With the golf season back underway, and about to spring into life thanks to the PGA Championship, the golfing community is itching to get its hands-on PGA Tour 2K21.
Well, we here at RealSport have managed to do exactly that, with this hands-on preview of the upcoming game.
“Golf Got Game”
From the team behind The Golf Club 2019, HB Studios and 2K Sports have levelled up their relationship to take the golf sim to new heights and bring it under the 2K banner.
Featuring 11 real-life golf pros to face off against across 15 licenced TPC courses, you can’t get much closer to the real thing than PGA Tour 2K21.
There’s a number of different options of how to play, but with this being a 2K title – almost the entire game is based around your MyPlayer.
With the real life pros on the game unplayable, you will only be able to play as your MyPlayer on PGA Tour 2K21.
This may sound like limiting your experience, but in fact, it immerses you deeper into the story 2K and HB are selling, as you start out as a rookie and try to make it to the top of the PGA standings.
GET THE LOOK - How will you kit out your MyPlayer?
Create your MyPLAYER with hundreds of customisation options including new licensed apparel and equipment from licensed brands including adidas, Polo Ralph Lauren, , Callaway, Bridgestone, TaylorMade and more.
Clothing items can be purchased with your hard-earned in-game currency while others are unlocked through Level Progress, Rival rewards or Sponsor Rewards in the PGA Tour Career Mode.
READ MORE: Everything we know about PGA Tour Career Mode
In the Golf Bag, you can decide which 14 golf clubs you carry in your PGA Tour Career Mode.
Compete in over 30 events spanning multiple stages of your career.
Play across the licenced PGA Tour courses and strive to win the biggest accolade of them all in the race for the FedExCup.
PGA Tour Career Mode
The PGA Tour Career Schedule displays the season's list of events in their real-life order, and the schedule of events will change depending on if you are in Q-School, Korn Ferry Tour, or a PGA Tour season.
You can choose your entry point into the golfing world, whether it be finishing in the top 25 in Q-School, racking up the results on the Korn Ferry Tour or jumping straight into the PGA Tour.
Some events in the PGA Tour Career Mode have set entry criteria which you must meet to participate in them. Some events may offer an Alternate you can play instead.
As you play through the PGA Tour Career Mode you can unlock various Sponsors who will reward you for completing set goals.
You can only have a single sponsor active at a time, and as you complete goals for your sponsor it will level up unlocking rewards and new sets of goals.
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Each sponsor has multiple levels each with their own set of goals. To level up your current sponsor you must complete all the goals at its current level.
Completing sponsor levels rewards you with unique items. Once unlocked these items can be found in Clothing or Golf Bag options.
As you complete events in the PGA Tour you will be awarded FedExCup Points based on your finishing position. These points are important in securing the FedExCup and becoming the FedExCup Champion.
The final three events of the PGA Tour season make up the FedExCup Playoffs, these feature a progressive cut until reducing the field down to the final 30 players before the Season Championship.
Once you reach the PGA Tour you will start creating rivalries with the other players.
Your performance in PGA Tour events will be compared against your rival and if you outperform them you can claim additional rewards.
BIG DOG - Can you go all the way and challenge JT?
At the end of each round both you and your rival participate in your performances will be compared.
Rivalry points will be awarded to you based on the outcome of these comparisons. Once you reach a threshold amount of points the rivalry will end.
Besting your rival will reward you with an additional currency bonus. Once your current rivalry ends you will start a new rivalry with a different opponent.
Use the Course Designer to create the course of your dreams, then publish it to share with friends and the rest of the community.
When you first start designing a course, the layout of the holes is generated for you. However, you can edit the layout of existing holes or create new ones.
BESPOKE - What does your dream course look like?
You can add a very wide range of trees, plants, wildlife, and man-made objects to your course.
When you are ready to try out the courses you have been building, you can do so by selecting Playtest.
There are many options for how you want to setup and start your Playtest session. Choose to play the full course, any hole, or start from anywhere and use any available Tee Set or Pin Set you want.
Training allows you to calibrate your swing, complete lessons, and practice your game in a non-competitive setting.
Use Swing Calibration to find the perfect swing.
Lessons include tutorials on swing basics, putting, and club and shot types.
Practice allows you to improve your game with chipping practice, putting practice, and driving at the driving range.
Play a round with friends or ghosts.
Adding a Guest allows another player to join you on the couch. Add a Ghost to play a recording of someone else's round.
For those who played The Golf Club 2019, expect a much smoother experience this time around, but there are no radical changes.
If 2K decide to turn this into one of their annual or bi-annual titles, like NBA 2K or WWE 2K then expect greater improvement to be made, especially with Next Gen consoles just around the corner.
We played 2K21 on PC and it still ran superbly, so those looking to play on work laptops or the Nintendo Switch version should look forward to playing a fantastic game with console visuals.
TEEING OFF - Your shot selection options are very clear
Of course, the highlight is the PGA Tour Career Mode, and we are incredibly excited to get more into the career upon the game’s full release.
18 holes can sound laboursome, especially over multiple rounds, but you can get through the holes very quickly, and with the added spice of facing off against your rival – especially if you go all the way to clash against world number 1 Justin Thomas.
READ MORE: Justin Thomas Interview - PGA Tour 2K21 cover star lifts the lid on lockdown life
All the tricks of performing fade or draw shots, or deciding whether to chip or splash are included – with the swing mechanic enabling you to control shot power and a guide to keep your swing straight.
As for putting, there’s a fine balance of difficulty, as if you fail to read the green correctly, you can check its path once per putt giving you two chances of finding the cup.
With online play still to come, PGA Tour 2K21 is shaping up to be a very solid title indeed.
Of course, it would be great to play as some of the in-game pros, feature some legends of the game or have some of the top bracket courses and tournaments, but this is the first in the partnership between HB Studios and 2K Sports.
If the game flies off the shelves, then expect things to be taken up a notch in the years ahead, after all it was the popularity of The Golf Club that made 2K get involved.
Preview Score: 4 stars (out of 5)
PGA Tour 2K21 releases on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam on Friday, 21 August 2020