Update: PGA Tour 2K21 is developed solely by HB Studios. Previously we’ve stated that the game is also made by Maximum Studios. We regret the error and are updating the piece to reflect that.
Platform: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Google Stadia, PC
Genre: Sports, Golf, Tiger Woods Simulator
I’ve never been much of a sports guy. Just like a lot of other non-sports people, I’m familiar with football/soccer and basketball, but other sports? Not so much. The only thing I know about golf is Tiger Woods, and that’s what I had coming into PGA Tour 2K21.
My only experience with golf video games in my life has been arcade-y golf games like the Everybody’s Golf franchise, which is fun and catered to everyone; you didn’t really need to know anything about Golf other than the fact that you hit the golf ball with a golf club.
It’s obviously different with PGA Tour 2K21, which strives to for realism and to be a golf simulator. It’s for golf fans who know the sport inside and out, with conditions and gameplay situations that mimic what the real sport would be like. PGA Tour 2K21 is also the first game by 2K Games after they acquired the license from EA.
Point is: did this entry even make me remotely care about golf? Will this be one of those “for die-hard fans” cases? Stick around…
How is PGA Tour 2K21 for those (like me) with no knowledge of golf and how the sport works (its rules, etc.)? Well, it’s a good effort on the developers HB Studios parts that when booting up the game, it immediately begins with a tutorial crash course that’s simple enough to understand even for non-golf fans.
The tutorial teaches you the fundamentals basics of gameplay like how to hit the stick golf ball with your golf club and how to change golf clubs as well as even shot types and the angles for your shots.
However, the accessibility pretty much ends there for the most part, provided you choose any difficulty setting than the easiest. PGA Tour 2K21 has quite robust difficulty options to choose from, as they affect everything from whether wind conditions affect gameplay, how adept your computer opponents are, and more.
Therefore, I’m extremely thankful that at the easiest difficulty setting, almost everything is automated, including golf club choices and more. All I needed to worry about was the direction of where the golf ball went and how hard I wanted to hit the golf ball.
It’s great for total golf amateurs like me, who just want a more arcade(y) experience.
Players can choose between using the left stick to aim and right stick to swing, or vice versa. It’s up to you and whichever is your dominant hand. It feels good to swing, and the sound of the club hitting the ball is satisfying, even though I’m not a football fan.
Kudos to the developers for making this a golf game for not only fans of the sport, but also rookies who just want a fun time without the simulator experience. You can play and tweak PGA Tour 2K21 however you want, according to your skill level. Ultimately though, it’s still a golf game, so it depends on how much you like the sport.
There is one big caveat though. PGA Tour 2K21 assumes that the player already knows the rules of golf. They don’t explain what bogeys, birdies, eagles and pars mean, as well as the how the scores or points accumulate.
I mean, other sports video games don’t really explain these things as well, but I would have appreciated a simple tutorial explaining the rules of the sport itself, seeing as how golf is more niche than football/soccer or basketball.
In addition, PGA Tour 2K21 features a player creation mode, with hundreds of customization options including new licensed apparel and equipment from licensed brands such as Adidas, Polo Ralph Lauren, and more. Still, you’d have to purchase most of these using currency earned by playing through the game’s Career Mode.
The PGA TOUR Career Schedule displays the season’s list of events in the order they have and will occur. The schedule of events will change depending on if you are in Q School, Korn Ferry Tour, or a PGA TOUR season.
It’s a pretty standard career mode, for all intents and purposes. I just wish there were more drama and excitement though. On its own, it’s nothing special, with the exception of budding golf enthusiasts who want to be the next Tiger Woods or something.
Is This A Last-Gen Game?
Unfortunately, PGA Tour 2K21 doesn’t look very good. In fact, it looks downright ugly compared to other venerable game franchises like EA Sports’ FIFA, or even 2K Games’ very own NBA 2K21. The difference is night and day. The visuals in PGA Tour 2K21 looks flat and unimpressive, to the point that it could even be a last-gen game.
I know that they have different developers; HB Studios for PGA Tour 2K21, Visual Concepts for NBA 2K21. However, they’re both under 2K Games, and the visual disparity shouldn’t be that far apart.
For a golf game that doesn’t even feature half as many complex animations as a basketball game like NBA 2K21 has, it’s disappointing that they couldn’t make PGA Tour 2K21 look better, or at the very least, current-gen. There’s no reason why the PGA Tour 2K21 can’t look like NBA 2K21.
The models in PGA Tour 2K21 look like they could even belong to the PS2 era, if I’m being honest. The environments look decent, but they’re nothing to shout about either. This game won’t be attracting any players on looks alone, that’s for sure. It breaks the immersion, considering how this game is supposed to be realistic and authentic to real golf.
Did It Convert Me Into A Golf Fan?
After all is said and done, did PGA Tour 2K21 manage to win me over and convert me into a golf fan? The answer is a simple nope, it did not. If you’re not already a fan of golf, this game won’t be convincing you otherwise anytime soon and you’ll definitely be swamped with a bevvy of offerings it has here.
However, if you eat, breath, and live everything golf, then you’ll probably enjoy this game a lot and can justify adding 20 more points to our final score, which is…
- A gameplay tutorial that’s simple to understand.
- Caters to even beginners with no knowledge of golf with multiple difficulty options.
- Can still offer a somewhat arcade-y golf experience.
- Last-gen graphics.
- Doesn’t explain the basic rules of the sport.
- More for existing golf enthusiasts than anything.