Review – EA Sports PGA Tour

"Gold Jacket.. Green Jacket..."

Overview

Developer EA Sports Tiburon
Publisher Electronic Arts
Genre Sports
Platforms PS5 (reviewed), Xbox Series X|S, PC
Release Date April 7th, 2023

EA Sports is back to the golf genre after a hiatus that lasted eight years; the name of Rory Mcllroy didn’t have nearly as much impact in 2015 as Tiger Woods did for past releases. Since then, 2K Games has risen to the challenge without any competition with PGA Tour 2K21. Also back in 2021, Electronic Arts shared a course scanning technology that would be used to develop their next golf game. Three years later we have a chance to see the fruits of that tech in the form of EA Sports PGA Tour. Not released on last-gen consoles, EA aims for their PGA Tour video game to be a next-gen experience. 2K has had a few years to refine their golf experience, which means EA Sports has some catching up to do.

Content Guide

EA Sports PGA Tour is rated E for Everyone by the ESRB. The content is completely clean and doesn’t include music containing lyrics that could be cause for concern. However, the game includes microtransactions and a loot box-style system that could be seen as predatory.

Review

For me, a next-gen experience needs to have stunning visuals—EA Sports PGA Tour delivers on this front. The game offers 30 courses for golf enthusiasts to play on through the Career Mode or if you want to get a few strokes in on Quick Play. All of these courses look stunning, from the trillion blades of grass to the many bunkers that make an appearance at each hole. Whether you’re playing at Bandon Dunes or Pebble Beach, the course flyovers give you a treat of what is to come at each hole. My favorite part of moving on to the next hold is right before the next hole when your golfer seems to be taking in the sights right before teeoff. Sadly, things don’t get better when take your first stroke at the ball.

EA Sports PGA Tour offers a few options for players to enjoy the sport. First and foremost is the career mode, challenge mode, and Quick Play with various settings to set up multiplayer matches. I did see competitive and tournament modes available, but I’m far too much of a casual player to engage in those. Most dedicated players of past games and the 2k series will find the offers lacking, but I thought the limited offering to be understandable since the mechanics are what the developers are trying to get right. But alas, it seems that the gameplay seems to be a swing and a miss as well with EA’s latest iteration.

When I first started up the game, I was met with a tutorial that I thought I understood fairly well, which wasn’t the case when I got started. The game boasts realistic shot and ball physics which work as they should on occasion, but feel rather inconsistent. No matter how well I think I set up my shot, the ball seems to do what it wants by landing way off or rolling in another direction. Factors such as wind play a part in both real life and the video game, but I’ve been playing on the arcade difficulty in which much of that is toned down. What makes things even worse is that the putting guidelines don’t do much to help either, in fact, they do the exact opposite. in the end, I relied on my short game strokes to alleviate some of the combative physics.

Much of the stress I experienced when playing the game was in career mode. With the RPG-lite leveling system, my player had much less control at first due to the lower stats compared to using a pro player. I decided to see if I had a better experience in quick play mode, and I did for the most part. Using a pro player meant that my ball wasn’t as loosey goosy as it was as a created player, but my problems were not entirely alleviated as the ball still had a mind of its own on occasion. The old mechanics from past Tiger Woods games of controlling my ball spin were also there to help me if I needed the extra control but not something I was able to fully rely on. Gameplay is the most important part of any sports title and the area that needs improvement the most.

When I dropped into career mode, I noticed a serious lack of customization options. My choices were some preset facial features and some hair/facial hair settings—settings for skin color and body type were the most glaring omissions. What players will find a plethora of, however, are clothing and club customization options right down to your golf bag. EA Sports isn’t doing anything for themselves by putting that stuff into a loot system and paywall either, because I’m not sure at what clip players can earn in-game currency to buy those clothing items and clubs from the in-game shop. I was able to explore some of this section with the review copy I received being the deluxe edition that included some premium currency.

I did grab a copy of PGA Tour 2K23 before playing EA Sports PGA Tour so I could get a feel for where golf video games currently stand in the industry. At the moment, I think EA’s title is the visually superior one while 2k’s is the victor for its quality gameplay. This competition between the two games is refreshing, and I believe we need more of it for other sports video games—particularly American football. EA Sports have had themselves a bogey with this release, but I don’t think they are far off from being on par with 2K. I’m no game developer, but I believe that EA Sports PGA Tour would benefit from a few patches to deliver a better experience instead of a new release next year.

The Bottom Line

 

EA Sports PGA Tour is quite the bogey, but isn't far from stepping up to the competition.

 

5.5

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L.J. Lowery

Born in southern California, but currently residing in Lafayette, Louisiana. Loves Hip Hop music, comics, and video games. Events/Media Coordinator, Podcast Producer, and Public Relations.

3 Comments

  1. Michael on April 16, 2023 at 7:36 pm

    the putting is completely broken…the break always goes in the opposite direction as the green grid shows..also approach shots are inconsistent..one shot it sticks on the green, next hole it rolls 40 feet through..visually, absolutely stunning…fix gameplay, we got a winner

  2. Doug on April 15, 2023 at 12:42 pm

    I’m loving the game so far. It’s a nice change from 2k23. There are a load of bugs including a game breaker which resets when I hole a putt to win a playoff on the korn ferry tour. It’s really good fun and I like the daily, weekly challenges. Well done EA, I truly hated your last effort all those years ago. Actually why isn’t Rory in this game?

  3. Greg Haase on April 15, 2023 at 11:27 am

    The overall presentation is a 10. I too consider myself a casual player but the career mode is a lot of fun. There are some flaws but I can’t put the game down.

    I dont like the putting system. I would prefer not having a putting meter and the putting grid is a mess. I’m having to use the line for now. Better camera angles could help too. There are a few glitches in the game and the menus are a mess. This is 1 week after release.

    I see the potential in this game though. The flaws in this game can be fixed with some updates and I’m confident EA will do that. Their early responses to players show they are listening and will make adjustments.

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