There are very few existing game franchises out there that, in practice, have been as good a fit on the Wii as they are in theory. The Tiger Woods PGA Tour series has thus far been one of those consistently rare exceptions. Not to shortchange the engineers behind Tiger, but I think this is due, at least in part, to the relatively straightforward physical movements of golf. Up to now, the series hasn't threatened to capture the subtler physical touches that all but define the sport of golf, but it's been a close enough of an approximation for a fun, casual time.
That, however, promises to change with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, thanks to the inclusion of support for Wii MotionPlus, the upcoming physical add-on for the Wii Remote that will increase the fidelity with which the system can detect movement. I got to play through a hole in Tiger 10 using the Wii MotionPlus at an EA Sports event last week, and came away impressed with how much more realistic the swing action felt. Previously, the swing action in Tiger on the Wii was simply velocity sensitive, and as such, it didn't require you to try and emulate a proper golf swing. With the Wii MotionPlus, the game can sense the position of the controller in the air, so when you pull back to swing, Tiger will mimic that motion on screen almost verbatim. This goes all the way down to the twist of your wrist, making it easy to apply a draw or a fade to your shot. The downside is that, if you've got a natural draw or fade to your swing, it'll translate into the game. Theoretically, though, the better your golf game gets in Tiger, the better it will be out on the links. How many sports games can even attempt such a claim?
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 will still be playable without Wii MotionPlus, and it feature the same All-Play features from last year's game for those not looking for an achingly realistic golf experience. Beyond all the Wii MotionPlus stuff, Tiger 10 will carry the U.S. Open license, which is a first for the series, letting players compete on the famously brutal Bethpage Black course. It will also use real-time weather conditions provided by The Weather Channel, which will affect how the game actually handles. The weather stuff seems like a neat touch for the series, but the Wii MotionPlus controls have the potential to be a real game-changer, and definitely make this look like a potentially huge evolutionary step for the series.