Online play in Tiger Woods 10: a miserable failure

I picked up two copies of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 for the Wii as a Father’s Day gift. The idea was that I could spend some quality online time with Dad by playing a round of golf every now and then. To start with, I dropped by the parents’ house and we played a few rounds in their living room. It was a blast. A little smack talk, admiring the courses, exploring the game mechanics, playing the front nine at Pebble Beach – we had a great time.

Setting our phones on speaker, I figured we could have a similar atmosphere remotely, watching the action online from our respective 50″ plasmas. We started a “Simultaneous Play” game, only to quit in disgust after about two minutes. Desperate for a decent round of golf, I hopped in the car and made the 20-minute burn over to the parents’ place.

Here is what the manual says about simultaneous play:

Play with 2-4 players in a Stroke Play match without having to wait for the other golfers to shoot before hitting your shot. The all-new Simultaneous Play lets you play quickly, as if you were playing by yourself, while each opponent’s shot is indicated with a real-time, uniquely colored shot arc.

If the game is like “playing by yourself”, then what the hell is the point of playing online!? As if that weren’t bad enough, the game throws a 30-second timer on the screen at the start of every shot. Instead of the leisurely, interactive experience I was hoping for, EA Sports has given me a goddamn assembly line. I am not alone in these complaints.

Perhaps when considering this game I should have put more research into how the online component was implemented. From a technical standpoint, I can understand why they chose to go this route; network traffic is probably nil when the only information you’re sending back and forth is a single shot arc every 30 seconds. And you’ll definitely close those network connections in a timely manner when the shot clock is pushing you along. EA seems to have chosen the laziest possible way to create online play – barely one step ahead of playing chess by email.

In the end, EA Sports has produced an online experience that completely eliminates the fun of playing with a live opponent. I thought that perhaps the “10” in the title indicated a level of maturity that would include every feature you could possibly want. While the game itself is awesome, it looks like I’ll have to wait to see if version 11 will provide actual online play.

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One Response to Online play in Tiger Woods 10: a miserable failure

  1. Ryan says:

    That sucks. When I saw you and Dad playing I was wondering “Can’t they do this online?”

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