July 1, 2022

Review of PGA Tour 2K21 (Switch)
The tees can’t be seen because of the woods.

Since Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 chipped onto the Wii nine years ago, there hasn’t been an official PGA Tour golf game on a Nintendo system. That didn’t appear to be changing anytime soon, with Tiger’s star diminishing over the years and EA seemingly terminating its PGA Tour series in 2015 with a mediocre Rory McIlroy game.

Now, 2K Sports has acquired the PGA license, and it’s bringing the series to Switch with PGA Tour 2K21, much like it did with NBA and WWE, albeit with mixed results. And let me tell you, it’s not a bad start. Don’t be fooled by the 2K label; what we have here is essentially the fourth game in HB Studios’ The Golf Club series. The Golf Club 2019 Featuring PGA Tour was published by 2K, and it’s returning with a new title that better fits in with the rest of 2K’s athletic output.

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PGA Tour 2K21 is the first game in the series to be released on the Nintendo Switch, and considering that HB had to modify the game to make it compatible on Nintendo’s system, the results aren’t bad. It’s undoubtedly the most realistic-looking golf game on the Switch, though when you’re up against the likes of Golf Story and What the Golf?, we suppose’most realistic’ is a prize it receives just for existing.
The 15 approved courses offered to you best illustrate this realism. TPC Sawgrass and TPC Twin Cities, as well as the Copperhead Course and Atlantic Beach Country Club, have all been meticulously reconstructed using cutting-edge scanning technology, and it shows. All 15 of them are headquartered in the United States, so if you like the St Andrews Old Course, Royal County Down, or Muirfield, you’re out of luck. In terms of this sport, golf is exclusively played in the United States, therefore you’ll have to satisfy your desire for Scottish or Irish courses by downloading golf fan-made reproductions developed with the supplied course designer.

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The career mode in PGA Tour 2K21 is the meat of the game, in which you construct your own golfer and play against the best of the rest to win the FedEx Cup. If that’s what you want, you can go right into a PGA Tour season, but if you want the sensation of earning it, you may start on the Korn Ferry Tour — a developmental tour for professionals who haven’t yet achieved PGA Tour level – and try to earn your spot among the big guys that way. Although you can construct a female golfer, there is no LPGA license in this country, so you’ll have to compete against men (something that would no doubt cause heart attacks for some old duffers in private clubs to this day).
The control system is described in a brief lesson (which may be repeated at any time) and requires some practice. PGA Tour 2K21 is all about the right stick, and nothing else, as opposed to the old-school ‘three button press’ system employed in previous golf games. After aligning your shot with the left stick, pull the right stick back to begin your backswing, then forward to begin your downswing.

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Your shot’s quality is obviously determined by how straight you pushed the stick, but the game also considers how rapidly you moved the stick. It will hook to the left if you move too quickly, and it will slice to the right if you go too slowly. It can be difficult to master this timing, and you may spend a frustrating first few hours setting up perfectly good shots only to have them end up in the rough or a bunker because you were that focused on pushing the stick straight up that you did it too slowly.

You must consider even more factors if you’re playing on the Pro difficulty, which is the only control method supported in online play. The wind, the angle of your lie, and your elevation all play a role, and you’ll need to think about how they’ll effect your shot. You may have your aim cursor smack dab in the middle of the fairway, but if the wind is howling and you’re in the rough, you may need to adjust by moving the cursor away from your intended goal.
This is a challenge that some seasoned gamers will gladly accept. If the thought of starting at the Korn Ferry Tour and languishing in mid-table locations as you get acclimated to the controls and gradually improve appeals to you, you can do so and have a great time. There are a number of assistance that can be turned on to make the act of hitting the ball a lot less scary for anyone else who misses the simplicity of older Tiger Woods games.

If you remove the downswing timing, you’ll be able to focus solely on hitting straight shots, rather than worrying about whether you’re moving the stick at the correct speed. You may also tell the game to take factors like wind, lie, and elevation into consideration ahead of time and display a forecast arc that shows the ball’s anticipated flight and landing place (forgotten land). It may not be above-board in the eyes of purist golf simulators, but if you prefer arcade-style sports games, you’ll be able to blast through a round in no time.

Unlike the WWE series, which took almost no time to conform into 2K’s now-standard pattern of focusing its career mode mainly on grinding and microtransactions, PGA Tour 2K21 feels strangely different from a regular 2K Sports game. Your character has no stats to level up, no skills to unlock, and while they can earn currency, it can only be spent on different outfits: if you see a shirt, hat, pair of glasses, or other item that you like, you only need to play a few rounds to afford it, and then you don’t have to worry about earning anything else.

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Meanwhile, the leveling system awards you with new clubs and other items of apparel on a regular basis; the latter is the sole method to adjust your stats, but you’re not terribly weakened at the start of the game like you are in the NBA 2K series. As a result, despite the fact that you may spend real money to gain extra in-game currency, there’s almost no need to do so, and the game never forces you to. It’s reassuringly liberating to simply let you get on with things.

The fact that it doesn’t feel like a 2K game isn’t without its drawbacks. There are fun career modes in the NBA and WWE games, with a true plot that plays out through cutscenes and cameo visits from other pros, but there isn’t anything like that here; you simply take on a series of events in an attempt to improve. The most fascinating difference is the possibility to choose a professional to be your ‘competition,’ although that doesn’t really add up. In the next game, we’d like to see a true story mode.

Other concerns exist as well, the most of them are technical in nature. While we admire HB Studios’ efforts to ensure the Switch version doesn’t lack any features, this one may be a little too much for the Switch to handle (studios multimedia).
The fact that a screen appeared practically every time we switched on the game (even if the Switch was in sleep mode and we were resuming a round we’d already started) asking us to accept to enable 2K Account access our Nintendo Account profile was also annoying. Even though we always agreed to it, it continued coming up. More irritating, every time we did it, Nintendo sent us an automated email confirming it. Oy.

On the track itself, you’ll quickly notice that there are no spectators in the Switch edition. You’re effectively playing on an empty course with no one around from the entry-level tournaments all the way up to the FedEx Cup. Granted, that may be deemed realistic at this time, but given that the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game do have crowds, we’re very certain that the ‘pandemic era presentation’ wasn’t intended to be an official part of the Switch game.

While on the green, we also came across an unusual bug. Except for the sky and the UI, everything turned black, forcing us to blindly putt into a hole we couldn’t see. This only happened a handful of times, but the fact that it did so multiple times shows it wasn’t a one-time occurrence. Nitpickers will point out flickering shadows and the like at certain replay angles, but these minor flaws don’t detract too much from an otherwise attractive game.

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The only time you’ll see the officially licensed pro golfers in this game will be during seamless replay. Despite the fact that PGA Tour 2K21 features Justin Thomas on the box and features the likenesses of 11 other pros such as Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, and Jim Furyk, you cannot play as them in any of the game’s modes, which may be a letdown for anyone who purchased the game with that intention.

Instead, you only see them when you’re playing in career mode; every now and again, your round will be interrupted by the game switching to a highlight of one of the pros elsewhere on the course making a monster putt while the commentators gushes about how fantastic they are. It’s the same as watching golf on TV, or it would be if every time the broadcast moved away to someone else, you had to go through a 20-second loading screen. It will eventually interrupt your game to the point where you will turn off the highlights, therefore removing the pros from the game as well (other than seeing their name on the leaderboards).

So, there’s still work to be done here, and maybe, in a few years, we’ll be chanting the glories of PGA Tour 2K24’s in-depth story mode, produced by Francis Ford Coppola, with an exclusive Jay-Z soundtrack and more microtransactions than you can shake your PayPal password at. Actually, in this case, perhaps less is more.

Conclusion

PGA Tour 2K21 is a solid golf game that offers enough control versatility to appeal to both die-hard simulation aficionados and casual golfers seeking for a quick round. Its real-life pro players are so underutilized that they might as well not be in here, and although the game lacks the traditional 2K Sports hallmarks – the polished story mode, the slick TV-style presentation – it also lacks microtransactions, resulting in a game that, for once, just gets on with it.

From the real-life courses to the ball physics, the level of detail realworld scanning brings is astounding
For newbies, there is a large selection of optional assistance and guides and make friends by playing local
There are no microtransactions in Career mode, which is a refreshing change.
You can’t play like the pros, and you’ll only see them if you’re lucky.
There is no story mode, no dazzling TV presentation, and no audience.
Broadcast presentation features slick graphics
There are no non-US courses available (user creations aside)

 

Compete against the professionals. Play links with friends. You can play by the rules or make your own in PGA TOUR 2K21!
NEW PGA TOUR CARRIAGE MODE
Demonstrate that you have what it takes to win the FedExCup. PGA TOUR pros will be your opponents as you build your own career, earning awards and gear along the way.
NEW COURSES AND PGA TOUR PROS
Play against Justin Thomas and 11 other top pros on magnificent real-world courses like TPC Sawgrass and East Lake Golf Club.
BUILD YOUR DREAM COURSE & MYPLAYER
Create and personalize your MyPLAYER with gear and accessories from your favorite brands. With thousands of configurable options, you may create your ideal course.
AT ANY SKILL LEVEL, Brings The Fairway GREEN
Real-time tutorials, hints, and shot ideas are available to rookies. Are you a seasoned pro? Pro Vision, Distance Control, Putt Preview, and more improvements will help you master your game.
GET THE CELEBRATIONS STARTED
Play local and online matches with your pals, such as Alt-Shot, Stroke Play, Skins, and 4-Player Scramble.
ESTABLISH YOUR OWN RULES
With Online Societies, you can take control of your Clubhouse. Seasons and tournaments can be completed to obtain bragging rights on the course. Make regulations and prerequisites for entrance, as well as handicap and event settings.
THE MOST REALISTIC COURSES IN THE HISTORY OF EDUCATION
The fairway, green, bunkers, trees, lakes, and ponds come to life thanks to real-world scanning! The PGA TOUR broadcast package is true to tradition, with slick graphics, dramatic cut-scenes, and a flawless replay system, anchored by the playbyplay and commentary of luke elvy and Rich Beem’s play-by-play commentary.

additional terms:

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