Video game proves to be addictive

Anyone who has played a game made by Electronic Arts’ sports division is familiar with its motto, “EA Sports, it’s in the game.” That little catch phrase has never been more precise than with the release of this year’s Tiger Woods sponsored golf simulator. “Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour 2004” is a perfect blend of true life replication and flat out unbelievable fantasy play. Choose from 15 professional golfers, including Woods himself, and play a full 52-week schedule of real tournaments. Or create your own golfer and go on a world tour and spank a list of 12 characters created for the game. The possibilities are endless, once you have mastered the game’s somewhat difficult plays.

“PGA Tour 2004″takes full advantage of the PlayStation 2’s double analog stick design. So much so, that before the game will allow you to play your first match there is a mandatory tutorial on how to use the controller. That should clue you in on how hard it is to use the stick. However, the argument can be made that the added trial of learning the controller increases the value of the game’s overall challenge.

One thing you can bet on from this release, is that it is not lacking in the challenge department. Adjustable green speeds, tee positions, simulated winds, bunkers and natural obstacles such as cliffs, forests and shorelines are sure to test everyone’s golfing metal. The obstacles that this game presents only add to its overall life.

“PGA Tour 2004” is so expansive, it’s very easy to play it for weeks on end and not complete more than 20 percent of your player resume (which keeps a tally of all the areas of the game you have completed).

Additionally, this game boasts some of the best-looking graphics and sound that you could expect from a real-life sport reproduction. It takes full advantage of the beauty of the 19 original and four fantasy courses that it imitates. It even captures the roar of a pleased crowd after you take a good swing. Hit your first hole in one or have a close approach on the green and you will understand.

Overall, “Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour 2004” is a masterpiece of fun. The game combines a realistic mock-up with an arcade free-for-all mentality. In the words of a wise and distinguished gentleman from Jackson, Miss., “Man, this game is addictive.” GRADE: A