Great playing, but missing that edge.
I need to preface this review. While I know the game of golf, I have never actually played a professional golf game before. I have delved deep into the world of Hot Shots and Mario Golf, and have enjoyed them significantly. With that being said, I’m looking at this review from a different perspective. As a newcomer to “simulation golf”, and as a person interested to see how accessible it is. Luckily, after a two year hiatus, PGA Tour is back, this time headlining Rory Mcilroy, and has made playing the game of golf really fun and as easy as I wanted it to be.
The first thing I had to do was go through a tutorial and see exactly how the game was played. After learning the basics, I could then try out other ways to play. There are three main swing styles to try out. Arcade had me using up and down on the left stick to swing the ball, Classic was the more traditional “three click method”, and the complex style that uses the control stick to add spin and force to my drives. I went with the three click method since that was the one I always used in Mario Golf. Even after choosing my style, I could always switch it up, and then even mix and match aspects of each for certain scenarios. It was very customizable.
Platforms: PS4, XB1
Price I’d pay: $50
Multiplayer: Online and local rounds and tournaments
While playing the actual game of golf, it was both fun and impressive on how both the mechanics worked and how the physics are implemented. With the play style I had set up, it felt like I was playing a version of this game that was meant for me, and by the time I was a few hours in, I was sinking birdies and eagles constantly.
There are a few modes to take on. Simple play now golf just let me right into a round, head to head golf against other players both locally and online, tournaments with other competitors, challenges that offer up a more arcade feel and look to them, and the mode I spent most of my time in, the career mode.
Career mode had me creating a character and taking them on the PGA Tour with some of the top players in the game. While the character customization is a bit bare bones, the progression and skills I could have on my character were interesting and added more my golfer. I could equip a certain golf style to my golfer that had stats on them. With each hole I played, I would gain XP that would go to my profile level. Leveling up unlocked more apparel items to use as well as new clubs to try out. On top of all that, each round I played would increase my golfer’s stats and improve their game. The career mode does feel a bit shallow, though. When looking at what I could actually do, it boiled down to changing outfits, trying different clubs, or going to my next tournament, and with no schedule to actually look at, I couldn’t tell if I was going to a one-off tourney or a major contender tournament that was going to affect my standings.
The online is a strange one as well. While it works in an actual game sense, the way it is handled is very weird. All players in a game play their hole simultaneously. There is a set time limit for every player to finish the hole, and while I was playing my hole, I would notice periodically my friends would pop in and out of existence to make their shot then quickly disappear afterwards. On top of that, no commentary was happening, and for the most part, the entire time it was silent. It was jarring to say the least.
The amount of courses and actual real life players are a bit skimpy as well. With only 12 courses at launch, I was already repeating the same course within a few tournaments.
There are a good amount of arcade challenges that offer up a change of pace where I would have to hit certain spots or complete a hole with certain conditions on a rather unorthodox course, while at the same time using special assists like a speed booster or stick golf balls.
Popping in harder than Magnitude.
While the game looks rather impressive, the texture pop in is glaring, and really took me out of the entire “take in the scenery” experience. Even on the main menu the foxes running around the course would appear and disappear at random. Technically it is a sound game, but there are a few hitches here and there while loading certain things. The initial loading is rather long, but once I was in a round, there was hardly any to be found.
While I liked the presentation, the commentary, while well done, is repeated within two hours of playing the game, but for the first time playing, I was actually impressed by how well done the presentation was handled even when my golfer would literally do the robot after hitting in a birdie.
Rory Mcilroy PGA Tour is a well playing game, and when it’s all said and done, that’s what I was looking for. The customization in the play styles is well done, and the actual golf in the game is fun and as accessible as I wanted it to be. While the career mode and online portions of the game are lacking in the options and features department, I still found myself enjoying what I was playing. Both hardcore and casual golf fans will find a fun playing golf game, but players looking for a lot of modes and options won’t find it here.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.