I got afforded the opportunity to try out a demo build for PGA Tour 2K21, ahead of the game’s full launch on 21 August 2020 for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC platforms. It’s worth repeating that this is indeed a demo build, so I wasn’t able to try out every single aspect of the game. Let’s roll out.
A LIL’ CHIP IN
You’ll be able to make your myPlayer, your avatar pretty quickly when you first boot up the game. When they say there’s a lot of options for customization, there’s a staggering amount of them open too you. For your clothing options, you can opt to have different outfits for casual wear, and for the first to fourth rounds, which means a new set of:
- Face accessory
- Wrist accessory
- Socks (!)
— PGA TOUR 2K (@PGATOUR2K) July 28, 2020
A list of brands featured can be found in the presentation article, which you can check out here, but indeed, you can have your own catwalk on the fairway. Some of these cosmetics will be purchasable using in-game money, through leveling up, while others still will be unlocked through sponsor levels or beating rivals.
That’s not even mentioning customizing your avatar itself, with options for really fantastic eye colours, custom hair colours with comparatively limited hairstyles, options for skin from freckles to crow’s eyes, for you to make yourself or your favourite celebrity who’s decided on a sudden career change to golf.
The initial tutorial is short, which is more for calibration purposes, but when you start the game proper you can learn more about the swing basics, putting, clubs and shot types, and advanced shots. You can skip ahead to the lessons within a category if you wish. Hilariously enough, HB Studios has thought to put in a running commentary if you do skip, so it might be worth listening just for that even if you don’t need the lessons.
GAME… AND SET?
Honestly, as a non-golfer, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, but the controls are simple enough to understand, if hard to utilize. With the keyboard and mouse, the actual swing is controlled by the mouse. You need to hold down the left mouse button, pull back the mouse, then push forward the mouse again – while still holding on to the left mouse button – then let it go when it reaches the correct area in the power bar UI. It’s extremely clunky to describe it that way, but I can assure you it’s easier in motion: just that my mouse doesn’t respond very well to the motions.
With Pro Vision on, I can see my shots being horribly slanted and fairly inaccurate even with the forgiving settings – all on beginner, by the by – but the ball at least does land more or less roughly where I’d hope it to be. You can swap the clubs whenever you want, ignoring the default suggestions. Difficulty options range from your ease of control, to your opponents improving their skill over time and even their attendance for events. Somehow I can’t imagine not attending a golfing event if you’re a pro, but there you go.
— PGA TOUR 2K (@PGATOUR2K) July 10, 2020
I didn’t explore the Rivals or Sponsors too much, but I did have a look. Sponsor levels can max out, and brands will not necessarily be available during a season to actually sponsor you. Should you manage their challenges, then you can unlock some exclusive cosmetics. As for Rivals, most require you to beat the previous pro before you unlock the next one, with Justin Thomas being the last one on the line. Good luck.
You can get challenges along the way when you’re at the various Holes, getting extra experience when you complete them. Scaling up the difficulty will increase the experience multiplier accordingly, which you’d probably want to do with some cosmetics asking for a whopping level 99 player level to unlock.
Besides that, the Course Designer is one of the biggest touted features with PGA Tour 2K21, and I did try it out. However, I was completely clueless as to what the settings really did, and setting number of holes to One didn’t seem to do much. You can just slap on a basic theme and try fiddling from there, with the ability to start completely clean. A tutorial for the designer might be helpful…
— PGA TOUR 2K (@PGATOUR2K) August 5, 2020
Since this was a limited build, I didn’t try out the community options which are the multiplayer and Societies. Perhaps that’s also for the better, as I really need to brush up on some more golfing basics before I actually know what they really mean. You can look forward to seasons and tours made by golfing enthusiasts at large, though, so if you’re a fan, sit tight and keep a look out for both interesting courses and tours once the game launches 21 August!