28/08/2020

⛳️๐ŸŒ️ Game Title: PGA Tour 2K21 | Review | Xbox One | "The Best Golf Simulation That I’ve Ever Played" ⛳️๐ŸŒ️ #PGATOUR2K21 @2K

Share This Post On Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share This Post On
I have played a LOT of golf games in my life. 

From early loves such as PGA Tour Golf 2 on the Sega Mega Drive through to the arcade classic NEO Turfmasters and the myriad Tiger Woods-era EA titles, I’ve had some really good times with the genre (Not forgetting a gem that I discovered only a couple of years ago called Links 2004 on the Xbox, definitely one to try if you missed it, amazing arcade-style game. Also, Golf Story is a golden ray of light). 

Whilst golf games are mostly safe bets (unless you are playing the baffling Disney Golf on PS2, whoops) it was only when my brother introduced me to HB Studios’ 2014 title The Golf Club that I felt like things were shaking up a little in the genre, with The Golf Club really yanking up those tartan Plus Fours and getting hips deep into the simulation side of things. 

Whilst this did alienate some folks who preferred a slightly more approachable arcade-style, people such as myself - who have an interest in the physical sport of golf - really clicked with how accurate the game was trying to be. 

Putting was tense and somewhat loose and the game was unforgiving towards bad shots, you had to know your stuff to get the most out of it. Following a sequel – The Golf Club 2, released in 2017 – HB Studios have now acquired the PGA license and really stepped things up a notch.
PGA Tour 2K21 feels like the further refining of an already potent formula. 

Yes, there are now officially licensed golfers - which the game often cuts away to during your round, to lend a live televised broadcast sensibility to the proceedings - and there are various real-life brands, courses and sponsors to scratch that realism-itch of players but the real deal here is under the hood. 

The same engine is utilised for graphics, but the loading times, audio and commentary work are stellar, as is the sense of progress that you get from playing, earning cash and unlocking equipment.

I’d like to focus on the sound side of things first. John McCarthy, the Northern tones of which we are all familiar with, is still featured here in a more reduced role as an ‘on the course’ specialist, whilst Luke Elvy and Rich Beem handle the heavy lifting. 

The banter between them and the accuracy of their comments really gel with the fluidity of gameplay and deepen the sense of realism. Rich Beem really tickled me at some points as he would seemingly get lost in a reverie of emotions as he lived vicariously through my achievements and success, I could almost imagine him loosening his collar in excitement.

The one oddity here is how the commentators switch from talking about your golfer, as if it was a live event to talking to you, as a player. It is slightly jarring, if not really a big issue.
The loading times are sublime here, with some really lilting tunes and beats rolling along as the initial course loads up, after which it’s pretty much instantaneous between holes. This allows you to smash through a full 18 in 20-30 minutes, great for short periods and also really pacey for times when you fancy sessioning a good few tournaments on the trot.

On top of this, the controls have been tweaked to perfection. The thumbstick-swing is standard but the ability to shape your shots and the subtle shortcuts to various options and selections being handily inconspicuous in the bottom-right of the screen is a nice touch. It all feels much sharper and cleaner than previous instalments. 

I’m also a huge fan of the putting mechanic, which allows you a one-off ‘ghost trail’ that you can then tweak for your actual shot. Again, all of this can be adjusted or removed entirely should you want a more hardcore simulation. This really opens the game up to all skill types and feels really welcoming, especially if you are playing in multiplayer with players of differing levels.

To be honest, aside from the fact that the visuals remain relatively unchanged from the previous game, everything that you need from a golf game is here (apart from cross-play, designed courses can be played on all systems but you can’t play against friends with different consoles, although you could play their courses if you so wished) and I feel comfortable in saying that it’s the best golf game I’ve ever played. 
Whereas other companies have been accused of removing features only to re-introduce them in later titles and claiming them to be ‘new’, HB Studios are masters of refinement here and I can only assume that each game will be better than the last, although they’ve set themselves a pretty high bar! 

This is clearly a game that I will be playing for months to come.

Right, I’m off to get my THIRD hole-in-one… #JS.
❄️ RATING: ICE COOL ❄️


Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

No comments:

Post a comment

Like what you see in the Games Freezer?
Why not tell us what you think with a few well-chosen comments? :)

๐ŸŽฎ Featured Posts ๐ŸŽฎ

๐Ÿ•น️ Retro Gamer Feed ๐Ÿ•น️