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PGA Tour 2K21 Review

PGA Tour 2K21 Review

PGA Tour 2K21 marks the return of the series after laying dormant for the last five years. Previously, EA were responsible for the PGA videogames but they ended their license deal with the PGA Tour in 2015. When 2K announced they would be handling PGA Tour 2K21, they were met with trepidation from seasoned fans. This was, after all, in the wake of the microtransactions controversy that plagued NBA 2K20. As a result, the titular NBA game was bombarded with negative reviews and did serious damage to 2K’s reputation.

Thus, I, too, felt a sense of trepidation going into this review. What I’m pleased to say, right off the bat...oh wait, wrong sport - nevertheless, what I’m pleased to say is that PGA Tour 2K21 does away with the aggressive microtransactions seen in NBA 2K. Unlike that game, there is no dark microtransaction cloud hanging over your head as you take to a number of famous courses. With no microtransactions marring my experience, I was free to review PGA Tour 2K21 without any controversy looming over my time with it.

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As has become the custom with 2K sports titles, PGA Tour 2K21 has you start off by creating your MyPLAYER. This comprises a simple character creation suite with hundreds of customisation options including new apparel and equipment from licensed brands including Adidas, Polo Ralph Lauren, Malbon Golf, Callaway Golf, Bridgestone Golf, TaylorMade Golf and more. Microtransactions are present with some cosmetic items in the game. Thankfully, the same items can be easily earned by in-game progression.

The character creation sliders allow you to tweak various physical attributes to fit your desired look. There’s enough here to create a unique-looking character but, overall, the character models look largely uninspired. They’re not necessarily bad… they’re just not very good either. Your MyPLAYER will be integrated into every game mode throughout the game, including online multiplayer.

Online multiplayer allows you to tee off against other players in a fairly standard competitive match. Alternatively, you can join an Online Society to play with other users in a relaxed, but competitive environment. You can join multiple societies and compete against fellow society members in the events set up by the Society Admins.

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In any sports title, my first port of call is the Career mode. Your personal career tees off at Q-School, which is where you undertake what might as well be called a Golfing 101 course. Here, you’ll pick up the basics with a welcoming tutorial mode. Further, you can tailor the game’s difficulty to match your skill level. Since I was a little rusty, I fully engaged with all the tutorial had to offer. This meant leaving the guides on, such as the putting guide line.

The Career mode follows a realistic trajectory that sees you completing various smaller tours before landing yourself a spot on the PGA Tour. Through most of my golfing journey, I left many of the guides on. PGA Tour 2K21 is a difficult game, requiring precision, patience, and practice. By the end of a season of events, I had honed my skills and felt comfortable enough to remove some of the guides. Nevertheless, it’ll be a little longer yet until I’m comfortable enough to remove them completely.

Incidentally, when you make it to the PGA Tour, you’ll start finding yourself embroiled in rivalries with other golfers. The rivalry system pits you against other pro golfers and requires the completion of various challenges in order to best them. Theoretically, this is an interesting system to add some drama to the Tour. If Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore taught us anything, it’s that golf can sometimes use a little drama.

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That being said, the rivalries in PGA Tour 2K21 don’t live up to their billing. Besting your rival rewards you with in-game currency but, on the whole, there’s no attempt to really invest you in the rivalry. In my assessment, the rivalry system would benefit greatly from cutscenes to establish some reason for the rivalry. Instead, you might find yourself forgetting you even have a rival since it’s only occasionally alluded to by the play-by-play commentator.

As well as becoming a better golfer, the Career mode also makes you focus on securing and upgrading sponsors. You can only have one sponsor active at a time but with multiple stages of goals each rewarding unique items, you won’t be in any rush to ditch them. Clothing rewards are purely aesthetic whereas clubs have various pros and cons.

The golfing mechanics feel tight and precise. Taking aim and following through precisely requires near-surgical control of the analog stick. The mantra ‘practice makes perfect’ definitely rings true in this case. Due to the difficulty, hitting a well-placed shot and slotting it in with the final put feels deservedly satisfying. As aforementioned, putting in PGA Tour 2K21 requires precision, patience, and practice and mastering these three attributes will have you playing like a pro.

Graphically, PGA Tour 2K21 faithfully recreates the 15 in-game, licensed TPC courses. Visual fidelity alone isn’t something to rave about in PGA Tour 2K21 but the overall presentation certainly is. Impressive visuals and realistic lighting really immerse the player into these virtual, real-world locations. PGA Tour 2K21 gets the minute details of every course spot-on; ensuring an accurate and pleasant recreation of these famous, well-known courses.

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If you ever get tired of the included courses, go ahead and make your own. Players can use the Course Designer to create the course of their dreams, then publish it to share with friends and the rest of the community. As well as setting the holes up, the Course Designer allows players to add a very wide range of trees, plants, wildlife, and man-made objects to their custom course.

All in all, PGA Tour 2K21 marks an impressive return for the series after its five year hiatus. Seasoned fans can find peace knowing that their concerns over 2K’s involvement are positively allayed. Given how long it’s been since the last proper golf game, it’s difficult to compare PGA Tour 2K21 to its predecessors.

8.00/10 8

PGA TOUR 2K21 (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)

This game is great, with minimal or no negatives.

PGA Tour 2K21 is a standout golfing experience in its own right that any fan, veteran or novice, can play to enjoy a golfing experience tailored for them.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Charles Oakley

Charles Oakley

Staff Writer

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