PGA TOUR 2K21 PS4 Review – A Fantastic Strike

 
PGA TOUR 2K21
PGA TOUR 2K21
PGA TOUR 2K21

 
Overview
 

Genre: Sports
 
Rating: G
 
Release Date: 21/08/2020
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
4/5


User Rating
1 total rating

 

Positives


- MyCareer is fantastically lengthy
- Course Designer tools are powerful
- Frequent goals to hit
- Plenty of modes to play

Negatives


- Load times can be long in main menus
- A few more Pro players would've been nice


Posted August 20, 2020 by

 
Full Article
 
 

I’ve long loved golf games, with the PGA TOUR series long viewed as the pinnacle of the genre to me. While there have been some pretty good golf games recently like The Golf Club 2019 and the more arcadey Everybody’s Golf, I’ve missed the real-life Pros and courses that come with a PGA TOUR game. Finally, the series is back with PGA TOUR 2K21 and after playing around with a preview build on PC recently, I’ve now had the chance to play the game on PS4 and have loved my time with the game.

Developed by HB Studios and published by 2K Games, as opposed to the EA developed and published games of the past, PGA TOUR 2K21 is both immediately familiar and also different at the same time. You’ll still have the same style of career mode as the series had in the past, along with a myriad of multiplayer modes, but you also get access to the fantastic creation tools HB Studios have made a name for themselves with, along with the ability to create your own online societies.

Unfortunately, with my time spent with the game being pre-release, there weren’t many opportunities to test out the game’s multiplayer modes. While I played the different game types offline using ghosts, I wasn’t able to really test out any lag or similar issues that can come from an online multiplayer match. There’s a few options there, like regular head to head matches, Scramble, Skins, Alt-Shot and Stroke Play, but where the multiplayer really takes off is in Societies. Societies are player-created Clubs where you run seasons and tournaments for other players, allowing you to create a more relaxed (but still competitive) environment where each player can complete objectives at their own pace. You have full control over entry rules and requirements, as well as settings like handicaps, so you’re able to open it up to the public or keep it locked down for just your friends.

Where I spent the majority of my time with PGA TOUR 2K21 was in MyCareer. While there is the option to start at a lower level and consolidate your skills prior to jumping into the PGA Tour itself, having previously completed them, I jumped straight into the tour. While the courses are definitely harder than in the lower levels, the controls are intuitive enough that I was able to acclimatise extremely quickly, winning my second tournament and never looking back. This speed to competency is greatly helped by the game automatically dialling in suggested shots (which aren’t perfect shots, but will generally keep you on the straight and narrow) and the detailed (and completely optional) training mode. Each season in MyCareer is magnificently long, meaning there’s plenty to do, while there are some additional tournaments in there that you’ll only be able to access by hitting specific milestones.

Throughout your career as a Pro Golfer, playing the fairways isn’t the only thing you’ll be doing. You’ll also be competing against the game’s PGA Pros in rivalries and completing sponsorship goals. As you progress through your career the game will automatically assign rivals to you. Your goal with each rival is to perform better than them in each individual championship, earning a point for each metric you’re the better performer in. Whoever reaches the assigned points total first is then declared the winner of the rivalry, with you unlocking some currency and unique cosmetic items if that’s you. Sponsorships are somewhat similar, with a number of goals assigned to you to be completed. Completing these will gain experience towards the chosen sponsorship brand, with you unlocking more goodies as they level up. What this means is that there’s always plenty of goals while playing, including smaller championship and hole goals, keeping you all the more engaged.

Throughout all of this, you’ll be unlocking experience and currency. Experience will level your golfer up, unlocking new cosmetic items and currency. Currency can then be spent buying new cosmetic items and clubs. Different clubs have different stats, but not once did I feel disadvantaged using the default clubs I started with. There’s no stats to increase or boosts to buy, instead the game just focuses solely on keeping a level playing field based on skill and giving you the opportunity to deck out your character if you so choose. The character customisation itself is relatively standard, with no particular bells or whistles to it, but you should still be able to create a character you like the look of.

There’s one last feature to talk about in PGA TOUR 2K21; the Course Designer. Here is where HB Studios truly show what they’ve learnt from The Golf Club, with a set of powerful creation tools contained within the game. Initially you’re given a few options to create the general layout and style of your course such as the number of holes, the breakdown of par scores, the environment and the general abundance of water, trees, hill, rocks and more. From there, you’re dropped into course and given full terraforming controls and a whole bunch of props that you can put wherever you want around the greens. Want to chuck in a toilet and a massive crowd of people waiting to use it? Go for it! Crocodiles everywhere? Why not! There are plenty of options and there’s no doubt there will be some amazing courses that come out of this. Combined with the ability to import courses created in past HB Studios games, there’s going to be plenty of courses to play.

Speaking more generally, PGA TOUR 2K21 is a good-looking game, albeit not an amazing looking one. The courses and props are detailed, the crowds look good and your own character and the models of other players look pretty as well. There could always stand to be more complex geometry and textures, as well as more props around the place to really amplify them, but the game looks good enough as it stands. The real standout, however, is the game’s lighting, which can look absolutely fantastic in some courses. The physics seem pretty great as well, with the ball bouncing off surfaces realistically and the wind picking up the ball consistently and believably. The game also ran perfectly throughout my entire time with it.

There were only a couple of issues I came across during my time with the game. Occasionally I ran into a glitch after chipping onto a green when the club controls would instead start controlling the camera. Quickly jumping into the overhead view and back again fixed this in every instance. The other issue was long load times on the game’s main menus. Main menus would frequently take 15 or 20 seconds to load, which was frustrating when I was trying to play the game or get into the customisation options. Loads into courses would take a good 30 seconds or so, but once in a course there was little to no loading between holes, although I did turn off the Pro Replays in the menu because these would frequently disrupt my rhythm between holes and often took a while to load as well.

Overall, PGA TOUR 2K21 definitely feels like the culmination of the work HB Studios put in with the creation and continued expansion of The Golf Club. The physics are great, the controls intuitive, the greens look realistic, the career mode is lengthy and engaging and the creation tools are powerful. The load times can be a tad annoying at points, but that’s the only real negative thing I have to say about the game. Whether you’re an avid fan of golf games or just have a passing interest in them, I wholeheartedly suggest jumping in here.

PGA TOUR 2K21 was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro, with a review copy provided by 2K Games. The game is also available on Nintendo Switch (which doesn’t include the Course Designer), PC and Xbox One. For more information, check out the game’s 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.