EA Sports PGA Tour provides an accessible yet challenging take on golf games 5 months ago

EA Sports PGA Tour provides an accessible yet challenging take on golf games

EA Sports is back on the fairway after a few years out of the game.

With the US Masters in full flow, golf fans everywhere will be desperate to pick up their clubs and head to the course. But if your short game is lacking then maybe living out your golfing fantasies might be limited to your couch.


That's where EA Sports PGA Tour comes in quite handy. Released on Friday, the new golf game is the first entry in the series since 2015's Rory McIlroy PGA Tour. It's also the first not to feature a golfer's name in the title since PGA Tour 98.

Golf, in and of itself, is a rather niche sport in the grand scheme of things. While competitions like the Masters, the US Open and the Ryder Cup attract huge audiences, the sport doesn't have the same universal appeal as, say, football. However, in PGA Tour, EA has created a game that's not only genuinely challenging to seasoned fans, but also incredibly accessible to newcomers everywhere.

A lot of the heavy lifting of this new game comes from its photo-realistic graphics and licensing efforts, areas which EA usually excels. Just like in its footballing counterpart, FIFA, the company has managed to grab a huge amount of licensing deals from official courses, players and equipment, making the gaming experience second-to-none for authenticity.


As mentioned above, ease of entry for newcomers is a real bright spot to this game. It takes a very small amount of time before you're pinging drives onto the fairway and lining up 20-yeard putts. However, the nuances of the game, just like in real life, is where it really shines. Ball physics, weather, surface type and elevation all come into play as you cycle through 20 shot types in the game's Pure Strike system. The system can seem intimidating at first, but after a few full course playthroughs its easy to pick up the differences in choice.

There's a genuine challenge to gameplay which will keep you coming back to the iconic featured courses and trying to outdo yourself again and again. The reward factor from sinking a difficult putt as a Big Hit Moment, when the camera slows down for a pulsating finish, is extremely satisfying. It's also equally as frustrating to overhit or misjudge your shot as it would be in real life.

EA Sports PGA Tour is not without its mishits

While the game is overall an enjoyable experience, it wouldn't be EA without throwing some bloat into the mix. In the game, players get to customize their own character and rise through the ranks to play on the PGA tour with the best in the world. While character customization isn't a huge interest to some players, others may find the game's limitations irritating. It must be said that there is some great options in customizing your character's play-style, but it's the aesthetics which suffer.


This side of modern games has become increasingly targeted with in-game purchases and it's hard to solely put the blame on EA. However it's difficult to give personality to your player, with limited free clothing and gear options and really sucks the fun out of that part of gaming.

The clunky menu visuals are also quite difficult to navigate at times. With their being so many gameplay options - Career Mode, Training Challenges, Sponsorship, constantly updated Online Tournaments - it can be difficult to choose what to focus on and it's easy to get lost in the messy menu design. It's clear that the focus was all set on the actual gameplay, but it's easy to miss just how important good design is to overall gaming experience.

Overall verdict

Despite some design pitfalls, EA Sports PGA Tour is a fantastic re-entry into the series after nearly a decade. EA manages to balance ease-of-use with more nuanced challenges to separate entry-level gamers from more experienced golfers excellently. By doing this it provides gameplay that gets you right out onto the course, while also laying out a steep learning curve to improve your game over time. Detail-oriented and photo-realistic, it's hard to imagine a better substitute for being out on the course itself.


EA Sports PGA Tour is available now on PlayStation 5, Windows and Xbox Series X/S.

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