Few people could deny the fact that the Tiger Woods series has got a little stale of late. The last few entries in the series have tinkered with the tried and tested formula rather than make any significant changes, giving fans what they'd call the bare minimum in terms of new features. The Wii seemed like it might be able to change that, by offering what appeared to be the perfect virtual golf control scheme, but it wasn't to be. Previous outings for Tiger on Wii have failed quite miserably, so now we're looking to Wii MotionPlus to bring us that real golf swing feel.
We'll tackle MotionPlus first, then, as it's by far the game's most significant new feature. While the technology worked fairly well in EA's recent Grand Slam Tennis, it really excels in Tiger Woods 10. There's no 1:1 motion (you still get a fairly noticeable delay between your swing and your character's) but the actual shots you play feel right. For the first time you can stand in your living room, swing the remote and the game will translate that into a close model of what the ball would do in real life. It's far from a 100 per cent accurate sim, but on the hardest swing setting no other golf game can compete in the realism stakes.
There are three swing types to choose from, each offering an experience to suit your style of play. Novices will want to choose the All-play swing, which enables shot previews at all times; intermediate golfers will do well with the standard swing, which offers a fairly realistic experience, but with a few aids turned on to help you out when you need it; and advanced golfers will want to choose the advanced swing, which has increased sensitivity, doesn't allow putt previews and disables manual spin and draw/fade control. Essentially, if you want to draw a ball using the advanced swing you need to rotate the club face on the swing follow through. It's tricky, but well worth the effort when you're banging in long irons to within inches of the hole.
Next up is the new precision putting system. Rather than the numerous length putters we've seen in previous Tiger games, now you can choose to have a single putter that can strike a ball whatever distance is required. An on-screen meter displays the strength of your stroke and it's all about getting a feel for putting. Before too long you'll know how far to pull back for a 30ft putt and you'll be putting instinctively rather than by constantly working out sums in your head and agonising over which length putter will give you the best chance.
MotionPlus and precision putting are by far the two main new additions to the Wii game, but numerous smaller new features make for the best Tiger Woods game we've seen in years. If you've got the Forecast Channel on your Wii you can play courses with live weather from each location, including rain, temperature and wind. It's not purely a cosmetic feature either, with rain slowing down greens and fairways.