Posted August 7, 2020 by Andrew Cathie in Feature

PGA TOUR 2K21 Hands On Impressions – PGA TOUR Is Finally Back

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to play a PGA TOUR game. While there have been other golf games since the last PGA TOUR game released (included The Golf Club 2 by HB Studios), there’s something about the series that has always grabbed me. Maybe it’s just as simple as having the opportunity to play against facsimiles of real pro players, giving me a vague sense of superiority as I destroy them with my perfect swings. Now after half a decade, I finally got the chance to play another PGA TOUR game again in the form of PGA TOUR 2K21, so read on for my early hands on impressions.

While my time with the game has been relatively short so far, I’ve basically been given free reign to play and experience as much of the game as I want. For me, the biggest part of any sports game is career mode and building my own legend, so that’s where I spent the majority of my time with PGA TOUR 2K21 so far.

Booting the game for the first time, I was immediately given the opportunity to create my own player. Panicking on picking a surname, I went with the default ‘Golfer’ and then got stuck into editing my character. All of the choices here were superficial, meant purely to create a character that you love the look of, as opposed to altering how the game would function. There were no stats to spend VC on, just a bunch of pre-set face options and a few sliders. It was far from the most in-depth character creator out there, but I was able to create a character I liked. There were clothes and clubs to purchase with in-game currency, but that was it.

From there, it was into a relatively short tutorial built to acclimatise me to the game’s controls. There’s a few different control options to choose from here, and I went with using the left analogue stick on my controller to pull back and swing. The tutorial did a good job of running me through the basics of playing the game, and didn’t overstay its welcome, which was great. It felt like a pretty good medium between giving me the tools to play, without completely overwhelming me with information.

Then, it was on to what I love the most; Starting at the bottom of the ladder and working my way up. Starting my career I had the option to start right on the PGA Tour itself, but instead I went right for the bottom of the barrel, giving myself a chance to see if I was completely overestimating my skills at video game golf. Needless to say, I wasn’t, and I was immediately promoted to the next stage of the career mode. Here, things got a little more difficult, with more course hazards, stronger windspeeds and more heavily sloped greens that made my life more difficult. Still, it was a steady progression of new or heightened elements, instead of immediately overwhelming me. I’ll be interested to see just how that progression continues throughout the game.

As much as I love a good career mode, however, that really means nothing if the controls or technical performance are terrible. This is where getting to play PGA TOUR 2K21 in a hands on fashion really paid off.  I mainly stuck with the left analogue stick control scheme, which had me controlling my swing with my left analogue stick and the camera with the right analogue stick. It felt extremely intuitive, and after a few early swings that went off course, I was quickly striking the ball sweetly 9/10 times. Obviously what I was playing probably wasn’t the same build as what will be out at release, but I was still impressed with how well the game ran, averaging up at the 144fps on Ultra at 1440p. This is partially because the game didn’t look particularly complex or amazing. I didn’t seem to be getting the cutting edge NBA 2K graphical experience here, but it was far from bad looking.

While most of my time was spent in career, I did sneak in a little bit of time with the game’s Course Designer. As you might expect, Course Designer is where you’ll go to create your own customer golf courses. At first drop, you’re given a bunch of sliders and themes that you can select from that determine the initial general layout of your course, meaning anybody can quickly jump in to create if they want. From there, the training wheels are immediately removed and you can place multitudes of objects down or terraform like no tomorrow. I’m excited to spend some more time getting into course design, because the tools definitely looked pretty robust.

We’ve still got a couple more weeks until PGA TOUR 2K21 releases, but my early hands on time with the game has got me even more excited than I already was. Everything seems to be coming together quite well, with a robust suite of course creation tools and some intuitive controls that made playing feel fantastic.

PGA TOUR 2K21 released for Nintendo Switch (this version will launch without the Course Designer available), PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on August 21. For more information, check out the official website.

Andrew Cathie

Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.