It’s been almost eight years since EA Sports politely bowed out of the virtual golf arena with its half-hearted Rory McIlroy PGA Tour on the PS4, ending decades of dominance from the publisher – and inviting 2K Sports to take its place. But after a couple of commercially successful PGA Tour 2K titles, the Redwood City juggernaut has decided it wants back in the clubhouse – and the all-new EA Sports PGA Tour is the result. The big question: does it make a clean connection – or is it, ahem, below par?
Well, it looks absolutely extraordinary – it’s by far the best looking golf game ever made, and 2K Sports has got its work cut out if it hopes to match what EA Tiburon has achieved here. Powered by the Frostbite Engine, and designed exclusively for new-gen systems like PS5, every hole has been rendered painstakingly here, with lush natural foliage, painterly lighting, and stunning attention to detail, informed by state of the art photogrammetry scanning.
There’s never been a golf game quite like this from a presentation perspective: Pebble Beach, with its whipping waves crashing against rugged cliff faces, and St Andrews, with its rustic surrounding architecture, feel distinct and unique, rather than courses created using copy-and-paste assets. Meanwhile, the Augusta National Park, which will be of particular interest to fans considering the ongoing Masters, is decorated with its distinctive botanical features and vivid greens.
This level of quality extends across the entire game, and all 30 of its meticulously realised courses. There’s never been a better selection of officially licensed courses than this: from the large lakes of Bay Hill to the idyllic scenic backdrops of Tara Iti, you can almost taste the clean country air as you tee off. There are even a couple of fantasy locations, designed specifically by EA Sports, with the promise of more to be added post-release – including the beautifully rural Oak Hill.
It should be noted that each course responds realistically to EA Sports’ lighting engine, meaning you get subtle changes in time of day as you work through all 18-holes, with the weather also playing a big part in the presentation as you progress. A course can look glib and overcast at the very beginning of your first tee, but the clouds can part as you work your way through the back nine, exposing a beautiful setting sun. It’s truly dramatic and wonderful stuff.
We should also stress that the sound plays a big part in the overall presentation, with 3D audio used to stunning effect, capturing the sound of birds circling overhead and water swirling nearby. You can honestly just sit and drink in the atmosphere while you wind up your shots; EA Sports has captured just enough of the matchday experience to make competition exciting and engaging, without losing that serene sense of still that makes golf such a relaxing pastime.
But quality like this does come at a cost: the game is restricted to just 30fps on PS5, a surprising and unorthodox choice for a sports game. While golf is generally more sedate than, say, basketball or football, the slower frame rate affects the smoothness of the swing mechanic, which demands you snap the analogue stick back and forth to simulate the action of whipping a real-life club. We’ve had a little trouble timing up the mechanic, as it works on a slight lag, and we don’t think the frame rate helps.
You can adjust to it, but be warned that PGA Tour’s greens and fairways play faster than you may be used to in other simulations, and controlling the ball requires a deft touch. This is where the release’s RPG mechanics come into play, because as you progress through your career with a created player, you’ll earn XP which can be used to purchase Skill Points, unlocking new shot types. Perfecting those perfectly lofted approaches, so that the ball lands dead on the green rather than rolling perilously into the rough, is a huge part of the learning curve.
There are hundreds of coaching missions you can complete to perfect your game, although we feel they lack the kind of feedback new players will need to truly understand the nuance of shot selection, and therefore don’t really fulfil their purpose. If you’re looking for a lot of content, though, you’ll find it here: various missions based on iconic real-life golf performances are available, all with unique reward tracks and unlockables.
There’s actually a lot more meat to this game than originally meets the eye: Specs can be attached to different clubs to fine-tune their performance, and you can customise pretty much every facet of your character, from the strap they use on their golf bag through to the shoes they wear on Day 2 of a tournament. You’ll unlock a lot purely by playing the game, but of course you’ll also find EA Sports’ customary microtransaction currency, which can be used to purchase items from a rotating in-game shop when you run out of virtual money.
Daily tournaments refresh every 24 hours, with the best players unlocking unique packs of loot, and there are even higher stakes leaderboards you can enter using virtual tickets. Then there are both casual and competitive online options spanning a variety of modes, from traditional styles like Stroke Play through to more outlandish alternatives like Skins. The sheer density of the release, and number of ways to play, is impressive – and beyond what your initial impressions may lead you to believe.
Perhaps our biggest criticism, aside from the frame rate-induced swing issues, is that the pace of the game is impeded a little by how undeniably brilliant it looks: EA Sports wants you to appreciate every hole, and so it can feel like you’re jamming the skip button a helluva lot as it lingers on long flyovers, commentary pre-ambles, and celebrations. The quality is consistently good, but it’s hard to find a groove when the title’s constantly stopping you in your tracks.
EA Sports PGA Tour proves what the publisher is capable of at its pomp: this is a jaw-droppingly beautiful sports game, with a sublime selection of licensed courses and a surprising amount of depth. Its demanding swing mechanic is slightly let down by a sluggish frame rate, but its single player is boosted by a strong sense of progression – and in multiplayer there’s tons to do. This is an impressively strong effort overall, and a sign of good things to come ahead of the company’s other anticipated comeback, EA Sports College Football.
No 'press a couple of buttons to swing' easy option?
It looks amazing and I suppose if a game has to have 30fps to get those visuals then this is the kind of game it matters less on.
However, I always find I start golf.games eagerly and with the best intentions, but soon get bored and/or frustrated with the mechanics and repetition. Much like the game itself.
Won't buy but will definitely watch a few let's plays on YouTube.
Would be a buy if it had PSVR2 support, surely it’s an obvious fit
How golf can get anything above a 5/10 is beyond me 😉
Lock your framerate to 30 and I lock your review score to 6 out of 10.
I wish it was 30fps but you've swayed me, buying it now.
Even so, this has to be said but everything should be 60fps from two years ago.
It's still no Leaderboard Golf...
Just what I was thinking. Although I’d be worried my ceiling is a little low lol
It looks absolutely insane, the graphics are some of the best I’ve seen. Shame about the 30FPS considering that Tiger Woods 2004, which I’d still say is the pinnacle of golf games, runs at 60.
@hi_drnick it's still no Everybody's Golf.
@Gamer_Guy No triple click gameplay option at launch, although they've indicated they might add it.
@Loamy oddly enough, I am not a big golf fan but I enjoy playing golf sims, especially Mario Golf….
Sounds good to me and easily the best looking golf game that I have seen. Wonder if it has the Power Shots from the Tiger games ? 🤔
No 60 fps option = no purchase.
Hi @Get2Sammyb, is the 30FPS distracting? I can imagine it wouldn’t be too bad in a golf game, you’re not exactly panning the camera around a lot. Thanks for the review!😃
I'm finding the 30fps a little distracting, when the game unlocked at midnight I played around five hours and have done similar this afternoon. Pretty sure on one of the authorised previews with ApexHound they said 60fps is coming in future. And I hope it does. But so far? At least an 8/10 for me, a stunning recreation of golf.
I might have considered this despite the 30 FPS, but you lost me at the analog stick being used to swing. No three-tap meter, no buy for me.
30fps? After playing pga2k23 @ super smooth 60fps i'll pass on this because golf is about accuracy and timing so if that core mechanic is compromised then i'm out until they patch it in..
Yeah, I think I’ll keep an eye on it. Maybe in a sale
60fps is coming at some point and I also believe that 3 click is too.
Truly is stunning to look at. I was a pushbuttonx swinger in prior golf games lol...so I don't mind learning the swing mechanics with this one, cause it actually is fun and challenging all at once....only thing I am stumped with is I am still trying to figure out how to acquire the in game currency for the shop as I still have yet to earn anything other than player xp or maybe they just want my real currency.
Interesting! I was getting rather concerned about the lateness of the review embargo vs release date but seems to be reviewing well across the board. Rory edition about 8 years ago was a shameful effort awfully lacking in content and I still have very fond memories of the early Tiger Woods games which were very good (Pops was a great fantasy character).
This versions seems like they’ve found a good balance of style and substance and, unless I missed it in the review, not a mention of micro transactions in sight.
I suspect this will come down in price quite quickly so I’ll probably pick it up at some point soon. The 2K games just didn’t gel with me so looking forward to getting out on the fairway with this one at some point.
Excellent! I'll definitely get this one ...in a few months when it's like €10.
Played a round last night before bed. Can't say I even noticed it was 30fps...and I am a 60fps wh0r3😁 Beautiful game, and the atmosphere is a clear step up from 2k23. However, did not find an extensive tutorial or practice mode/driving range immediately available, which was disappointing — something that 2k has ...
The 30 FPS is a huge turnoff. I was playing PGA2K and thought that that game was also capped at 30 FPS, not realizing there was an option to play at 60 FPS in a performance mode. It was soooo much better in 60FPS. It makes a huge difference in a golf game, when timing is so important.
@hi_drnick Ah, how I miss Leaderboard. Looked so great on my C64.
Where's the PS5 version of Everybody's Golf
@DrVenture69 The swing feels a bit sluggish because of it IMO, but aside from that it's not an issue.
Sounds great! The Masters in real life has been very exciting too so I'm definitely in the mood. Think I'll pick this up tonight! Hopefully a 60 fps option will be added down the line. I know the devs said they are looking into it so that's good.
So frustrating that 60fps and 3-click ‘are coming’. Just make and release a full game at launch why don’t you!!
Used to love these games as very chilaxing. Don't know if it's still for me but will try the trial that is made available!
Been playing the 10 hour trial on EA Play. Feels so heavy and sluggish. Choppy too. The swing stick doesnt even feel 1:1 with the golfers swing. Shocked this got an 8.
@get2sammyb but that is an issue tbh. Golf is all about timing and if the timing is in anyway compromised its making the game more difficult than needs be. This release just smacks of being rushed out with kinks to iron out via further patches. Pga2k23 is not the greatest in terms of graphics true but where that game really shines is the rock solid swing mechanic which really comes into its own when you invest a bit of time with it and 60fps really helps. If you are a graphics tart then maybe this is for you but i'd reccomend pga2k23 over this anyday just for that one detail alone...oh and 30 courses? Pga2k23 has 1000's...whatever happened to your review of that game?
I’ve been playing the ten hour trial. I don’t think 30fps is distracting. Nothing is really ever moving very fast!
It’s a stunning recreation of golf and overwhelmingly loaded with content. So much so that I would like to see a bit more ‘narrative’ to the game. Not an actual story but a direction which takes you through and makes it clear what you’re doing what for.
It’s interesting to me that they totally understate their pro golfers. So much so that their website said there would be 12 and there are 24 at launch. When you play the masters, three old legends hobble out to perform the traditional tee off to open the event. Why can’t we have matches against them in the career to unlock them as playable characters. The old TW games had stuff like that and that felt GREAT.
I’m not bemoaning it having loads of content. I’d just like to be ‘walked through’ a game path a bit more rather than just: HERE - have all of THIS; do what you like with it. That seems to be the modern way sadly.
I do hope they consider content like the above as well as new golfers, gimmick characters, legends etc as the dlc roadmap comes into sight…
Mario Golf and Hot Shots Golf beg to differ
@nessisonett Can we not just get a Dead Space style remake of TW2004. I lost days to that game. So good.
I've played through 3 days of early access and can tell you this is a fantastic golf game. It's a bit frustrating at first, but once you start earn and distribute a few skill points, it all starts to click. Before you know it the controls become second nature. You'll gain some confidence and start to make some incredible shots. And, the courses look amazing. I've always avoided golf games that didn't have a 3-click swing option, but I decided to give this one a chance, glad I did!
Another 30fps game, progress goes backwards. It really is the return to the dark ages.
@Joabra01Swe 30 fps hasn't been an issue for me so far, I know they are looking at increasing the fps in a future patch. If this was an action game like GoW or Spiderman, then yeah it would matter more. But it's not, it's golf.
Thanks @get2sammyb, yeah, that’s not great. I think I’ll keep an eye out for patch notes. Hopefully the reduce the level of detail and post processing a bit so they can get 60FPS out of it and introduce 3 click swings. 🤞. It could do with a demo really
I'll say it again: wasnt the point of PS5 to be able to get [email protected]?!
Why is this so difficult? Genuine question from a completely uneducated fella when it comes to games, graphics design etc.
I've had it since the start of the week and whilst it's enjoyable, more so for me than 2k23, I would hope we get a 60fps patch soon, to maybe fix the swing as it feels a bit heavy and the timing seems a little off.
Having fun with it though, cracking recreations of the courses, I started my Amatuer at St Andrews as it's just down the road from me and they done a cracking job with it, Augusta looks amazing as well.
@PacPern123 yes VR2 needs a golf game. Everybody's Golf VR was fantastic, if a little limited
@DrVenture69 👍👍and there it is, the typical random "I'll maybe buy it in a sale" comment 👍👍
@Loamy How come baseball game, fishing game or a game from your avatar can go beyond 5/10?
I didn't even finish A Plague Tale: Requiem because it was locked at 30 FPS. I just can't do it anymore.
@Tr3mm0r Just 'avin a joke mate 😁 also, Pokémon Emerald is easily one of the best of the bunch!
The devs said the 3 button swing will be released soon in a patch as an option as they believe there is enough potential owners of the game to that would prefer this option to warrant the addition 👍
@nintendo4sonic, ah sales! The great equaliser! 😂. If they were still £39.99, I’d have probably bought it, but £69.99 puts me wait-mode (at least until I see what they do with patches). It looks gorgeous though
Makes me want to play a new Everybody's golf even more the PS3 one was fantastic.
@Northern_munkey does 2k23 have a 3 click swing?
the stick swing isnt suitable for me
@stvevan yes it does indeed 👍
@DrVenture69 yeah that's OK, I wouldn't pay 70 bucks right now as well.😁 But I like good golf games, that last one from EA was pretty good.
@Northern_munkey Cheers, i have hand tremors, so can end up shanking shots! may pick it up as cheap currently
@stvevan its a great golf game just a bit ugly in places..i hope you enjoy it.
@Northern_munkey Well I mentioned it as a negative in my review, but I believe you can fully adjust to it. I agree 60fps would be better.
I disagree PGA Tour 2K23 is better personally. As for my review of that, I wasn't able to turn it in at the time as I ended up on the God of War Ragnarok project. But I did play it a little bit.
Amazing how many are over reacting to 30fps. This is a golf game where 95% of the time the view is mostly static. I played it, it's not really distracting.
@IronMike Almost all games are 60fps to be fair. This is a rare exception, hence so many people are talking about it.
@FinneasGH To be fair, it is a full game. There's absolutely bonkers amounts of content. I know some people prefer three-click shooting, but obviously that wasn't the dev's goal with this game.
I agree with 60fps, hence I listed it as a negative.
No. It was just more powerful hardware, like every console generation. It is ALWAYS up to developers to choose how to use that additional power and where to spend their frame budget. It's always a balance for developers: Graphical fidelity vs performance.
On some twitch shooters, where the screen is constantly moving around and reaction time is crucial to winning or losing, that might be better at 60fps or even 120 with much lower graphical settings.
But on a slow paced golf game like this where the camera is static most of the time and you are using the analogue stick to swing it is MUCH less important. For me, having played it, 30fps is fine. Would 60fps be nice? Sure. And I wish there was a 60fps option here, as choice is good.
Every frame the console puts out has to be calculated and rendered in real time. So for 60fps, that's 60 times every second. For developers that means they need to get the hardware to do roughly twice as much work as at 30fps (it's not quite as simple as that but it's a rough guide). Achieving 60fps instead of 30fps the developers would have to sacrifice something, like lowering the overall graphical fidelity. On a game like this that probably means less density to the grass, trees, foliage etc. In short it wouldn’t look as nice. The devs decided for this game 30fps was fine. I tend to agree. But I also believe choice is good, and it would be better to have a 60fps option too.
At the same time I also think the "no 60fps, no sale" crowd needs to get some perspective and consider the TYPE of game. Not all games are the same and plenty of games are just fine at 30fps... they don't make your eyes bleed and fall out, counter to all their protestations. I often wonder how they ever played games in the PS3/4 era and before when frame rates were often an unstable sub-30fps... and I hope none of them are looking forward to the next Zelda. This recent frame-rate snobbery is tiresome imo.
@themightyant Couldn't agree more - framerate and fidelity snobs are the worst. The Church of Digital Foundry has a lot to answer for.
@get2sammyb seeing as it was sacrificed for the mighty god of war i can forgive you..👍
Wow a 8/10 kinda making me wanna pick this game up. I honestly really love the chill vibes of golf so maybe once this goes on sale I’ll swoop in and grab it.
"30fps, the horrors oh the horrors !! " Its a golf game ffs 🤣
Looks good ill check it out a wee while down the line.
@Kunfoostu thanks for the info...I'm a lazy, easy mode gamer these days so that would get my interest.
Removed - inappropriate
@Loamy you obviously never played "Golf"story
@themightyant thank you so much for taking time to explain this. I really do appreciate it!
Im definitely not "no 60fps - no purchase" guy. I was just baffled we were sold this "powerful" machine in PS5 and yet almost every game is compromising on this or that. And I just couldn't understand why this would be.
Thank you again 🙏🏼
@get2sammyb hmm, I agree, tbf. Just couldn't understand the issue/arguments why all games aren't [email protected], period - when we have the mighty, expensive PS5.
Im about to get this game today, as for me personally 30 fps isnt be all end all.
I love a good golf game but at 30 fps…?…not for me sorry…I mean this is “supposed” to be next-gen, to me 30fps is not next-gen, we have PS5 for goodness sake not PS4
@IronMike No worries. It’s worth noting that Consoles by their very design are always a compromise. They are not anywhere near the top end of technology, which is always increasing every year and super-expensive. But what they are trying to be is the best balance of price v performance, with added convenience.
For the cost the PS5 is a very powerful machine and currently an insanely good bargain for the relative power. For example a PC that can output at similar settings would currently be around double the cost or $1,000 / £1,000, give or take. (2070 Super, CPU, NVME SSD, Motherboard, RAM, PSU, Case, Fans, Controller, OS, etc.)
Top end PCs that significantly outperform the PS5 can easily cost £2,000+ (I’m looking to build a new rig this year and the prices are daunting, often for relatively minimal gain)
Fact is a console is always a compromise, but that’s a good thing as it makes it affordable to the masses. Right now it’s in a very sweet spot, but it can’t do everything… if you want that it’s a PC… but it’ll cost you… and comes with its own set of issues.
@themightyant i'd like to make it clear that i'm not against 30fps in games but i'd prefer the option for both. Coming off the back of pga2k23 and it being 60fps dropping down to 30fps just is not an option for me. If people can get along with it fine but i'd rather have the performance mode in a game that portrays the sport i play in real life. Horses for courses i guess 👍
@Northern_munkey I’d definitely prefer the option for both, as I said. Choice is good. Though this is one of the rare times I’d likely take the prettier 30fps option. I also played 2k3 before but had little problem dropping back to 30, not least I prefer this game so far.
Importantly the swing mechanic is based more on rhythm and accuracy of the analogue stick far more than and precision over what is happening on screen. Plus it can be adjusted post shot with in air spin etc.
I just think the “no 60fps, no buy” rhetoric has gotten out of hand recently and lost perspective about what type of game it is. It isn’t one size fits all. If it was a twitch shooter i’d be leading the march waving signs… but it isn’t. It’s a peaceful mostly static golf game.
But as you said horses for courses 👍
I’m still expecting a 60fps option down the line, as you said it was probably a little rushed out to hit the Masters.
@themightyant cannot thank you enough. I agree with "no 60fps, no purchase" as being silly, but that's just ppl. Each to their own. As mentioned before, a few years ago, 30 fps was "the standard."
It definitely would be best to have an option so each person can choose to their liking. But thats uo to developers..
Have a great Sunday everyone.
@Dobbos yes they brought back the ball spin while traveling in the air after shot and has the power shot meter by pressing X during back swing. Like the good old days
@Nickb7999 aw great makes no sense but was great fun.
@Toypop cool, that makes sense. I thought there would be more factors involved in this just didnt know what they are.
30fps? Get that gahbage outta here!
Game is brilliant! You hit 5 perfect shots, thinking "thats it, I got it now" only to mess up the next two..
How do I get coins for playing in tournaments? I played, finished 50-75% but didnt get any coins. Is there anything I need to do?
Any word on when the patch will hit for 60fps? Pre ordered it and was gutted when found this out. Also, is there any reason why the backswing on some shots feels like it's going in slow motion? Makes it really hard to judge
"Extraordinary visuals" ??
I've got the 10 hour trial through ea play and it looks no better than 2k golf on ps4.
Am I missing something?
The trial is same size download as full game
H'okaaay, so apparently you not only need to be online to play anything other than Quick Play, but when you go online, you're automatically prompted to create an EA account? Man I'm glad I got this from CEX — they have a 48-hour no quibble return policy...
@Joabra01Swe people whinge when you say the PS5 is underpowered on here. But it really is even in 2021 it was already underpowered.
We need a pro version. Even RTX 3090s struggle with modern games and the PS5 is a quarter of that in raw GPU powah.
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