I don’t claim to be the biggest golf player there ever was. I have clapped a few shots in my lifetime, I know how to tee off and the basics of a driver, how to hold it and hit a ball with one. When it comes to gaming, I enjoy arcadey golf games. Everybody’s Golf and mini-golf video games are my comfort zone. This is mainly due to the fact that I have been scared of these PGA games. They just seem so damn complicated. This week all that changed as PGA Tour 2K21, one of “those” games I stayed away from, won me over.
There’s a lot to love here for a professional golf gamer. You can play against 12 licensed pros from the PGA Tour scene at any time and challenge them to an extremely tough game of golf. There’s a robust new MyPlayer system where players can pick everything from a gender to what club sets you use. Not to mention the impressive career mode with over 30 events across 15 licensed courses. However, PGA Tour 2K21 shining star here is just how accessible the game is.
The developers at HB Studios have put a lot of work into making PGA Tour 2K21 feel great regardless of your history with golf games. Things like removing the Back Swing Tempo and including six levels of difficulty have gone a long way to deliver an enjoyable game with a fair amount of challenge for those looking for it. There are even some assist systems in place like the ability to perform a Partial Swing that provides the same amount of force as a full one. In addition, there’s also Dynamic Shot-Shaping which helps fix those wonky forward drives if you’re a bit shaky with your flick.
It all started with a fantastic tutorial when first booting up the game. After a few lessons on the basics and how to use my mouse to swing back and hit a ball, PGA Tour 2K21 welcomed me into the world of golf. Within minutes, I was able to choose a difficulty and jump into a PGA tournament. I began the game on the easiest difficulty. My first PGA tournament did not go down as well as say, my first round in Everybody’s golf. There were things I had to take into consideration. Curving my shots, spinning my ball and even get this, choosing a different club AND a different shot for that club. These were great discoveries in my history of golf games. Usually, I pick a stick and wallop the ball as far as possible.
Even if you can’t tell the difference between a driver a sand wedge
Thankfully, the game carried me through my toughest times like an anti-depressant during a global pandemic. Constant assist reminders told me what I was doing wrong and a range of settings let me tweak an option if I felt like I was being an extra noob in that department. The best part about this all was how I started from the easiest and most-assisted experience, and slowly worked my way up the ladder. By my third PGA tournament, I was back in the settings, adjusting the forgiveness of my assisted swing and even turning off settings completely. I changed how assisted my shots were and even turned off the HUD guidance that told me how hard to hit a ball. PGA Tour 2K21 acted as a sort of golf game mentor and it was brilliant.
Don’t get let your dreams fade just yet. For those who are pros at golf games, this is going to be one of the best you’ve played in a while. I can only imagine how pros are going to foam at the mouth when they get their hands on the legendary difficulty. With almost no help at all, a relentless controller scheme and swing system, it is a toughie. Hopefully, I will get there one day.
A robust career mode
But PGA Tour 2K21 is not just an accessible golf game. The accessibility allows you to experience the great modes and gameplay on offer here. Players can create an avatar in the MyPlayer mode and pretend they are Francis Ouimet rising the ranks in a modern take on The Greatest Game Ever Played. You can then equip a range of cosmetics from some of the best fashion brands like Ralph Lauren. Probably be the only time in my life my broke ass would ever wear that.
Heading into the PGA Tour Career Mode, it is all about your player and going from a no one to a someone. Finding a sponsor relies on completing specific goals to unlock rewards and items from them. Even the smaller details like choosing which 14 golf clubs to take with you make it way into the game mode. There’s a lot to do here and it helps that the game allows for more players to experience is this time around.
If you’re creative, you can then jump into the Course Designer. Now, I am not a course maker but I cannot wait to see what people out there come up with. You can place your own holes, place trees, plants, animals and other objects and then test it out.
Fire your golf instructor
Don’t feel like doing anything competitive? Just launch the game into the Play Now mode where you just play through rounds of golf alone, with AI or friends. There’s also a robust training range where you can test your skills and even take on a few lessons while you are at it.
PGA Tour 2K21 may lack the cartoony art style that I enjoy from Everybody’s Golf and the windmill levels from putt-putt, there’s a lot I loved from the game that I never thought I would. No really, when my local 2K Games representative asked if I wanted to play the game, it took me two days of avoiding her to say yes. I am so glad I agree to play the preview. I can’t wait to get my hands on the game when it launches on 21 August.