World Golf Tour (WGT): http://www.wgt.com/
Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online (TWO): http://tigerwoodsonline.ea.com/landing
I used to be an avid PC golf fan. Jack Nicklaus Golf and Links mark the high point of PC golfing. Unfortunately, neither have been published since 2003. At that point, Tiger Woods took over the genre but they phased out the PC version in 2007 with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08.
Golf on the PC is dead!
Long live Golf on the PC!
WGT and TWO are both new online golf games that attempt to revive the PC golf genre. TWO just came out of open beta and WGT is still in beta, although it has been in beta for a lot longer than TWO (about a year now). TWO is produced by EA and WGT is produced by a startup … WGT. They both utilize the micro transaction model … well, TWO abuses the model more than uses it.
They both offer fully 3D courses that can be played free of charge by yourself or with others. They are both browser-based games. TWO is based upon a quick one-time install browser engine and WGT is based upon flash. They both load surprisingly fast and play smoothly. They both offer regular tournaments and other contests to keep your interest. That is where the similarities end.
TWO is produced by EA so expect to get bent over when it comes to the micro transactions. You can buy an annual greens fee for $60 or pay fee's for basically everything but the two free courses offered. WGT doesn't charge you to play but they do charge you for upgrades such as improved clubs, avatars and balls. They also have tournaments you can pay a fee to enter. In my opinion, if you are going to play either for an extended period of time, WGT provides a significantly better value.
TWO uses a fully 3D engine that, when compared to current games, looks like ass. Since the game is browser based I am willing to give it considerable leeway in the graphics department. It certainly doesn't look horrible. WGT also uses a 3D engine but they took a novel approach. Their game is based upon photo-realistic graphics. What this means is that it looks great but it comes at a price. There is no rippling water or birds chirping and there are a limited number of camera angles available because they will only render the game from scenes for which images are available. TWO allows you to fully manipulate the course view so it is much more interactive. Which graphics engine you prefer here is really based upon preference. I prefer the realism offered by WGT.
Gameplay is where the two really become different. TWO is more of an arcade game that uses golf as a theme for familiarity. My first round on St. Andrews with the starter clubs and no skill-ups netted me a round of 9 under par. It was too easy. A quick browse of the TWO forums revealed that more experienced players are shooting in the mid 30's for 18 holes. That's right, they are shooting rounds of 35 under par. While some people seem to enjoy mastering a game with little effort, this was an immediate turn off for me. What kind of game would Madden be if teams scored on every play? It might be exciting but anybody who cared a lick about the game wouldn't be interesting in playing such a aberration of the sport. I feel the same way about TWO. Perhaps EA is trying to appeal to the masses or something? I just don't understand it.
WGT on the other hand is a game that wants to provide a realistic experience. In my first round on Bethpage Black I shot a 101. It was hard and I was frustrated. I thought about quitting but the community was very vibrant and I could glimpse something more there so I forced myself to try another round. Pretty soon it clicked. I sprung $4 for a better putter. After a few rounds I leveled up to Amateur and then I sprung about $15 for a set of clubs. As you level up, you get pushed back to harder tee's and can play in tournaments with more difficult course conditions against players within your bracket. The game hasn't become easy but the more I play the more I want to keep improving my game. It has been a slow climb over the past two weeks. I still have only broken par on a few rounds. Every time I birdie a hole it feels like a true accomplishment. I got a freakish hole in one the other day and found myself dancing around the room in celebration.
Bottom line is that both are fun games. TWO has a nice interface, is very easy to learn and play and provides more of an MMO and interactive experience. EA's horrible micro-transaction model and the stupid ease of the game turns it into a money pit with a lack of depth. WGT on the other hand has a fair micro-transaction model, a challenging gameplay system and a loyal community. It can be frustrating at times but, like golf, that just makes the reward so much sweeter.
I was honestly surprised at the quality (or at least potential) of both games. They can both be played for free and you can play 9 holes in like 10 minutes. Both are worth a try if you have ever considered yourself a fan of golf games.