PGA Tour 2K23 is the latest golf simulation game developed by HB Studios and published by 2K. It has been released across PC, Xbox and PlayStation. I have been lucky enough to have a play on my PC.
PGA Tour 2K23, Always Time for Tee!
I haven’t properly played a golf game in a long time. I have, however, had a few rounds in real life and I’m hopeful that I can learn and also enjoy the game a bit more when playing virtually! No pain ricocheting up my arm as I hit the ground with my club and no being caught in inclement British weather!
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PGA Tour 2K23 has dropped with 3 versions; Standard, Deluxe and Tiger Woods Edition. The differences are that the deluxe edition gives gamers a Michael Jordan bonus pack, Golden Club pack and Deluxe Edition Bonus pack that comprises of some in-game currency as well as some cosmetics. The Tiger Woods Edition has all of the above as well as, unsurprisingly, Tiger Woods cosmetics including Tiger Edition Golf balls plus a Tiger Woods TaylorMade wedge set. Although I am reviewing on PC it is worth mentioning that the Deluxe edition upwards features cross-generation dual-entitlement on console.
With 20 licensed courses currently and over 14 male and female pro golfers to choose from, I couldn’t resist creating my own crazy looking character to terrorise the greens.
With so much terminology, club selection, and variables to cater for I was expecting to be dropped into the deep end and left to fend for myself. I opted for the tutorial to get into the swing of things (sorry, not sorry.)
The controls are the next thing to choose from. You can either opt for a stick swing where you use your controller’s analogue stick to go back and forth in order to hit the ball or you can use 3 point click for power, path and club face angle. With the mouse in hand, I chose the 3-point click. The tutorial is fully voiced as you are guided through pretty much every scenario you can imagine out on the golf course. I immediately got confidence, after a few ropey hits, and began being able to curve the ball as well as understand how the putting green lie of the land is so important. The flowing lines are a great hint for gradients!
Once you have conquered your pitches, putts and drives it is off to play in some tournaments if you so desire!
The menu found in PGA Tour 2K23 caters for a number of gaming selections such as; “MyCareer” where you enter tournaments as a newbie, keen to win sponsorship deals, climb that skill tree, earn prizes and prove yourself to others; “Competitive” which sees you play other golfers by either creating your own society or joining others; “Casual” where you can play locally against friends or ghosts as well as online, or simply just do some more training; “TopGolf” is a partnership between TopGolf and the PGA, bringing its 80 real locations from Las Vegas to Watford, to your screen. It is either local or online and has you seeing who can score the most in 10 shots on the unique arcade style driving ranges; Finally there is “Designer” which as you can imagine, allows you to create your own golf course. You can also import any old courses that you made in 2K21.
I had a play across all of the game modes and I must say that I was enthralled. The courses offer you a complete mixture of low and high-par holes which makes everything a challenge. Timing that power and swing is of course critical, however, there are enough assists to make even the most novice of player confident in their ability which I feel is a great way to attract even the casual golfer, such as myself.
If you have a bunch of friends, the Societies found under the competitive game mode are brilliant! In effect it is your own clubhouse where you play rounds of golf with your friends, or players that you have not met yet. There is a ClubHouse Pass which isn’t too dissimilar to the mechanics of a battle pass. Here you play and rank up to unlock new items and cosmetics such as balls, hats, etc. There is a free version of the pass as well as a premium and premium plus that offers more rewards. It really isn’t necessary to be able to enjoy the game thankfully.
I really enjoyed playing the MyCareer game mode as I took my character off on a journey, complete with rival golfers to try and beat along the way. The whole gaming experience was immensely enjoyable as the commentary from the pundits seemingly flowed. From action replays to quick screen cuts to see how your rival is performing on your hole, you really feel the pressure, but in a good way. I was determined to stay ahead and it was amazing how you could shoot right up the leaderboard with a few consistent finishes. Ultimately you could also slide back down with some equally rubbish ones!
Graphics & Audio
When it comes to these elements, I found it a bit of a mixed bag. Maybe after playing games like The Hunter: Call of the Wild, the bar has been put high when it comes to environmental graphics. The trees sway in the wind, the fairways are defined but some of the models such as the crowd and the structures just look a bit basic in comparison. To be fair, your main vision is on where you need to go, where you don’t want to go and then which club to use, therefore these items should only be in your periphery vision and not something to study.
The action of the swing as well as the various stances all looked natural and flowed well when taking the shots. The smoothness was carried on while the camera tracks the flying golf ball as it gives you a birds-eye view of your shot on its trajectory towards its landing area. Just hope that you are on the receiving end of a small victory dance for being under par!
The audio is brilliant. With commentary from Rich Beam and Luke Elvy who hosted the last PGA 2K game, they are joined by former professional English golfer Henni Koyack. Together they ensure that your gameplay experience is immersive. I am used to commentary on games such as FIFA however there is something about the way this team works that makes it feel very personal and reflective. It certainly drives you to do your best as every shot is critiqued, mirroring your thoughts and feelings.
You can certainly sink a long time into PGA Tour 2K23. There are many game modes to take part in as well as challenges to conquer. The new TopGolf adds to the experience while the drive to do well can also be mapped via the ClubHouse Pass if you so desire. There is going to be further DLC added in the future while the course creator means that your golfing experience is more or less unlimited.
While some of the background graphics didn’t appear to be top-notch at times, the overall gameplay and welcomeness of PGA Tour 2K23 was an amazing experience. The level of immersion was fantastic, with the game clearly aiming towards all gamers rather than just loyal golf followers. I would certainly recommend this to everyone, especially those with friends that want a new game to play together casually.
PGA Tour 2K23 receives the Thumb Culture Gold Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.
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