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EA Sports PGA Tour’s best mode pulled me back into my golfing game obsession

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It’s been a decade since Augusta National Golf Course appeared in a video game, and eight years since we last saw St. Andrews on a console. Just going back to these places will be enough for most fans interested. EA Sports PGA Tour — especially after Jon Rahm’s win at The Masters Tournament this past weekend. But the game, now on PlayStation 5, Windows PC and Xbox Series X, plays a little differently. So they have to factor in some time before they’re even familiar with their buffet of 30 “bucket list” destinations.

Best way to do this? Honestly, it’s Challenge Mode. Golf for video games doesn’t really need to be reduced to trivial challenges – it Is Bite-sized challenges, 18 of them making one round. but challenge mode quickly became EA Sports pga tourKey’s signature feature for me, at least in the first week, was how it familiarized me with the tasks these courses would expect later in my (much deeper) career mode. I wasn’t prepared to appreciate or enjoy this live-service vehicle as much as I did, but absent a practice feature or tutorial in the video game, I was completely dependent on, as they say, the way of things. Getting back to swing.

Challenges take players to one of the game’s 30 courses and give them three tasks to complete, some mimicking performances from real life – for example, Lexi Thompson at the 2019 LPGA Championship or The Masters that same year. Francesco Molinari in recovery after recovery. Each challenge rewards three stars, those stars award XP and prize points, and those two collectively progress your created golfer or give them new skills and cosmetics. (While the latter is unlocked through a major in-game store menu, it’s important to note that nothing is equivalent to real money to influence a created golfer’s game or improve their game.) Can be bought. That’s all for cosmetics.)

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You do not have to complete all three obligations of the challenge in a single playthrough; That’s what I meant about challenges supporting repeated attempts. If the challenge is, let’s say, making greens-in-regulation on all four holes (i.e., landing on the green in par minus two strokes) and making birdies on two of them, you might want to focus on chipping the green in one playthrough. can concentrate. and getting birdie in the second.

That doesn’t mean the challenges aren’t demanding. It took me a few hours to clean up Thursday and Friday’s moments from this year’s Masters. Some of it was my unfamiliarity with this game’s controls after eight years of previous EA Sports golf games. But some of it was also because the surfaces and ball lies are more rough to life and therefore more difficult to play – which should be the point of a simulation, after all.

The No. 15 green at Augusta National – sorry to keep mentioning this course, but I have a feeling a lot of people are playing it now – is a notorious real-life challenge for Tour pros. It’s definitely in range for a chance at an eagle. In previous games, I never had to worry about traversing this green or long recoveries in a water hazard. Now I do, which makes the decision to lay on 15, and take a short approach to the green, much more worthwhile. Now I know a little more about what was going through Chip Beck’s mind at the 1993 Masters.

EA Sports PGA Tour As always is lavishly illustrated; This is by far the strongest feature of a golf simulation that will take a lot of playing and replaying to truly understand. The best way to view the 30 courses on disc is, again, in the bite-sized play offered by Challenges mode. For some courses like Pebble Beach, or Augusta, or TPC Sawgrass, I have a thing about waiting to play my first full round, unless it’s an event on the career calendar of a player I’ve created. . Of course, I want them to go into that preparation, and not embarrass themselves, so these warmups are a great way to keep that personal tradition alive while bringing a talented virtual golfer to the tee.

Jordan Spieth recovering from a greenside bunker at the EA Sports PGA Tour

Image: EA Orlando / Electronic Arts

The facilities serving that golfer are a bit uneven. While there are plenty of cosmetics and unlockables (and the promise of more) to get them out, the character creator itself is pretty harsh. Different genders and multiple ethnicities are represented, but don’t expect them to look like you, as the faces come from stock templates. This has been a long-standing weakness of EA Sports titles, especially in comparison to their contemporaries. In Career, however, the chance to play in AI pairs is a bit time-consuming, favoring a full-fat, immersive sports experience (like me). And for those really looking to sink into a long career, you can start all the way back as an amateur – including the newly created (2019) Augusta National Women’s Amateur. These are experiences I look forward to recreating over the next several dozen hours (if not 100) I can devote to the game.

For many, the selling point of EA Sports PGA Tour Video games have the ability to play these courses; It seems like a low standard, but it takes a lot of effort to render them faithfully, and the developers at EA Sports still exceeded my expectations. The broadcast presentation supporting these tours is crisp and attentive, feathering in small touches like the Sarazen Bridge walk on the No. 15 hole that is now giving me so much trouble. Returning players and new players alike should expect to spend a lot of time working on their game, though, before they can count on the likes of Pebble Beach or Whistling Straits. But it is an essential part of the challenge and appeal of golf.

EA Sports PGA Tour Launches April 7 on PlayStation 5, Windows PC and Xbox Series X. The game was reviewed on PlayStation 5 using a pre-release download code provided by Electronic Arts. Vox Media is an affiliated partnership. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find Additional information about Play Gamez’s ethics policy here,

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