EA Sports PGA Tour is unlike any other golf game I've played. It still features familiar elements from the series' past--back when Tiger Woods was front and center--such as slow-motion heartbeat moments and climactic power shots. But after an eight-year hiatus from the world of golf simulation, EA has returned to the fairway with a more demanding recreation of the sport that's as much about feel as it is mastering the game's robust mechanics. With 30 courses covering all four majors--including The Masters at Augusta National--EA Sports PGA Tour has a plethora of golfing action to sink your teeth into. It's just a shame there are a few notable issues in critical areas that hold it back from greatness.
The first of these is the game's swing mechanic. If you've played a golf game before, the actual act of swinging a driver or 5-iron will be familiar. You pull down on the analog stick to bring the club back, then push forward again to unleash your shot. This has been a staple in golf games for a number of years now, and there aren't any alternatives at the moment--not until a three-click system is implemented in a later update. The issue with EA Sports PGA Tour is that there's a slight delay between your input and the on-screen visual. Your swing isn't 1:1, so there's an uneasy disconnect where you never quite feel like you're in total control. The general malaise of each swing doesn't help matters either, with the slow, clunky pacing and frustrating lag making it difficult to nail the timing and power of each shot. I eventually grew accustomed to these idiosyncrasies over time, but it never feels quite right and fails to capture the satisfaction that hitting a 300-yard tee shot should achieve.
To compound the issue, EA Sports PGA Tour also lacks any sort of meaningful tutorial. There are tooltips that pop up and cover the basics the first time you play, but these brief snippets barely scratch the surface of everything going on under the hood. Instead, the game has a suite of challenges that happen to include a Coaching Academy. This is the best place to start, even if these challenges still neglect to offer any tips or feedback to help you along the way. What you get is a variety of contextual situations covering different aspects of the sport, from putting downhill to dealing with elevation changes and the multitude of shot types on offer. There's a lot of trial and error involved, but the repetition of replaying each situation does give you a greater understanding of how everything works. It's not a very user-friendly approach, but it sets expectations and is genuinely helpful in an unconventional way, even if it might prove frustrating for some. Plus, completing these challenges also earns you XP that can be used to improve your created character.Continue Reading at GameSpot