Developer: HB Studios
Publisher: 2K Games
Reviewed on: PS4 Pro
Also available on: Xbox One, Nintendo Switch & PC
Release: August 21st 2020
Price: $79 - JB HIFI
PGA Tour 2K21 is a sports video game developed by HB Studios and published by Take-Two Interactive. Released on August 21st 2020, PGA Tour 2k21 is a continuation of HB Studios’ “The Golf Club” franchise, integrated with Take-Two’s “2K Sports” label and effectively supersedes Tiger Woods PGA Tour. 2K21 includes 15 courses, as well as 12 professionals who appear as opponents throughout the game. New difficulty modes and assists for casual players were also introduced allowing a much broader range of gamers to enjoy this latest installment to the franchise. In addition to these new additions, we see the return of existing features such as course editor.
PGA Tour is one of those franchises you either love or you hate, personally I have a massive connection to the old Tiger Woods PGA games and have spent many, many hours in the past playing them. So despite not owning a golf game for a very long time, when the opportunity to play PGA Tour 2K21 presented itself, of course I jumped at it.
PGA Tour 2K21, is in my opinion, without a doubt the best looking golf game available to date. Graphically the game is really good. given the number of years since I last played a golf game, that stark contrast in graphics is no surprise, but even with that in mind, this game looks good - very good. The character models, the environments, the scenery, all look clean, sharp and exactly what you’d expect them to look like in 2020.
Seeing as how the last time I played a PGA game was in fact, probably 15 years ago and on PC in the form of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2000 “and something”. I was interested to see what had changed in terms of gameplay. From memory the last time I played, the physics; while a lot of fun, were a little inaccurate. I remember hitting the ball and dragging down with the mouse repeatedly to put backspin on the ball but when that ball landed, it’s spin would take it a good 30 feet backwards. 2K21 however, handles these physics much better. Given my time away from the franchise I started on assist mode, meaning that the exact trajectory of my backswing was not important, all that mattered was that I had aimed correctly and that I had hit the ball with the right amount of power. For those looking for more of a challenge, there are options available that mean that every shot must be hit with absolute precision, and any miniscule miscalculations or stray movements of the analogue stick result in your shot going wildly to one side or the other. Granted, the Dualshock 4 I used to try this does have some right analogue stick drift, so this could have been the reason I struggled so much. This seems to be the minimum difficulty to play online, so I imagine it's actually a lot simpler than I seemed to find it.
Despite my glaring lack of any real skill, the game made me feel like I was a pro, the assisted mode allowed me to hit some real cracking shots and almost always land the ball within a good distance of the pin. These settings mean that just about anyone can play this game and have a good chance of doing well.
Probably the only real issue I had with the game (gameplay wise), was the excessive load times; these sometimes had you waiting for what seemed like an eternity. Granted this wasn't helped by the fact that I played this one off the back of completing Ghost of Tsushima, a game with almost zero load times, so it was very noticeable. Was it enough to put me off playing? No.
Career mode in PGA Tour 2K21 is actually surprisingly engaging, as with most games, you start as a rookie, you win tournaments to earn your way into bigger tournaments, and use the prize money to upgrade equipment etc. On top of just natural competitiveness, the game actually assigns you rivals throughout your career who are on a similar level to you, which pushes you even harder to win. The way the tournaments are presented is brilliant, with replays and highlights from other golfers playing in between your shots, making it feel like a TV broadcast, which really ups the immersiveness. The commentating itself is great, sometimes humorous, but occasionally they say something that leaves you scratching your head. Like most sports games with commentators, once you've played for long enough, their comments do become very repetitive and it does become a little much after a while. Despite that, the gameplay is a lot of fun and makes you want to keep playing. So much so I kept putting off writing this review due to my want to keep playing the game. I am hooked! A lot like some of my shots…..
I would like to note however, that I did actually have a massive issue even trying to play career mode.The issue was that the game would simply not connect to the server via an Ethernet cable and it wasn't until I switched my connection to WiFi that I was able to get in and play. Hopefully if any of you have a similar issue, that fixes it for you also. This issue seems to be fixed now as I have played since using an Ethernet cable with no issues. Aside from that, the game ran perfectly, never missed a beat.
Overall, of course there will be people out there, who, golf games are just not your cup of tea; and that's fine. However, whether you're a golf enthusiast or someone looking for a fun casual game to play whenever you get a spare moment, PGA Tour 2K21 is one I'd highly recommend picking up. It’s not only the best looking, but also the most accessible PGA game I have ever played.