The PGA Tour series have been lying in dormant for around seven years, with its last entry to the franchise going as far as back as 2015 with Rory McIlroy PGA Tour. Now, that the franchise is being revitalized through the release of EA Sports PGA Tour courtesy of EA Orlando and EA Madrid, one might ask, will the game land in the Rough or in the Green? Read on to find out more.
Knowing A Swing Or Two
Playing golf in a much more realistic setting and not as my Mii in Nintendo Switch Sports, felt like it was definitely going to be a different type of game, with that in mind, I personally opted to play on Arcade difficulty which helped me ease into the game without being too overburdened by the multitude of complex modifiers such as wind gusts and spin of the ball.
Couple that with its Coaching Academy Challenges (which involves a ton of trial and error) and you will be all set for the fairway. For those looking for a challenge and would like a more immersive simulation experience (which the game does really well) there are other difficulties that might be more to your liking such as Pro, Tour and Simulation.
Diving straight into the gameplay, EA Sports PGA Tour plays very different from other golf games I have played in recent memory. The swing system definitely puts the sim in simulation, as the way you swing in this game is by moving L3 in the same direction of the shot bar much like taking an actual swing in golf! Its not perfect however as there is noticeable input lag which does get frustrating at times. But once you get the timing down and you managed to land that perfect swing, it just feels so satisfying as opposed to simply pressing a button.
Once you manage to get the ball off the ground after adjusting your desired trajectory with the D-pad, the feeling you get when the ball flies across the course feels is great. The controller has a subtle vibration to it as the camera tracks your ball movement while it is airborne, probably simulating the wind resistance as it fluctuates depending on how fast the ball was travelling which I personally felt was a really nice touch and helped kept me engaged with what was being displayed on screen.
Different Strokes For Different Folks
The game naturally has both a single player component and a multiplayer component to it, most of my time however was spent in the Career Mode as I never got the opportunity to join a multiplayer game unfortunately.
You may also create your own golfer which allows you to edit the different aspects of your golfer which are:
- Head ( face and eye color )
- Body Type ( presets that you select )
- Hair ( Hairstyle, Hair color, Eyebrow and Eye Color )
- Swing ( Swing Style and Swing Animation )
You can then allocate points into different sections such as Power, Driving, Approach, Short Game and Putting which determines what kind of playstyle your golfer will have.
Moving forward, while the customization options for your character in terms of apparel were limited from the beginning, the game does have licensed exclusive gear and apparel from known brands in the sport such as TaylorMade, Adidas, Nike and more which can be unlocked by using in-game currency or real world money.
You then can decide where you would like to start in your career, either starting from the bottom and making your way to the Masters or skip it all and dive straight into the Masters immediately. Starting from the bottom does require you to rise up until the Masters which has certain prerequisites that you will need to satisfy. Luckily, the game does not punish you by giving you a Game Over should you fail to meet the requirements, instead it suggests that you either restart the tournament or just proceed into another Major.
The growth of your character during the Career Mode is heavily influenced through obtaining experience points by completing games and training which in turn gives you additional points to spend to improve your characters overall performance in game.
The Career Mode also includes full season schedule featuring all 4 Majors, FedEx Cup and more which does make the Career Mode feel more extensive and in some cases like an actual seasonal thing.
If building up your character is not your preferred method of play, you may also choose any existing professional golfers such as Scottie Scheffler ( no.1 in the world & current Masters Champ ) and run the course with them through quick play. While the roster is lacking at time of writing, most likely new golfers will be slowly added to the game through updates.
Surface Level Beauty
Built on EA’s Frostbite Engine it comes to no surprise that the game’s overall environments look great. The courses themselves and its surrounding flora really made me feel like I was there at these actual golf courses losing terribly against PGA Legends.
Textures on clothes, as well as the different elements such as sand and water all look great in this game while running smoothly on the PlayStation 5.
On the topic of courses, there are 30 courses available currently in EA Sports PGA Tour with 28 of them are based from real life golf courses such as Augusta National Golf Club, Southern Hills and Oak Hills Country Club. Much like the roster, it is most likely that more courses will be added throughout the game’s lifecycle.
While character models do look great on the surface, in some instances the expressions that they characters have on their faces get a little bit too over expressive which results in some really funny and sometimes creepy imagery.
Other things that should be taken note off would be that the menu and UI design are not great, often times I would end up at the wrong menu to upgrade my skills. The camera sometimes is a bit wonky as well and you should definitely adjust your field of view as sometimes the boundaries obstruct your view especially in the Rough or Tall Grass.
The crowd and ambience in this game is amazing as well, the energy you get when watching an actual golf tournament is faithfully recreated here in EA sports PGA Tour, from the subtle claps and the dead silence when taking a shot, all of it is here and definitely adds to the overall experience when playing the game.
With the game being the PGA Tours Franchise revivification, one would expect perhaps a more meatier roster and a much intuitive UI design. That being said, it would not be fair to compare EA Sports PGA Tours to a game like EA Sports UFC which had a pretty stacked roster of fighters at launch as all the UFC fighters likeness licenses are held by the governing UFC body and not on the individual itself.
Not only that, the process of securing the license to use the golfers likeness may take some time and perhaps there was just not much time left in between development and release to include the missing golfers such as Jon Rahm at launch.
In any case, it all boils down to whom this game is actually for, I believe golf fans who are anxiously waiting for EA’s newest PGA Tours would definitely enjoy it. It is an amazing simulator that has you playing in faithful recreations of their real world counterparts. It’s not a hole-in-one admittedly due to its small roster size and facial animations, but the gameplay far outweighs these inconveniences with its unique Swing Mechanic and due to that, it probably is one of the best golf simulators you can get right now which easily lands it in the Green for me.
|Easy to pickup, difficult to master
|Face expressions can get weird
|Graphics are great
|A not so helpful tutorial
|Good sound design
EA Sports PGA Tour is on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and PC. You may find further details regarding the game at their official website.
EA Sports PGA Tour was reviewed on PlayStation 5.