PGA 2K23 Review
As I sit down to write this review, I think about my history with Golf. My Dad was an avid golfer, my Godfather was an avid golfer, my Great-Grandfather was a life-long golfer. Me? Well, I’ve driven the golf cart, and I do enjoy the occasional round of mini-golf or an hour at the driving range…does that count? No, I am not a golfer, being surrounded by the sport growing up I actually showed no interest in playing it, always seemed like a dull and very long way to spend a nice afternoon. However, I have enjoyed most golf video games growing up from the NES, SNES era and beyond, my experience was mostly with the arcade like experiences, so how does PGA 2K23 square up for me?
After taking a year off 2K is back again returning to the golf game, however, much has changed in the landscape of the game in the past few years. Between LIV golf coming in and taking players out of the PGA for the promise of HUGE payouts, to being unable to use stuff that was licensed previously by EA for their golf games, 2K had a challenge to make this game work, and I think they did a pretty fair job at making the best of a rough situation. Obviously, first off, they have their cover man in Tiger Woods, throw in the addition of quick play fun with some multiplayer Top Golf, finally splash in some celebrity endorsements with playable Michael Jordan and Steph Curry and you are off to the races.
The course selection is a little limited due to some of the restrictions I mentioned before however, thanks to a VERY in-depth course creator and the ability to play on other creators’ courses…. the possibilities are endless, and folks have already started painstakingly recreating famous courses. But ultimately no matter what, you will have unlimited courses to play on if you tire of what is available to you built into the game.
Where the game shines are making golf the relaxing, and frustrating game it can be in reality. The beautiful courses, soft spoken announcers (although their calls didn’t always make sense) and the polite cheers from the crowd simulate what you would experience watching golf on your TV. The unforgiving controls, while maybe frustrating so some people, are an accurate representation of playing golf in real life, just a minor mistake in a swing or timing can ruin the hole for you. But honestly the variety of control schemes they had I was able to feel pretty solid using the three-click method (as an elder gamer would). The MyCareer mode is where you would be likely to spend most of your time, with your created character working your way from the Korn Ferry circuit before landing in the PGA proper. There are tons of customization options and unlockables you can choose from. You can fully customize your character with what every clothing style you like utilizing real brands and plenty of options, same with your golf equipment of course. I stuck with the Happy Gilmore hockey stick as my putter to make the game a little more interesting, but you can fully customize every club you have with different head, shafts and grips.
There are perks and ways to enhance your character, which almost seems odd to me for a golf game, you can unlock talents in your skill tree from gaining experience, which I guess would be like “Hey if you practice your sport alot, you will get better” mentality which is fine. But there are boosts you can attach to your clubs. Every boost to them, which are acquirable after winning events. A +3 club shaft of power matched with a +2 grip of shot shaping can form an OP club, so it seems a little out of place for what tries to be an authentic experience
A couple of pain points for me personally, overall, the game is fun to play, especially with online friends. But overall, it’s a rather dull ride, from the music, the menus, etc. 2K didn’t do a whole lot to make the game of golf exciting. Also, something about the eyes of the characters makes them seem dead inside…. from an otherwise beautiful looking game.
All in all, PGA 2K23 is a great game. Very authentic in what it delivers, looks great, runs great. Just falls a little short in making it exciting. But gather up some friends and hit the links together, make your own fun. Plus…with PGA 2K23, you can drink and golf as much as you want without worrying about the drive home…. or the golf carts.