For years, EA Sports nailed virtual golf with its Tiger Woods PGA Tour series, which not only introduced a number of features for perfecting your golf swing, but also real world authenticity, including the Masters tournament. We haven't heard much from the series since Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14: The Masters came out a couple of years ago, but it's due for a comeback.
EA Sports PGA Tour, which doesn't include Tiger this time around but still packs plenty of golf action, promises to re-define the series for both casual golfing fans and veterans who scored their share of birdies, eagles and hole-in-ones. It'll bring back the swinging mechanics we've come to expect, while introducing a number of new innovations that should make it stand out.
The first thing you'll notice is the game's new appearance. Making its debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the courses should look better, from the glimmer coming off the lakes and other bodies of water to the refined grass growing around the edges of the fairways. You can expect other little details as well, such as each golfer's personal swing and the dramatic cut to the green.
Considering this is an EA Sports title (“it’s in the game”), PGA Tour will be all about the gameplay. Expect the same terrific physics from the Tiger days, including detail in the backswing, power shots and precision putting, all while using secondary tools that assist in making your game even better. Caddies should make a return as well, providing advice where necessary and of course, the clubs needed to get your ball into the hole.
It sounds like just another golf game, but this time around, EA Sports decided to throw in a new extreme angle that will differ from other titles – fantasy courses. For the first time, you’ll be able to play outside the borders of the usual PGA offerings in favor of more exciting course designs. Now all EA needs to do is reveal all of these locations.
For an example, check out how a battleship can make all the difference on a course. You line up your shot at the tee, but then you have to compensate for the ship crashing into the course, which could easily send your ball into the water if you're not careful. It's up to you to judge where your shot goes, and then get out of the way of the hazards long enough to make a birdie or better. It can be quite difficult, depending on the obstacle, but good golfers should be able to make adjustments.
It's uncertain what other courses EA may introduce, but don't be surprised if you see areas based on familiar brands the company owns. This includes a possible course for Battlefield: Hardline and maybe even Star Wars: Battlefront. Could you imagine having to time your golf swing while an AT-AT stomps around? Again, it's not confirmed, but considering EA’s 2015 release calendar, it's a definite possibility.
Of course, other aspects of the game should remain completely intact. You'll be able to participate in tournaments with others and unlock new content, including professional PGA Tour players and accessories. The multiplayer mode should allow for multiple players to take their swings at once, in an effort to stay competitive during a round (no more having to wait for your turn, whew), and other mini-games should be included as well, from range shoot-outs to putting contests.
Thankfully we don’t have to wait long for EA Sports PGA Tour, since EA announced a planned summer release. We’ll have more on this promising sports title in the months ahead.