Rory McIlroy PGA Tour Review – On Par (PS4)

If you’ve ever played golf, then you know that a large part of the enjoyment not only comes from the actual game, but also from the incredible beauty of the golf courses. Being able to stand on green grass looking at rolling hills, trees, and the occasional scampering animal sets golf apart from most other sports, adding in a natural aspect that simply isn’t possible in confined stadiums or indoor courts. After spending a while with Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, it’s clear that the developers have played enough golf to be able to encapsulate not only the mechanics of the game, but also the beautiful landscapes of the courses.

Golfing Mechanics

There are three different gameplay styles (Arcade, Classic, and Tour) in Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, with each one giving players a whole different type of golfing experience. The Arcade style is probably the most familiar one of the bunch, as it brings back the ability change the spin of the ball in the air. It is probably the least realistic way to play golf, but it is certainly fun to be able to change where the ball will land while the thing is still in the air. The Arcade style also allows players to zoom in to see around where the ball will land, and it makes putting a little bit easier with a putt read feature that gives a better look at the curve of the land.

The Classic style brings back the three-click controls, having players try to stop the swing meter in certain, small areas. This style is probably the easiest in terms of being able to hit perfect shots, although players are not able to add boost or spin to the ball. Finally, the Tour style gives players a more realistic golfing experience. It turns off the zoom function and the putt read feature, and players are not able to change the spin of the ball in the air. However, the ability to add spin and boost to the ball before it is hit is there, making the Tour style of gameplay the most complex and hardest to master, but also the one that best simulates actual golf.

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After picking one of these gameplay styles (they can be changed at anytime), players can then choose which game mode they would like to play. Players can either take on a single course with up to four local friends, or they can do the Tour Pro Career mode, which is essentialy a career mode where players create a character and compete in tournaments to unlock new clubs and outfits for their character. Or players can compete against friends online. All of these modes offer basically the same thing — playing golf on a golf course. 

However, there is one other game mode, called Night Club Challenges. As the name suggests, players take on a bunch of golfing challenges at night on three different golf courses. There are quite a lot of challenges to play through, and each one can earn the player between one and three stars, depending on how well the player does. Some challenges ask the player to hit a ball and have it land on a certain target, while at the same time trying to avoid obstacles, and other challenges have the player trying to hit the ball through a hoop in the sky, among other things. A number of different power-ups, such as a rocket boost that allows the ball the gain altitude, even when falling, or a power-up that makes the ball instantly stick to the ground instead of rolling around help the player get through the challenges. These modes not only offer a break from simply playing a normal game of golf, but they also help to hone aiming and shooting skills.

Breathtaking Scenery

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour runs using the powerful Frostbite 3 engine, giving the game gorgeous visuals. You can see particles floating in the air, the clouds moving overhead, and the sun illuminating the entire course, making the whole thing look different depending on whether you set the time of day to the morning, midday, or evening. Thanks to the power of current-gen systems, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is easily one of the best looking sport games out on the market today — just check out the screenshot gallery below to see what I mean.

But, besides the breathtaking scenery, the Frostbite 3 engine allows for the title to see the entire golf course as a whole, rather than just as individual holes. What that means, exactly, is that areas that were previously out of bounds, resulting in you having to take a penalty, are now viable areas of play. For example, in the Boston course, I hit the ball fairly far away from the fairway, and it ended up in a bunch of bushes and leaves. Instead of losing a few strokes and having to place the ball somewhere else, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour now simply has the player hit the ball from almost anywhere it lands, meaning I had to hit it out of the bushes, which completely concealed my character and the ball, and back onto the fairway. Each course is more open, and since the whole course is now rendered as a whole, there aren’t any loading times when switching between holes.

Quality, Not Quantity

However, perhaps due to the detail that went into the visuals of each course, there is a fairly limited number of courses that are actually available to play at launch. With the pre-order DLC Scottsdale course, which, if you didn’t pre-order the game, won’t be available for a few months, there is a total of 13 courses. While it does take a while to play through each course fully, it soon becomes necessary to replay each course over and over again. Obviously, you can get drastically different results with each playthrough of a golf course, but the low number of courses still feels limited. It should be noted, however, that EA is planning on releasing free courses after the game is released.

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Rory McIlroy PGA Tour also has a very limited number of golfers to choose from. There are only a handful of golfers to use, and there are virtually no women golfers, barring the goofy and fictional Edna Masterson. Players have the option of making there own golfer, which they must do for Tour Pro Career, although the there aren’t too many customizable features to use. There is a small amount of hairstyles, a few different facial structures, a variety of different skin colors, a number of different unlockable outfits, and that is pretty much it. It’s pretty far from the different options available in Dragon Age: Inquisition, another EA game running on Frostbite 3, and the options just feel underwhelming. 

Despite the limited number of courses to play on and the limited number of golfers to choose from, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is still worth buying. Each course is visually breathtaking, and the various gameplay styles and game modes allow for completely different game experiences each time you play. If you’re a golf fan, or if you just want to look at gorgeous scenery, then you might want to check out Rory McIlroy PGA Tour.

Review copy provided by publisher. For information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.

8.0Silver Trohpy
  • Beautiful visuals
  • Fun Night Club Challenges
  • Courses are more open
  • Three different gameplay styles
  • Limited number of golf courses
  • And limited number of golf players