Well, today I played BioShock. I played a lot of it. Actually, I had an almost six hour marathon of it. If I wasn't such a tedious and narcotic collector/scavenger/explorer, I would have probably gotten a little further in the story, but that's neither here nor there, as they say. (Do they actually still use that term, or does it seem dated to you, to?)
Anyway, I got to a few particular storyline plot points in BioShock that threw my head for a loop, and I just needed a break from it all. I needed a pallet cleanser. And what better way to clear your head and just relax than with the only "sport" that absolutely relies on sheer mental toughness and thinking ability - golf. So I played the new Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 game.
Did you notice that I put sport in quotation marks up there? Why did I do that, you ask? Well, that's me paying homage to possibly my favorite comedian of all time, the late great George Carlin. You see, he had some very opinionated and somewhat controversial thoughts on what should and shouldn't be considered a sport. He believed there are only three true sports: baseball, basketball and football. Everything else, he said, is either a game or an activity.
"And finally welcome to golf. For my full take on golf, I refer you elsewhere in the book, but let it just be said golf is a game that might possibly be fun, if it could be played alone. But it's the vacuous, striving, superficial, male-bonding joiners one has to associate with that makes it such a repulsive pastime. And it is decidedly not a sport. Period."
PLEASE NOTE: The following video is NSWF as it does contain strong language. It is George Carlin, after all.
Thankfully I chose that route, because I honestly enjoyed what I played. It's been a couple years since I have played a Tiger Woods game, so I had to refresh myself on the controls, which shockingly enough, did so quite effectively using a well thought-out tutorial mode. After my tutorial, I jumped into a tournament round, the Sunday of The Masters. I chose Tiger Woods (because really, who else would I pick?) and decided to go head-to-head against Rory McIlroy. The leader board showed us two tied with a third player for the lead, although the third guy had already finished his round, meaning all we had to do was finish one stroke or more better than him and our playing partner to win.
The course is spot on Augusta, for those of you who know anything about golf. Myself, I don't tend to watch hardly any golf except the major tournaments, or if I need a good nap on a weekend. I started off the round pretty good, but because the tutorial only showed me how to hit the ball and didn't include a putting section (unless there was an option I missed), that's where my game fell apart. I left put after put short of the cup by inches. Just when I thought I had a good put, I messed it up somehow. Now I'm sure that with putting, just like in real golf, practice makes perfect, but come on now! This was the final round of the Masters! There was no time to practice!
Long story short, despite my fantastic tee shots, my struggling putting game forced me to lose by a couple of strokes. I guess that's pretty much par for the course though for Tiger Woods now days, right?
After that short-game debacle, I tried out the Legends of the Masters mode, where you go back in time and recreate specific and significant events that have helped shaped golf into what it is today, all while playing as iconic and legendary golfers. You can skip back and forth between eras, but you can't advance to the next challenge in a particular era until the current objective is met. Also, the game looks like the era it's played in, meaning the very first ones are displayed in sepia with a grainy look to the video quality. It's actually really well done and ropes you into the era you're in. Golfers are also dressed accordingly.
There are also boss-battle type of challenges, where you are put up against a particular legend that you unlock once you complete the given challenge. It's a great addition to a gaming franchise that probably was starting to suffer from the annualized-game feel.
Overall, I enjoyed what I played, and could see myself playing more of it.
Too bad it wasn't a sports game, however.