The Augusta National Golf Club has long been viewed as the mecca of modern-day golf. Sure you have St. Andrews across the pond, and the breathtaking panorama of Pebble Beach, but there has always been something magical about Augusta, home of The Masters golf tournament. And for decades Augusta National has only allowed a select few to actually play its course; and that may never change. But what we have to celebrate in the golf world this week is the release of EA Sports’ annual release of the Tiger Woods golf video game. This year Tiger Woods 2012: The Masters will feature the prestigious Augusta National as one of its courses. So while most of us mortals will not be able to actually ever play the famed course in person, the wonderful world of technology and EA Sports will let us experience it through the virtual world.

I just finished reviewing my copy of Tiger Woods 2012: The Masters for the Nintendo Wii platform, and it truly is spectacular. Though I mainly got the game for the Augusta National feature, I am happily surprised with the new features and incredible graphics. The laser scanning technology that the folks at EA Sports used to create the Augusta course is “eye”-mazing. This technology allows players to experience every ripple of water at Amen Corner, every whispering pine, and every twist and turn of the famed-Georgia greens.

Available for PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, and Wii, Tiger Woods 2012: The Masters doesn’t throw you on the course by yourself. New to the game this year is the use of a caddy to help you analyze your next shot, right down to the direction of the Augusta breeze and break in the green. With the game’s Career Mode players can progress through the game at their own pace, saving their games as they go. Players can also select to play as one of nearly two dozen PGA tour professionals.

Aside from the spectacular graphics and playability of the new Tiger Woods 2012: The Masters, EA Sports has added long time CBS Sports announcer (and former college roommate of PGA pro Fred Couples) Jim Nantz as the voice of the game this year.  Also new to this year’s release is the ability to replay the great moments at The Masters and attempt to match Tiger’s four winning tournament scores against the champion himself.

Though I can’t imagine myself getting tired of playing the Augusta National course, after waiting for over a decade for this day to come, Tiger Woods 2012: The Masters does feature other classic layouts such as the Atlanta Athletic Club, the Royal Melbourne Club (in Australia), and yes, Pebble Beach and St. Andrews as well.

Though Tiger Woods himself may be in a slight slump, EA Sports once again proves that it is at the top of the golf gaming world with their latest release Tiger Woods 2012: The Masters.

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