PGA Tour2K21 debuted in the Stadia Store in August 2020. I didn’t pick it up until September. Since then, I haven’t been able to put it down. I have only played a few golf games in my gaming career, so my experience is somewhat limited. I have played Golf on NES. Tiger Woods. Wii Golf in the Sports bundle, and all of those games are and were really fun. In that limited experience, I can say that this game is the best golf game that I have played. It has a lot of strong positives, and some annoying negatives.
So, read on, and read this review.
First, I want to say that the gameplay is solid. It is challenging even set on Easy. Physics plays a prominent role in this game. You have to read the greens well when putting. I find myself analyzing even the slightest curve in the ground. I’ve nailed long putts 40-50 ft. away. Physics also factors in when taking long shots, and you can shape your shots to go around trees, fight into the wind, or even use the wind to push your shots towards the cup.
Speaking of the controls. This is the bread and butter of this game. I am really impressed with how the game makes use of nearly every button and combines them to choose your club, and the shot. You have the option to create a draw, or fade, pull the shot, or slice it. You can dial back the power to get some roll to the tin, or go for the gusto and full swing and try for a hole in one on a short Par 3. The best thing is that you customize the controller button layout to suit your needs. The game automatically selects a club and shot for you, but this is a suggestion. I usually club down one because the game selects one that is usually too much for the place you are on the hole.
The HUD gives you a ton of options which can at first seem intimidating, but once you learn what everything is, it becomes natural, and hardly even noticeable. I have it set to use the left stick to shoot, and the right stick to choose the power of the shot. Pressing Y will take you to right around the spot where your shot will land. From here you can shape your shot, and make sure it lands where you want it to. There’s also an indicator to tell you how your stick movement affected your shot, and if your swing was fast or slow.
This is extremely helpful as it teaches you how to improve your swing. There is also a tutorial level that you have to finish before you advance to the game. Once you’re into the game, you have many options including creating your player which is the deepest create-a-player that I have ever used. Everything is changeable. I won’t get too deep into that. You can see that in the game.
I want to talk about the best thing about this game. The sound. The sound design team needs to win an award of some kind because the sound in this game is near perfect. When you hit the driver just right, it is one of the most satisfying sounds you’ll ever hear in a game. The crowd reactions are just like real golf on television. Some fans even scream “Get in the hole!!!” They hang on every shot, and react when you land on the fairway and the green. The commentary is fun, and I like the way the team plays off of each other.
I can’t talk about the good without mentioning the bad. There are some annoying things that I have found after having played so many hours. The main thing for me is the pause menu being extremely slow. When you press the hamburger menu button, the game stops and “thinks” for a full 30-45 seconds. This will seem like an eternity when you’re used to the menu pulling right up the instant you press the button. Hopefully, this will be fixed before too long. The next thing is sometimes during your swing, the game will stutter, and for the most part, it doesn’t affect your swing much at all, but it’s really annoying when it happens. It’s not too often, thankfully. However, it is something that needs to be patched.
Those gripes out of the way, this is a fantastic game. You also have an in depth create a course mode. This mode has so many options and you’ll get lost in all of them. You have about eleven options of courses to choose from. From there, you can add or take away nearly anything. You have sliders to affect different aspects of the course layout. Then you can get in depth and go hole by hole, and really tailor it to your liking. After you’re done, you can publish your course, and any player can play it. You can always go back and tweak the course as you find out what works, and what doesn’t.
When you’re playing your PGA career, you can adjust the difficulty. You can make it very hard, or very easy. As I said before, even on easy, it still provides a challenge. You can adjust the opponent’s difficulty, and that of the conditions. On Easy, you have to play perfect golf, but you can still win. On Normal, you have to be better than perfect, and on higher difficulties, you have to be legendary. I like this, and this will force you to really think about every shot.
Overall, this is a fantastic game, and it is as close to real golf simulation as you’re ever going to get. 2K has a winner on its hands.