Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Game Review: 'EA Sports PGA Tour'

EA's first golf outing since 2015's awkward pivot to Rory McIlroy as the cover athlete following the Tiger Woods era, the blandly named "EA Sports PGA Tour" is a full-scale reset.

Without legacy tendencies to draw on, the reinvigorated franchise feels fresh and vital in a way that few EA Sports's annual-releases ever do. Bolstered with new shot mechanics, exhaustive course data and lifelike physics, sights and sounds, the game feels like a fresh news set of clubs and access to a newly built course.

The game is also technically sound in a way no golf game has ever had the opportunity to approach. Developer EA Tiburon integrates ShotLink data -- used widely to analyze player performance and statistics on the PGA Tour -- and the integration helps rounds play out with the tendencies of real-life pros.

As is usually the case with EA Sports titles, the licenses are ample. While Woods is nowhere to be found -- just as he commonly isn't on the leaderboards -- the likes of more relevant players such as Scottie Scheffler, Tony Finau, Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele. A selection of LPGA golfers are also included, echoing the gender equity trend in EA Sports's recent FIFA releases.

Even if create-a-player is your preferred lane, you can live out the dream of player in the Masters at Augusta National, one of 30 top-flight courses including Pebble Beach and St Andrews. 

The shooting mechanic, dubbed Pure Strike, offers more than 20 shot types, allowing you to tinker and adjust your shot selection as you line up and adjust your strategy.

Thoroughly satisfying and crammed with PGA fan service, the rebirth of EA's golf franchise deserves a raucous. Waste Management-style cheer rather than a golf clap.

Publisher provided review code.

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