For the first time in its storied seventeen year history, EA Sports has released a golf game that wasn’t named after Tiger Woods and it works absolutely perfectly.
Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is the first installation in the franchise that has appeared on the new generation consoles and it has worked their advantage. Obviously going into the game I expected the graphics to be absolutely beautiful, but when I fired up my Xbox One, I never expected to feel like I was watching Jordan Spieth play a round at TPC Sawgrass. Never once did I expect to be watch Jonas Blixt kill it at Chambers Bay. Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is a revamp that the franchise desperately needed.
When you fire up the game, you get the obligatory tutorial. Having not played a golf game on the One, I opted to go through with the tutorial and I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. The three different styles of gameplay are a way to get every fan of the game, whether they be a novice or an expert, a chance to play the game his or her way.
The “Arcade” gameplay style is much like EA Sports kickoff style in its Madden series. You pull back on the left analog stick and watch the power meter. However, this is golf and not football and this style gives you a chance to hit a power shot, a soft shot, or even put spin on the ball in midair.
The “Classic” gameplay style brings nostalgia to the 21st century. It allows you to utilize the three-click system that the franchise used in its early days of the game. This is the simplest gameplay style and allows for beginners to get into the game without trying to be overly complicated.
The “Tour” gameplay style is the most difficult style to master, but once you get it down, there is really no stopping you on the course. This style shows that EA Sports knows that video games are an ever-changing community and even sports gamers want a new challenge when they are promised a new game.
If you don’t want to spend your time playing on the course and trying to master your golf swing, there is a new game mode that Rory McIlroy PGA Tour introduces to fans. The Night Club Challenge allows fans of the game to play EA Sports’ version mini-games, but it still gives that competitive twist. From the simpler challenges where you must hit off a tee box onto the fairway to making seemingly impossible chip shots, the Night Club Challenge provides 170 different games and hours of fun.
In the Night Club Challenge, you can unlock power-ups that help you along the way to beating all the challenges and unlocking new characters, courses, and even clubs for you to use in-game. From “Nitro”, that gives you an extra boost and adds more distance to get you closer to the hole, to “Sticky Ball”, that allows you to stop your ball on a dime and stick exactly where it hits the grass, there are plenty of exciting ways to up your game.
The Tour Pro Career game mode is the one mode I was a little more disappointed with. I like that you are able to choose your backstory. Prodigy is exactly what it sounds like. Your character has been playing since he was two years old and he is now looking to get a tour card. Collegiate is a backstory where your character has dominated the junior and amateur ranks and even won a national championship. The character is the number one player in the country in the amateur rankings. Instructor is the more obscure of the three backstories. Your character has been playing golf all his life and has even become an expert in teaching others how to play, but they have never player professionally.
In the end, your ultimate goal is to win the opening invitational and get your tour card. From there, the option is to win as many tournaments as possible and play through the ranks to achieving your ultimate goal of winning a major championship.
The courses are a perfect representation of the actual real life courses. Many fans of the franchise have never and will never get to see some, or any, of these courses up close and personal. If I had to pick my favorite course, it would be the one course that I have actually seen up close and personal.
Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando is an amazing representation of a historic course. Every year it is the host of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the course itself is the winter home of the famed golf legend. I may be a tad bit biased when I say this, but I believe that the Bay Hill course in this game is easily the best course, both to play and in its physical features, in the history of the PGA Tour franchise.
Another course I really enjoyed to play is the Par 3 Paracel Island course that is based off of the popular first person shooter Battlefield 4. You are playing among the wreckage of an attack on the island and mostly have to hit from beach to beach. The most enjoyable thing about the course is the fact that the commentators, Rich Lerner and Frank Nobilo, are playing up the course like it is something we see every day.
I will never forget when I heard Nobilo say “He now has to hit over the radio tower to get through this hole. This seems like a difficult play here.”
All in all, Rory McIlroy is a perfect representation of some of the real life golf courses and it really engages its fans into wanting to play for hours, no matter how bad your short game may actually be. The game gives fans an experience they will never forget and it has now replaced Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2009 as my favorite game in the franchise.
Caleb’s rating: 4.1/5
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA Today Sports