✔️Golf swing to Golf King, 2K Sports has acquired the license to publish the Ultimate golfing simulator. ✔️HB Studios brings their expertise from The Golf Club over to PGA Tour 2K21, in re-invigorating the niche genre. ✔️Excellent variety, career mode, and customisation makes for an extremely enjoyable title.
❌Minor bugs, nothing a patch can’t fix. ❌Some bland aesthetics.
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Golf has always been somewhat intriguing rather than engrossing to myself. I’ve never found it to be a spectacle, but it always seemed to deliver a captivating calm while spectating. I’ve really only ever played one round of golf in my lifetime, and never really found a reason to tee off following that. It’s not that I don’t respect the game of golf, nor do I think that it can’t be an enjoyable pass time. If anything, I compare golf to chess and it’s meticulous and tedious nature. A well thought out strategy, pacing yourself, and making a timely execution may land you an immediate victory, or in golf’s case acing a hole-in-one. HB Studio’s Golf Club franchise had been the industry flag bearer since EA relinquished the PGA Tour License after the Tiger Woods scandal.
The Nova Scotia development studio has an esteemed library of sports titles that mostly entail Rugby, Cricket, and Soccer. The studio also developed for EA’s 2009 entry of its golf franchise, so it was no stranger to the series when acquired in early 2014. The Golf club owned its niche market, with an anticipated overhaul from its tired formula that had been ageing poorly with fans begging developers to reboot and rebuild its initial blueprint. While HB’s first foray resembled much of its predecessor’s workings, there were some original idea bought to the table. Unfortunately, due to EA and the PGA’s contract negotiations including a non-compete clause, The Golf Club could not include pro golfer’s own likenesses and sponsorship deals.
This changes now, with 2K Sports publishing HB’s newest entry into their ongoing series, renaming the franchise from “The Golf Club” to PGA Tour 2K21. With 2K Sports acquiring an extensive license to utilise all of the Pro-Golf Am’s assets, including trademarks, likenesses, sponsors, and exclusive equipment, this has given HB the opportunity to re-invigorate and establish a connection to a fresh audience, and revitalise the golf scene amongst gamers.
It's all in the hips...
Once passing the 20 Pages of EULA agreements, we’re greeted with an extensive tutorial, familiarising ourselves with the sport and its basic control scheme. Admittedly, I’ve always found Golf games to be a little confronting but I can certainly say that PGA Tour 2K21’s calming approach towards newcomers is outstanding. Slowly teaching those who may be uninitiated with the PGA title’s of the past gives gamers a promising outlook on their primary skills entering the genre. Simply generating a technique and executing a seamless golf swing, in hopes of landing upon that laid target or the ace of a hole-in-one is no longer a pipe-dream. These feats are achievable by practising, or simply honing your own routine skillset.
A plethora of potential is right in the grasp of your hands by simply using the right analogue stick as your driver, and the left for that picture perfect aim. However, don’t be too shocked if you land in the bunker on your first try – not… speaking from experience at all. After initiation, your taken to a menu offering a myriad of customisation choices, giving your golfer a personal touch. The basics are unlocked from the onset, but heading through career mode will allow you to earn some serious cashflow and invest in sponsored clothing and an assortment of glowing gear to add to your existing accoutrements.
Applying the basics you had learned from the tutorial, there will be some additional features added as you play your first round. There’s a sense of freedom given in the way you manoeuvre the trajectory of your swing, simply by adjusting each shot, alongside the curvature of each swing. Wind factor comes into play, keep in mind of how far, and how wide you tee off. The Scout Cam is a friendly feature that assess your ball’s pathway, and estimates its target landing. Given that it’s only an estimated point of arrival, you may never get that picture perfect demonstration, however it all plays in part of perfecting your strategy.
The ace in the hole...
Giving the player a variety of camera angles, including bird’s eye view allows for an appreciative look across the course for a clear path to victory. Switching out clubs is as simple as using the D-PAD on your respective controller. From driver to chipper, landing that gratifying golden birdie has never seemed so satisfying. Gauging slopes on a slanting hill can be difficult at times, however with a little help from the barometer that appears on the green you may be able to indicate the pressure of each shot, hopefully setting you up for par – many bogeys have been established here.
Improving personal stats and attributes betters your player’s overall performance on the green, without the need of updating a skill-tree of sorts. Levelling through your career path streamlines 2K’s traditional system, making for a seamless casual experience, certainly a welcome addition. Throughout career mode, earning sponsors will allow you to unlock exclusive merchandise that may better your overall performance, making for an extremely comfortable exhibition, elevating your character’s legacy within each Pro-Am on offer. Local match allows you to play a game of golf at your leisure, customising weather conditions and choosing which range to tear up.
Online Matchmaking gives players the opportunity to demonstrate their experience with other golfer’s around the globe. Creating a private lobby with friends, and talking trash about their game is hilarious and quite a lot of fun. Yes, do your homework and write down as many Happy Gilmore quotes as possible and lay them out on your rival as he goes for the ultimate trickshot… “Ya Jackass!”. Online Societies offers custom PGA Tours and seasonal offers for players. This is a neat feature for enthusiasts who aim to play with friends on a regular basis, which also prolongs the title’s quality of life – Excellent feature.
Aesthetically speaking, the title is gorgeous. It’s lush greenery is on blast with incredible displays of realism included within it’s crowds. Sure some of the likenesses could do with some work, however it’s a golf title. The aim here is to bask in it’s relaxing environments and grind away at your golf acumen. Oh, and downloading custom courses and designing your own can be a lot of fun. From your choice of the desolate sandy deserts, or the tropical isles, you may construct your own fairway of up to 18 holes. There are some abstract courses to experience, but I had a ton of fun diving through the already existing library on offer.
PGA Tour 2K21 is quite the ambitious accomplishment from HB Studios. While laying its foundation in re-establishing its own franchise, and being elevated to the industry standard has cemented the developer’s legacy in becoming the ultimate golfing simulation studio. Its an astounding representation of the niche sport and 2K’s association makes for a harmonious relationship between the pair. Perfecting its swing and aiming for the green, while not necessarily a hole-in-one, but landing a nice double eagle for its first franchise entry in the esteemed 2K Sports collection, PGA 2K21 shows immediate promise in this renaissance for golf gamers.
PGA Tour 2K21 - 2K Sports
PGA Tour 2K is a series of golf sports video games. The series was originally called The Golf Club and was solely developed and published by HB Studios for the first game. Maximum Games took over publishing for the second game.