HB Studios’ PGA Tour 2K21 is out very soon and we’ve been lucky enough to spend some time previewing the game before release. Partnering with 2K and naming this year’s release PGA Tour 2K21 is a no-brainer after the two companies partnered on The Golf Club franchise.
That series is a fairly hardcore, simulation golf game that doesn’t forgive mistakes and instead, brutally punishes them. Thankfully, PGA Tour 2K21 seems to fall somewhere in the middle.
Yes, you can play PGA Tour 2K21 at the ‘Pro’ difficulty with all the assists turned off to get that pure sim golf feel if you’re a masochist. Or, you can turn some helpers on and play a more arcade-style of golf game which still leans heavily on realism.
Either way, you’re going to have a great time.
PGA Tour 2K21
I’m, often, an overconfident type of gamer. I always play games on the hardest difficulty setting and pride myself on doing so. When I started PGA Tour 2K21, I selected Pro and trundled off down the fairway in search of a score somewhere south of par.
Instead, I was shooting 16+ over par for 18 holes and feeling disgusted. Those are the kinds of scores I get in real-life golf and not what I play videogames for. I’ve scored 15 under par in Wii Sports golf at 5 am after drinking nearly a carton of premixed Jack Daniels and cola. Video game gold is my jam.
So, feeling broken and terrible I grudgingly changed the difficulty to amateur and tried again. Unsurprisingly, I fared much better and was shooting well under par. The reason? In pro mode, PGA Tour 2K21, like real golf, punishes slight mistakes and in amateur mode, it doesn’t.
Swinging your club in PGA Tour 2K21 requires you to pull back on the left or right stick (your choice) and then flicking it forward again with good rhythm and a steady hand. Slide to the right or left and your shot will go off course. Flick forward too fast or slow and you’ll slice or hook your shot. You’ll also need to contend with wind, lie, club selection and more. I found I was always pushing my shots to the right so I started aiming more to the left. However, I eventually found a way to position my thumb on the right stick to all but eliminate the drift to the right.
I’m still playing in amateur mode for now as my ego can’t handle the abysmal scores I was getting but I will be going back to pro for the simple fact it’s far more enjoyable. Despite being an incredible challenge and difficult to get right, playing in pro means taking your time, taking practice swings and being patient. Just like real golf.
In amateur mode, I can speed through 18 holes in a manner of minutes and move onto the next one. I might as well be playing mini-golf. That being said, it’s a perfect way to get accustomed to PGA Tour 2K21’s gameplay mechanics and learn what the game is all about.
In the preview phase, I was unable to tinker with many of the other modes on offer so continued the PGA Tour itself. In the final game, players will be able to play online, take part in quick matches and create their very own golf courses!
Aside from how good the golf feels, PGA Tour 2K21 sweetens the deal by tempting you with challenges and sponsorship deals. Oftentimes a toast will appear advising you to perform a certain way on a hole for additional credits. These credits are awarded if you succeed and also when you level up. They’re spent on in-game cosmetics like hats, sunnies, pants, shirts, golf clubs and the like. At this stage, it doesn’t look as though the cosmetics have any impact on how you play, though if you’re going out on the course, you’ll want to wear your dopest get up.
Visually, PGA Tour 2K21 is quite impressive. The courses all look very realistic and the visual fidelity is high right across the board. Occasionally the player models look a little stiff and wooden but mostly, everything looks great.
The commentary from Luke Elvy and Rich Beem is an excellent addition too. Their quips are mostly spot-on and related to what you’re doing and the context is usually perfect. There have been occasions when things go awry but given the sheer volume of commentary and potential situations, it’s pretty damn impressive.
This is the golf game fans have been waiting for and PGA Tour 2K21 is certain to be the greatest golf game since Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge.
PGA Tour 2K21 will be available on 21 August. Look for our full review very soon.
PGA Tour 2K21 was previewed on PC using digital code provided by the publisher.