Over the weekend, I finally had a chance to dig into Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 with the Wii MotionPlus, an accuracy-boosting dongle for the motion controller.
The game itself is a blast — there’s something inherently addicting about creating a likeness of yourself and molding it into a pro golfer — but for our purposes here, I’m more interested in the MotionPlus. The peripheral can detect pretty much exactly what you’re doing in real space and translate it into something on screen, but what really counts is how the game responds to that input, and it’s hard to find a metric with more subtleties than golf.
One thing’s certain: The game is staggeringly different with the added motion controls. Unplugging the dongle mid-game is a reminder of how awful the Wii’s controls were before, requiring little more than a slight arm flick to execute a full golf swing. The MotionPlus, by comparison, takes into account backswing, stroke speed and slight twists of the wrists.
On the game’s “Standard” difficulty setting, you can get away with plenty of non-traditional swings, including one-handed strokes and slapshots that channel Happy Gilmore. On this difficulty level, all that matters is how far your arms go back over your shoulder, stroke speed and how straight your wrists are aligned when “hitting the ball,” so to speak.
But crank the difficulty up to “Advanced” and the exploits become harder. It’s actually advantageous to swing like a real golfer on this setting, winding up without bending your elbows, then twisting the wrists slightly to bring the club all the way back. On the follow-through, hooks and slices become much more common.
Still, I’m not sure the Wii MotionPlus could teach someone how to swing properly, because there’s not enough feedback within the game. If you mess up, the game suggests that you try an easier setting, but it doesn’t explain in detail what’s wrong with the player’s swing. It’s impossible to tell whether a slice was caused by a twisted wrist or incorrect fundamentals.
If someone releases a proper golf trainer, we’ll know for sure how precise the MotionPlus can be. For now, I’m content to have fun.