It’s finally happened. I’m a dad…I should clarify. I have a 2 and a half-year-old so technically, I’ve been a father for that long but I wasn’t truly a Dad until I got my hands on PGA Tour 2K21 and realised how much I LOVE IT! So now I’ve gone all-in on the dad life. Cargo shorts, dad runners, white socks pulled up, the whole nine yards.
If you’ve read my preview you’ll know I have been playing PGA Tour 2K21 on Amateur difficulty. It’s more forgiving of wonky shots and doesn’t punish you by sending each and every one of your attempts sailing off into the rough or water hazards.
I briefly pumped the difficulty back up to Pro to see if I’d improved. I had not.
I even tried Pro-Am, thinking I might just be good enough for that. I was not. But so what. I don’t mind playing on Amateur if it means I’m getting 11 under par for 18 holes. That just makes me aware of my limitations.
Something which PGA Tour 2K21 is incredibly good at reminding me.
PGA Tour 2K21 Review
Developer HB Studios’ previous work on The Golf Club series pays off handsomely in PGA Tour 2K21 as this year’s release is a polished refinement of everything that’s come before. Where The Golf Club was brutally difficult and unforgiving, PGA Tour 2K21 is much more accessible and provides multiple difficulty levels for players to try out.
I recommend giving Pro a shot in the beginning (it’s the default difficulty if you play online matchmaking) just to see if it works for you. If not, drop it back down and become the budget Tiger Woods you were always destined to be.
What the difficulty levels govern are the three elements of your swings; Swing Timing, Swing Plane and Swing Power. You’ll need to master each if you’re going to play PGA Tour 2K21 on the higher difficulties but, by dropping the overall difficulty down, the input window for each is increased. Swing Timing is how smoothly you pull back and push forward on your chosen control stick, Swing Plane is how central you keep the stick through the Swing and Power is how far you pull back before pushing forwards.
When I was playing on Pro, I couldn’t hit a straight shot to save my life. Forget 11 under Par, I was lucky if I was shooting 18 over…seriously.
Part of me, the same part that obsessively plays Dark Souls and Bloodborne, wants to keep at it on the higher difficulties in PGA Tour 2K21 until I get better at it. But another, more dad flavoured part of me says “Nah she’ll be right, just enjoy the game for what it is and don’t stress.” And I tend to think that bit is right.
While I don’t think any video game has ever relaxed me more than Microsoft Flight Sim, PGA Tour 2K21 is a close second. Once I’m in the rhythm of 18 holes, taking my time, sizing up the wind speed and direction, choosing my club and type of shot and taking a few practice swings; all of my stress melts away. And it doesn’t matter if I’m playing my solo PGA Tour through the MyPlayer/MyCareer menu or playing online with others, PGA Tour 2K21 is not a game that’s going to rev you up.
Which is great. There’s more than enough going on right now for us to get frustrated by and stressed out about. To have outlets such as PGA Tour 2K21 is a blessing.
When you first load up PGA Tour 2K21 you’ll get to create your MyPlayer and learn the basics of swings. From there, you can dive right into the PGA Tour 2K21 career mode and work your way up to the top of the PGA Tour or you can take it easy and simply freeplay. There are a number of options available if you just want to shoot around including local matches, online matchmaking and private games with friends.
You can also play games with special rules including Stroke, Stableford, Skins, Match Play, Four-Ball, Alternate Shot and Scramble (similar to Ambrose). If you’re so inclined, you can also join online societies which allow players to compete in seasons with others with rules and seasons governed by Admins.
And finally, there’s the course creator. This is such an incredibly robust tool which is going to bring so much more life to PGA Tour 2K21. Despite already including 15 courses, players are going to have a near-infinite supply once people get their hands on this thing. It’s a little tricky to work out and does take some practice to get any good at, but those who put the time in are going to end up creating some truly awe-inspiring content.
I used to prefer arcade golf games. I used to think Mario Golf and Everybody’s Golf were the best of the best but now, I’ve become a dad and I just want my golf realistic and my t-shirt tucked into my cargo shorts.
PGA Tour 2K21 is a flawlessly designed and produced video game. The mechanics are superb and even when it’s kicking my arse on Pro, the game is still hugely enjoyable. Visually, PGA Tour 2K21 is slightly north of decent. It’s not going to blow any minds but it sure is nice to look at. Courses are rendered with a lot of care and it’s clear the team has worked really hard to ensure an authentic appearance across the board.
As I said in my preview, the commentary by Rich Beem and Luke Elvy is wonderful. Sure, they repeat lines a few times and eventually, you’ll start to recognise patterns and familiar conversations but it still feels and sounds (mostly) off the cuff and reactionary to what’s happening on screen.
Finally, I’ve scoured the menus and I can not find microtransactions anywhere. There’s an in-game currency you earn from playing which is spent on cosmetics but there doesn’t appear to be any VC for players to purchase which is quite welcome.
PGA Tour 2K21 is by far the best golf game ever and easily one of the best, most polished and competent games released in 2020. As gamers, we are truly lucky to have this hobby to keep us going during these rough times and PGA Tour 2K21 is a perfect way to unwind, relax and hang out with your friends while maintaining social distance.
PGA Tour 2K21 was reveiwed on PS4 using a digital copy provided by 2K ANZ.