Golf is a tough game at the best of times, and that’s a lesson that PGA Tour 2K21 carries with it.
On one hand you can feel like a golfing god after nailing a difficult iron shot out of the rough, leaving yourself on the dancefloor with a solid shot at birdie. On the other, you’ll want to throw your clubs in the nearest water hazard after five-putting for a triple bogey.
None of this is new to anyone that either golfs or has played past golf sims by HB Studios, but it’s easily the best thing they bring to the genre.
I mean don’t get me wrong, the Tiger Woods games were fun – but they weren’t rewarding the way HB’s games are. Pounding the ball 400+ yards, adding spin after you shoot, then changing it in midair when you realize you misjudged the wind might get you -25 or better on a round, but what’s the point when it feels better to get that hard-fought even par?
PGA Tour 2K21 wouldn’t be nearly as fun and rewarding if it didn’t feel like your results were in your hands the entire time, and it delivers on that front. The swing mechanics are top-tier in the genre, with the ability to shape your shots allowing you to attack the greens or – more likely – recover with some style after a poor shot.
Just like real life, there are multiple ways to approach every shot and none are the ‘right’ way for everyone. Learning the courses will take time, and your approach will change as your skills improve. Keep learning and your scores will go down, at least for the most part – you can expect to still see some ‘well, let’s forget that one and move on’ holes as you experiment with new approaches.
But if you think you’re going to learn every course, you can forget that right now. With a ridiculously powerful course creator in the hands of players, there’s a virtually endless supply of new courses to play. Like any user-generated-content there’s a fairly wide variance in the quality level, but believe me when I say there’s enough quality courses to keep you playing forever.
What I Loved:
- It’s golf in digital form. It’s unforgiving, it’s challenging, and it’s so, so rewarding
- Great swing mechanics
- Ridiculously powerful course creator
- A career mode at last!
What I Liked:
- Online play was stable and problem-free
- Online societies give me someone to play with constantly
- Graphics are improved from past games
What I Disliked:
- Graphics still need work, particularly the player models
- No replay/photo mode
What I Hated:
- Golfing in heavy wind is SO DAMN HARD
The Final Word: PGA Tour 2K21 is a stellar game of golf, unforgiving as hell but also the most rewarding experience you’ll have when you finally ‘get good’ at it.
Yeah, good luck with that.