It has been two years since the release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 and with a new name and next generation consoles, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour by EA Sports is ready to step up to the tee.
The game features 12 real-world courses including TPC Sawgrass, St. Andrews Links, Whistling Straits, TPC Boston, Bay Hill, Royal Troon, Chambers Bay, Wolf Creek, East Lake, TPC Scottsdale, Quail Hollow and PGA West.
The game also features unique fantasy courses including Paracel Storm, a course based off of the map from Battlefield 4 as well as Coyote Falls which is located in the Grand Canyon.
In total, the game has 17 courses.
Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner and Frank Nobilo replace the broadcast team of Jim Nantz and David Feherty from the last few editions of the game.
The game starts with a prologue that puts you in the shoes of four-time major champion and the game’s namesake, Rory McIlroy.
You start by hearing Golf Channel broadcaster Rich Lerner introduce you to the game and take you through some tutorials showcasing the new gameplay options. These options include the ability to play either in Arcade, 3-Click or Tour modes.
Arcade is the easiest setting which features a blue aiming arc to help you hit shots as well as the ability to use power boost to overpower drives and put spin on the ball while it’s in flight.
3-Click is a classic gameplay style that has been seen in previous versions of EA Sports golf games where tap the X (For PlayStation 4) or the A (For Xbox One) three times until the sweet spot is hit on a meter.
Tour mode is the most difficult option where there is no blue aiming arc, no power boost, no spin control and you can’t zoom in to your target, relying only on a hole map to navigate a hole.
After the tutorials, the prologue continues and you are put into a scenario where you play as McIlroy in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay Golf Course against two-time major winner, Martin Kaymer.
McIlroy speaks to the gamer as you go through each on-course scenario, giving you advice and talking to you about the pressure and emotion of playing in a major championship. After the prologue, the entire game is now available for the gamer to play.
You have six game modes to choose from. These include Play Now, Pro Career, Night Club Challenge, Online Tournaments, Head 2 Head and the ability to play the Prologue again.
Pro Career gives you the chance to create a golfer and build his or her legacy on the PGA Tour, starting with the Web.com Tour Finals at TPC Sawgrass.
Once you earn your PGA Tour card, you will start your first season by playing in the BioWare Classic which is played on the Wetlands, a fictional course created by EA Sports.
You will be able to compete in three of the four major championships in Pro Career. These being, the U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship.
Due to an expired license, The Masters has been taken out of the game along with Augusta National Golf Club. In its place is the EA Sports Spring Invitational which has been in the franchise’s past releases prior to the deal with Augusta National.
Wolf Creek Golf Club in Mesquite, Nevada is the host course of the Spring Invitational. EA has mentioned via social media that Augusta National and The Masters could make a return so it’s possible that the contract could be renewed.
The Night Club Challenge is a mode where you play various mini-games in a night time style setting across three courses. These courses being Wolf Creek, Paracel Storm and Coyote Falls.
You use a variety of boosts to help you get around obstacles which may include taking control of the ball mid-flight or putting a rocket boost on it. You can unlock clothing for your created golfer as well as fantasy golfers.
Online only allows you to play simultaneously as to where in previous versions, you were able to use turn-based play. Ranked matches only allow you to play nine holes while unranked matches allow you to choose a full 18 hole round.
In ranked matches, your record shows based on where you placed. For example, if you beat the other three players in your foursome, your record would be 3-0-0 but if you finished in second, your record would then be 2-1-0.
The online is quite limited, taking out game modes like Match Play, Alternate Shot, Skins and even the 3-hole mini game.
The simultaneous play is the only way to play online. Difference is, you can see your playing partners wherever they are.
Online Tournaments give you two choices: Amateur Open and Pro Open. The courses are picked at random and you play to try to get the lowest score and get to the top of the leaderboard.
There’s tournaments for the three styles of play, Arcade, 3-Click and Tour.
- The gameplay may be the best in the series. Having the gameplay styles to fit any type of virtual golfer plays a huge role in that.
- The graphics are beautiful and the realism of the golf courses really pop out at you, especially in the evening setting.
- The broadcasting feels more natural and sounds more like a conversation than in previous versions of the game. They do a great job of describing each hole on a course, like you’d see on TV or hear on the radio.
- There isn’t much content in the game despite the great gameplay. The game modes are low and Pro Career gets repetitive fast and is not rewarding after winning tournaments.
- Online integration is limited and features no team based modes
- The broadcasting gets really repetitive as well. You’ll likely hear the same things many times and adding new courses seems to be the only way to hear fresh commentary.
With a variety of gameplay styles to fit the needs of the gamer and with breathtaking graphics to go with it, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is the best playing game of the series.
But with such a low amount of game modes, player customization options, a weak career mode and limited online options, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour just missed its tee time.
Final Score: 6/10
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Colin GP Mieczkowski
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