PGA Tour 2K23 early impressions: Taking advantage of new-gen consoles

2K Sports
2K Sports /

PGA Tour 2K23 was announced recently and we now know that the golf game will be released on October 14. There will be three editions of the game, each with the legendary Tiger Woods on the covers. The standard edition, Deluxe Edition, and Tiger Woods Edition make up these three.

Recently, we had a chance to check out the latest edition of the longtime golf series and my initial impressions had me feeling good about where the game was going. Right away, seeing the game on screen, it really just popped out at you.

The graphics and animations have drastically improved. This is, in big part, due to the fact that PGA Tour 2K23 will be on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. They definitely took advantage of the power of these new-gen consoles.

Golf courses in particular really benefit from this console upgrade. Courses like East Lake are much more vibrant and breathtaking than before. You’ll see how realistic the vegetation is with the motion of the trees, plants, and grass. As someone who loves golf courses, this is a welcome upgrade and I think most gamers will appreciate this as well.

PGA Tour 2K23 - PGA 2K23
PGA Tour 2K23 - PGA 2K23 /

“Our team wanted to use every drop of it (technology of the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S) to increase the resolution of all of the on-screen elements,” James Seaboyer, Studio Head and President at HB Studios said. ” For us, the main focus this year was in vegetation so there’s been a complete overhaul to vegetation and water elements as well.”

Speaking of courses, there are some new tracks in the game including Wilmington Country Club (which has hosted the BMW Championship), The Renaissance Club (Scottish Open), and St. George’s Golf and Country Club (Canadian Open). Each of these designs are quite fun to play and offers a nice variety. Some of the other courses that will be added later include legendary tracks like Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Torrey Pines.

Gameplay is very smooth and swing animations are much more realistic. Hitting shots feel more satisfying in PGA Tour 2K23 and seeing the new animations make each swing fun to marvel at as well. Along those lines, golfer facial expressions really pop out too as you see smiles during good shots and frowns during bad shots. Yes, there have been facial expressions in the past but they truly feel authentic this time around.

“Player models are completely done over from scratch; not just the pros, but for the MyPLAYER as well,” said Seaboyer. “We had to recapture all of the animations. All of the animations in-game are much more athletic and professional looking because we were able to capture off of a lot of pros and so we’re excited to build off of that.”

From its days being known as “The Golf Club” to now being PGA Tour 2K, the game as a whole has come a long way. First gaining the PGA Tour license and then signing with 2K to publish the games has helped the series reach new heights.

“It’s been an incredible journey for us started off as an indie game essentially”, HB Studios developer James said. “simulation golf has always been the core of the product and that’s always been a pillar for this franchise and we’re so grateful to the community for all of their efforts going into the course designer.”

PGA 2K23
2K Sports /

There’s a fresh new swing option available as well and it’s one that longtime golf gamers should be all too familiar with; the 3-Click format. This is an excellent option if you’re an old-school gamer or someone who’s new to golf games. It’s also fun if you simply just want to switch things up as well. It plays very smoothly and has the potential to be popular among gamers.

There are also a nice selection of Tour pros as well, with each being playable. Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Will Zalatoris, and Jon Rahm are available among others. Also, you’ll see LPGA Tour pros for the first time, featuring three of the tour’s heavy hitters in Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko, and Brooke Henderson. Oh, there’s some fellow named Eldrick “Tiger” Woods as well who also so happens to be on the cover of the game. Yeah, he’s pretty good. And then there’s that Michael Jeffrey Jordan fella who played for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA and is on two of NBA 2K23’s covers. Yup, he’s in the PGA Tour 2K23 too.

“You go with Tiger for PGA (2K23) because he’s a legend, and you go with MJ for NBA (2K23) because he’s a freaking legend,” actor and avid golf fan, Chris McDonald (known for being Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore) said. “I get it, it sells games but it also promotes the sports and that’s fantastic. And wow, who better to represent either one of those sports than those two superstars?”

Aside from all of the great players in the game, there’s also the addition of another important player in the world of professional golf; the caddie. Yes, caddies are back in golf games once again, to add some extra authenticity to the PGA Tour experience. Possibly the coolest thing about having loopers is that you can customize them, just like you can with your MyPLAYER. So you and your caddie can look fresh out on the course, as you guys coast to a championship.

The full game isn’t out yet, obviously, but those were some of the main things we had the chance to check out. So far, I’ve been impressed with it. Seeing how realistic and beautiful the courses are and how authentic the gameplay immerses you into each round and that’s the honest truth. It will be interesting to see how the full game turns out. As mentioned, PGA Tour 2K23 comes out on October 14th.