First-person football didn't work out so hot, and as far as I know, no one is trying first-person basketball. With Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, though, EA Sports is offering first-person golf.
The new Tiger game, on Wii, will allow what EA is calling a True View mode. The mode is available, but not mandatory, to anyone playing the game. It is the default option for people who opt to take advantage of the game's most advanced MotionPlus-enabled settings.
In True View you see the world through a golfer's eyes. In my case last night that meant I was seeing a gold course through the eyes of Tiger Woods. The reason for the view is that the MotionPlus — which isn't required for this year's edition but is clearly beneficial — does more than just detect wrist rotation, tilt and club speed this time around. It also can now detect a point of contact, allowing gamers to whiff on their swing or chunk a divot out of the ground. You experience this degree of control from a first-person perspective.
An EA spokesperson used a golf ball as a prop to help me through my first first-person gaming golf experience. She placed it on the ground in front of the Wii and TV I was using to try the game. I held the Wii remote as if it was a golf club, and, as directed, focused on the location of the golf ball on the floor. On the TV, I could see a first-person view that Tiger would see, looking down to a ball on the green, with a club extending from my/his hands. As I moved the club, it seemed to move in 1:1 correlation on the screen.
I wasn't sure where to look when I started swinging: at the ground or at the "ground" shown on the TV? It worked out fine though. I just swung and, wouldn't you know it, I hit the ball flush. The camera angle switched to showing the Tiger view of the ball sailing away. The standard telecast-style dynamic camera view is available, but sticking with the first-person look felt more authentic.
The first-person perspective gave me just enough added immersion that the simulation of swinging using a Wii Remote over a concrete floor felt like it I was swinging on a real golf course. The added benefit of the perspective is that it allowed me to feel like I had more nuanced control. I could gingerly test the position of my club vis a vis the virtual ball before taking a whack at it.
I don't know about first-person in other sports games, but my first try of first-person golf convinced me that this is one of those things I didn't know I wanted — but am happy was made anyway.