'Tiger Woods 14' increases difficulty level

Play a round of “Tiger” in past iterations and you might be bragging by the 18th hole how you’re shooting 30 under par. I remember back when the franchise debuted on the Xbox 360, I hit a hole-in-one on the front nine, hit two eagles on the back nine, and that was my very first round of virtual golf that year.

But that’s all about to change with the introduction of an extreme difficulty setting, called simulation mode, aimed at the most advanced users.

“In the easier difficulty levels, the strike point stays as you swing with the analog stick, and this enables you to really hit the ball precisely,” says Brent Nielsen, the game’s executive producer. “In simulation, you’re shown the strike point, but as you swing back with the analog stick, the strike point fades, so you really need to focus so you know where to hit your shot.”

In addition, simulation turns off the ability to zoom the camera around the course.

“It’s like you’re playing real golf,” Nielsen said. “You don’t have the luxury to zoom in and spot exactly where you want to land the ball. Then in terms of wind speed, you’re given an arrow, and gamers are forced to gauge wind speed based on the arrow’s movement.”

In simulation, virtual golfers are also forced to use advanced shot shaping to strike longer shots while taking advantage of their golfer’s strengths to fade or draw the ball around the trees or bunkers.

Adds Nielsen: “You’re going to see more intense rounds, and now, shooting a couple under par is a good score. I think the more core users will really enjoy this.”