In PGA Tour 2K23, players are going to have the chance to take to the course in whole new ways and the improvements made by 2K could make it championship material.
Since 2K’s acquisition of HB Studios, the minds behind The Golf Club series, we’ve had The Golf Club 2019 featuring the PGA Tour, and PGA Tour 2K21.
Now, the franchise is starting to really take advantage of its license privileges as PGA Tour 2K23 introduces playable tour pros for the first time, along with new gameplay mechanics, twists on the established format, as well as new game modes, and exciting features.
I had the chance to get an exclusive session with the devs and experience the game for myself and I firmly believe that the game is aiming for the top of the leaderboard.
Tiger Woods deal is an unbelievable coup
2K’s slogan for PGA Tour 2K21 was “We Got Game,” and this stood true. Then, on March 16, 2021, simulated golf also got Tiger Woods back as 2K announced that they had signed Woods to the company.
Even if you don’t like golf or know nothing about it, the name ‘Tiger Woods’ is synonymous with sport, and Woods’ name was used for nearly 15 years to spearhead EA’s golf games. Now, he’s on the front cover of PGA Tour 2K23 and also serves as an Executive Director on the project offering his tremendous knowledge of the game.
In a conference call, HB Studios Creative Director John Muise had this to say about the incredible partnership: “His fingerprints are all over the sport of golf, but his fingerprints are also over the video game world of golf, so it was a very exciting opportunity for us to tap into it and to have access to those ideas and that mind, needless to say, the team on our side couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Playable pros add some much-needed authenticity
2K’s golf franchise has had the official PGA Tour license for a few years now and it would be fair to say that it hasn’t quite been used to its fullest extent — that is until now.
Along with Tiger Woods, multiple PGA Tour Pros, both male and female, including Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris, Tony Finau, Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko, and many more will be usable in-game, and they have all been scanned and motion capped to ensure they are a lifelike representation of their real-life counterpart.
As well as their appearance and classic get-ups they wear during tournaments, each golfer’s unique swing has also been included. You’ll see Rahm and Finau’s abbreviated backswings to Morikawa’s slower and more deliberate motion.
New courses have also been added to the mix in Wilmington Country Club, The Renaissance Club, St. George’s Golf and Country Club, and these are just some of the 20 courses on offer in PGA Tour 2K23.
These details wouldn’t be as impressive if they weren’t fleshed out properly, but we are happy to see that the visual details are all part and parcel in 2K23 as the graphics are looking more beautiful than ever.
Player models look really good, animations feel less robotic than in previous iterations, and feint touches such as the sound of the ball rocketing off of a 190 ball speed driver varies from the tinny sound of a Ping G425 to the crack of a TaylorMade Stealth.
PGA Tour 2K23’s gameplay is a huge draw
The hot feature this year is the inclusion of the brand new 3-Click system that will provide newcomers with an easier and simpler way to enjoy the game and make it more inclusive for everyone.
Not everyone feels comfortable stepping up to the tee or having to play a delicate chip shot using an analog stick, so the 3-Click mechanic will instead rely on three simple pushes of the action button to determine the shot’s power, its direction, and the crispness of the strike.
It takes a bit of getting used to, but it differs greatly from other arcade golf games that have implemented a similar system and helps to add even more character to PGA Tour 2K23.
Along with the game’s unique selling points, there are also a ton of noticeable tweaks and subtle alterations that have faded previous concerns into obscurity.
For instance, based on our hands-on time, the infamous Splash Shot no longer appears to be in the game. In previous titles, this explosive shot allowed unreal control over the ball in the 16-35 yard range, making short-game shots easier than they probably should’ve been.
Not only that, but chipping is harder too with a greater margin of error now in play, meaning you’re going to need to be more meticulous about your planning and strategy around the greens.
In terms of refinement, putting feels more satisfying than ever and it’s helped by the ability to use real-life balls including Callaway’s Triple Track design.
It’s party time on the PGA Tour!
PGA Tour 2K23 not only still ‘Got Game’ but it’s also found a light-hearted side too as the bid to become more open and welcoming to the casual fan increases.
Already announced is that NBA Legend Michael Jordan is going to be a playable character in the new golf game and the icon can definitely hold his own from tee-to-green.
But it doesn’t stop there as TopGolf is coming to 2K’s entertainment spectacular with the popular driving range phenomenon set to offer a host of incredible mini-games for you to compete against friends!
Throw in the return of Divot Derby and some other fun variations on the sport and you have a handsome package of content to look forward to. With an expanded Career Mode and an even more accessible Course Designer, there are many ways for you to play the course.
Hopes are high for PGA Tour 2K23 to deliver on all its promise that it’s been building over the years and present golf fans with a premium smorgasbord that can avoid all the hazards and won’t flop.