Title: Rory McIlroy PGA Tour
Platform: PS4 and Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: EA Tiburon
Publisher: EA Sports
Release date: July 14th 2015 / July 16th 2015
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
After questionable performances on the course, Tiger Woods has been pulled as EA’s yearly golf game poster boy (after being their “mascot” since 1998) and replaced by a new sensation in Rory McIlroy. The game was first announced way back at E3 2014 and it was revealed that this year’s iteration would be rebuilt from scratch for the current-gen consoles by using the Frostbite 3 engine in order to render more realistic environments. The game also features a bevy of new features with this “rebirth” of sorts. How does this new entry fare? Let’s get into it.
Once booting up the game for the first time, you’ll be prompted to decided whether or not to give the game’s tutorial a spin. If this is your first venture into EA’s golf game, I highly recommend you do it. You’ll have the chance to try the game’s three swing mechanic in order to find out which one suits you well and will ensure you have a pleasant time with the game.
The three swing options are:
- Arcade: Simple way to swing with the joystick
- Classic: Simple 3 button click swing
- Tour: Features a more advanced swing mechanic using the joystick
The first two methods are ideal for newcomers to the franchise in order to ease them into the game while the Advanced mode is ideal for returning players of EA’s long running franchise.
Once you get a feel of one, you’re free to get into a round of golf or try the others. Once you’re done with that, you’re treated to a mildly boring sequence of McIlroy going through the mindset of a golfer as you play as him in between speeches. It does allow the player to get a feel of the game, but the speeches could’ve been saved as an optional extra bonus instead of being force fed to the player. Let’s face it, once you’re done with a tutorial, the best way to get a hang of things is actually playing the game.
For a full package, EA Tiburon has included a few different game modes in order to make things fun and keep players entertained. You can either begin by a quick game, a Night Club Challenge mode or tackle the world with the Career mode. Obviously, there’s the obligatory head to head mode where you can play with friends. The Night Club Challenge mode is where you’ll need to score enough points to reach 3 Stars in order to make it to the next challenge. This mode is quite helpful if you wish to get used to the controls, club and gauge the distance. Scoring enough points will let players unlock boosts to help them in harder challenges.
Obviously, the most interesting mode here is the Career mode; where you can create your own player, with limited customization option, and take him (or her) through the various golf tournament. Your character begins at the bottom of the ladder, but as you play tournament, you’ll gain Experience points which will level up your character. Your skills will also get better as you play through the tournaments and you’ll see your character climb up the ranks by accumulating tournament wins.
When setting up shots, you’ll need to pay attention to the wind factor; also making sure you are using the right club for the job. In order to make things more enjoyable to newcomers, hitting the ball on your way to the green with the “default setting” (club and how you hit the ball) will still feel like they have a chance in making PAR or even a Birdie. Putting on the other hand takes a bit of getting used to. The guiding curve is there to help you align your short, however it’s not always easy to gauge the curve on the first time. Once you’ve seen the vast possibilities, you’ll make birdies with your eyes closed. While it does give new players a chance, hardcore golf sim players will able to switch to a more adequate club and adjust the sweet spot required to hit on the ball in order to get in as much distance as possible.
Every year, one thing that EA Tiburon gets right, is the overall feel presentation. Whether it be hockey, football or golf, EA Tiburon nails down the atmosphere of the sport for their game. However with Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, where it falls apart is the character models. The golfers and caddies look like lifeless cardboard standups; whether you miss your shot or successfully pull in an Eagle or birdie, your golfer will have the exact same expression on his face. Which is odd because in a real Golf environment, if you miss, you’re pissed off, if you succeed you’re giddy with joy. Kind of a huge bummer considering the overall feel is pretty awesome.
Besides the mediocre character models, another annoying issue I’ve encountered is the Suspend/Resume functionality on Xbox One. Every time I’d pause the game and “turn it” off and return to it a few hours later, my current game was lost and had to start over; annoying when you can’t use one of the console’s best features with the game. Additionally, you can’t save mid-tournament, meaning if you start one, you need to finish it to avoid losing any progress. Pausing the tournament only brings you back to the game’s main menu screen.
Despite its minor aforementioned annoying quirks, if Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is a sign of the franchise’s rebirth and things to come, the future looks bright and shiny. The game is deep enough to satisfying the hardcore golf fans; clubs, wind factor, advanced swing mechanics. And easy to pick up and play for newcomers with its simpler swing mechanic and helpful tutorial.
- Great presentation
- Beautiful courses
- Three different swing configuration
- A Battlefield 4 map? Why?
- Can’t save mid-tournament
- Putting takes some getting used to
- Annoying EA servers connection requests
Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is rated E for Everyone. Let’s face it, Golf is for everyone with a bit of patience.
Code provided courtesy of Xbox UK