
The character creation is the quickest and most pleasingly flexible around, replacing sliders with thumbsticks. And the menu system can almost be ignored in favour of a simply pressing X to play the next recommended game.
But the usual golf game caveats still apply, so regularly stated that they're almost redundant - the game is still fundamentally the same back-forward on the thumbstick routine. While other consoles will get motion control, there's no Kinect support here.
It's also still the same game in which a Green In Regulation mutates into a triple bogey, because putting is hard. Invest your early XP into putting improvements, however, and it becomes more manageable. Your first birdie, whether you like golf or not, will feel great.
Generously, XP can be imported from previous games - but to preserve a sense of progress, there's a challenge-based sponsor system which adds a new layer of levelling up and kit bonuses.
We can't tell you if the jealously guarded layout of the Augusta National course has been faithfully reproduced, precisely because it's a jealously guarded layout. We can, however, say that Tiger Woods PGA Tour is a good-looking and therapeutic dose of bird-tweeting, ripples of applause and gasps of mild horror. If you're happy paying the price of admission for a more streamlined experience and the Augusta National, don't let us stop you.
Another good game of the game of golf
- Augusta National's debut
- Smooth, intuitive, effortless
- Good online features
- Not everyone's cup of tee
- Give us that crazy golf game