Welcome back to another taster of PGA TOUR 2K23, this time for what I’d say is the meat of the game outside of multiplayer Societies: the Career mode! I’ve shown off a little of the tutorial and Topgolf here, if you haven’t seen it yet.
Let’s just hop right into it.
The character customization is honestly far more in-depth than it has any need to be. Your golfer can choose from some presets, or can otherwise fiddle with:
- Face adjustments including spacing, depth, angle for features
- Skin tone, moles, weathering, freckles, dimples, pitted cheeks
- Presets for eye colour, hair styles, facial hair, eyebrows, makeup, height
Your wardrobe will be coming from unlocks from the game, purchasable through the in-game store. You can choose how your caddie looks like from given presets.
The more mechanical stuff will be in your locker where you can find all your equipment. There are cosmetics for these of course, with the actual stats coming from the rarity of items within your bag, or the fittings you’ve used. Fittings will charge a fee depending on how rare it is. Until I go glossary diving, a lot of these aren’t things I instinctively understand.
What’s incredibly interesting is the “gamifying” of golf, in the skill trees and Archetype. The preview build mentioned a level 50 cap, with 7 skill trees and 3 levels per skill. These skill trees naturally grant modifiers to certain aspects to your golfing performance, activating automatically in relevant conditions.
The Archetypes pretty much sound as like they imply: certain “styles” with their own strengths and weaknesses that affect certain shot types or how you shoot. This should work together with the skill tree to complement strengths or offset weaknesses.
I see that you can have up to 3-4 Guest profiles as well which should help in easing in friends in local co-op.
CRUISING PAST EASY AI
As a beginner, I did indeed set everything to be as easy as possible for me. I apologize to the pros whose skills have been compromised.
I decided to kick off with the PGA Tour just to see what it was like. As I play more, I’ll be able to see my “handicap” (HCP) score be calibrated as I go.
Certain legs in the Tour will allow change of course, which you’ll need to check the schedule for. Rivals are limited to the PGA Tour who you can defeat in events to obtain a variety of rewards. On the Rival select, you’ll get a brief bio and peek at what you can get from them. Defeat all in one tier to move on to the next, with up to Tier 6 in the preview.
Returning from my previous experience with the game are the sponsors, with up to 3 available at once to either Apparel, Clubs or Ball. Unsurprisingly, trying to get a new sponsor when you already have an existing one can affect your relationship with your previous sponsor, so best to avoid that where you can. Do good in events, and they’ll be happy with you, with a bonus towards the unlocks you get from that particular sponsor.
Once you hit the fairway, certain holes can have their respective impromptu challenges to earn some bonus EXP. While the Beginner difficulty option says you can simply swing and shoot, it’s not quite as straightforward. Wind and elevation must still be accounted for, so Beginner is more of an assist / crutch rather than an instant win. If any of your learnt skills are applicable, you can see what effect you’re getting on the top right.
Along the way, you can see yourself talking to your caddie or even your rival, see future rivals, and context sensitive commentary from the wonderful people (Rich Beem, Luke Elvy and Henni Koyack) who have provided their talents to the game.
Last but not least is the Clubhouse Pass, with up to 50 levels of rewards. The preview showed up to at least 45 days for a season, offering two tiers of rewards for anywhere between cosmetics and fittings for those who work their way to the top.
All in all, the core gameplay has not changed, but there are more options to get newbies into the game. I really like the 3 Button Click option which feels far easier to use than what I experienced in PGA TOUR 2K21. The gamified elements also help newbies in rough spots or simply make things easier to understand for them in a format they might understand better.
This is but a mere slice of golfing available in PGA TOUR 2K23. I think it’s got its best shot yet at appealing to newbies.