Title: PGA TOUR 2K13
Developer: HB Studios
Platforms: Steam, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5 (reviewed on), PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: October 14, 2022
PGA TOUR 2K23 is upon us, marking the fifth installment in the longtime series formally known as The Golf Club. What was once known as a golf game with a focus on amateur play soon became a PGA TOUR-branded game in a few years. Eventually, the once-independent HB Studios teamed up with 2K to help publish PGA TOUR 2K21.
Now, PGA TOUR 2K23 is here, featuring Tiger Woods in the game and on its cover after the 15-time major champion agreed to a deal with 2K and HB. The game features several other tour pros aside from Woods such as Rickie Fowler, Tony Finau, and Collin Morikawa.
This also is the first game in the series to include LPGA Tour pros. Major champions Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko, and Brooke Henderson are the current LPGA superstars included in the game. And yes, you can tee it up with any of these pros in the game which is something you couldn’t do in 2K21.
Topgolf is the newest mode for the game this year while modes such MyCAREER, MyPLAYER (Builder), and the Course Designer return with new features. And of course, the training mode is back so you can polish those stick-swinging skills.
Gameplay is both familiar but different at the same time. It has a nice balance and that is where we will officially begin this review. Gameplay is important for any game but especially sports games like PGA TOUR 2K23.
So, as mentioned, the gameplay is both recognizable and new at the same time. You still have your classic swing meter from 2K21 while you also have another control scheme that is also old school but is new to the series and that would be the 3-Click system.
With the 3-Click, you need to hold down the X button (if you’re on PlayStation) and you’ll see a couple of thin bars that move around the circle like clock hands. You need to get one at the top of the circle and one at the bottom to achieve the perfect swing.
It’s a nice change of pace from the Swing Stick and one that will be familiar to longtime golf gamers. The Swing Stick itself remains essentially the same but it does feel much more satisfying than before when hitting shots from tee to green.
As with essentially all sports games, PGA TOUR 2K23 does offer several difficulty levels. There’s an option for any kind of golfer whether you’re new to golf games or a hardcore player who’s been teeing it up for years.
The difference between the difficulty levels of 2K23 compared to 2K21 is how better balanced things are. If you’re playing on Amateur or lower, for example, things are going to be much easier to handle on the course, allowing you to have some fun without much frustration. The timing window for shots is much bigger and simpler to hit and you can enjoy the luxury of the Putt Preview feature.
Meanwhile, going with Pro or higher will present a uniquely tasty challenge for the long time virtual golfers. You’ll need to be extra accurate with your shots as well as your putts. In particular, hitting those splash shots out of the bunker will provide an extra challenge so make sure to bring a pale and a shovel in case you get trapped. It makes things all the more satisfying when you hit a beautiful shot out of the sand.
The animations are new and improved as well, making each round feel more enjoyable from a visual standpoint. This also makes things look twice as realistic as well. The guys at HB Studios re-did the animations from scratch to accomplish this.
What’s a sports game without a career mode, right? Well, PGA TOUR 2K23 brings back its MyCAREER mode which has been a staple in the NBA 2K series for many years now. MyCAREER brings some familiar features back from 2K21 while also presenting several new cool things as well. One big downer about MyCAREER I’ll say is that you do need to be connected online in order to play which, for a single-player experience is unfortunate.
As for features, there’s a new archetype system that’s available for your MyPLAYER. You can choose what kind of golfer you want to be. More of a heavy hitter off the tee? Then Powerhouse is your archetype. Maybe you want to be a master of putting with the flatstick? Then Greensman is your style.
The good thing is that you can switch up your archetype at any time during your career. You can then alter your attributes by using certain clubs and balls. So essentially, you can do a little mixing and matching between your archetype and the equipment you use to build the ultimate golfer in PGA TOUR 2K23.
It’s a good way to showcase your style of play. Yes, it would be fun without archetypes as well but at the same time, it’s nice to be able to give your golfer a bit of flair when it comes to your play on the golf course. There’s another new feature called Skills.
Skills, when active, give you boosts on the course when you complete certain goals in PGA TOUR 2K23. For example, if you get two FIR (Fairways in Regulation) in a row, you’ll get a boost for your driving ability while missing a couple in a row deactivates it. You need Skill Points to unlock each of these skills.
MyCAREER consists of a PGA Tour schedule that features both fictional and real courses (more on courses in the next section). One of the neat things is that you can swap out courses for unofficial tournaments. This is a great way to get a fresh new experience with several events while mixing that with authentic PGA Tour tournaments.
You’ll also be able to earn sponsorships through your play. A cool thing about this is that you can actually lose these sponsors as well if you play poorly. So this adds a bit of pressure when you’re playing on the Korn Ferry or PGA Tours. Don’t worry, though as you can earn these sponsors back by playing well in tourneys.
Each sponsor will offer you certain things. For example; Titleist’s main offerings are clubs and balls while Nike offers mostly apparel. From there, your play will determine your overall standing with that brand. Win tournaments and get some finishes in the top 25 or higher and you’ll keep the brands happy.
Speaking of gear, there are several brands available in the game in the Pro Shop. These include Taylormade, Callaway, Nike, Jordan, Puma, Addidas, and Malbon among others. There will be more brands available later on.
Rivals also return as well, which gives you the opportunity to outplay them on the course during a tournament. If you do so, you’ll net rewards that are related to that golfer. If you defeat Rickie Fowler, for example, you’ll get his Puma “P” hat and his driver, snatching them away from him.
There’s a tier system with the Rivals, with different groups in each tier. Eventually, you’ll be able to take on Tiger Woods to get his driver and his iconic Scotty Cameron putter. The nice new rewards make the Rivals system more intriguing this time around.
Oh, and one last thing about your MyPLAYER real quick; you can change your caddie as well. Yup, that’s right; if there’s a caddie you feel is as cool as you then choose them and have them rocking a bib with your name on it during tournaments.
OK, so let’s talk about the golf courses in PGA TOUR 2K23. There are 20 licensed courses with most of them returning from 2K21. Some of the new tracks include Wilmington Country Club, St. George’s Golf & Country Club, and The Renaissance Club. Iconic courses like Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Torrey Pines will be added at a later date.
Seeing the courses in 60fps is breathtaking. The way each track feels more lively is great. Things like vegetation pop out with grass, trees, and plants looking more realistic than before. Also, hazards truly feel like hazards.
If you’re in heavy rough, make sure to club up multiple times. And in the sand; ditto. Make sure to club up at last once when you make your splash shot. If you feel like you might struggle in these situations then don’t worry; playing at a lower difficulty level will make things a bit easier.
The course designer also returns and is as nice as ever in PGA TOUR 2K23 with a much smoother interface for starters. Plenty of familiarities are there while adding some new things such as the Spline tool that allows you to create bunkers, walls, fences, etc by sort tracing or drawing the shape of the thing you’re trying to create. Trees and plants were also remade from the ground up visually.
So along with the licensed courses, the talented PGA TOUR 2K community will undoubtedly come through again to design several courses going forward (I already played a few of them). It’s always good seeing this feature return and adds more replay value as it always has.
And finally, we come to online play. Many of the same modes from 2K21 return such as Head to Head (9-holes), Quick Match (3-holes), Wagers, High Rollers, and Divot Derby. One thing that was pretty rough about the previous game was the loading times but this time it’s much faster when playing online and everywhere else as well.
Societies also return as well so if you’re new to the series and want to be part of an in-game community, then Societies is the place to be. Just go and look for one and join or request to join and then participate in events that are scheduled. Nothing much changed from 2K21 when it comes to Societies.
Another way to play online is through the new Topgolf mode. Here, you can battle it out with three other players to see who reigns supreme on the range. It plays just like Topgolf in the real world and each player gets 10 balls to achieve the best score. It’s a fun mode but let’s hope they add a nighttime setting as well.
Overall, PGA TOUR 2K23 is an upgrade from 2K21 from a gameplay standpoint. Hitting those perfect shots and sinking those winning putts feels sweeter than ever. The sounds of golf and new animations are pure and add to the immersion of the experience. All in all, it’s probably one of the smoothest playing golf games of ever.
PGA TOUR 2K23 (PlayStation 5) Score: 8.5/10
PGA TOUR 2K23 doesn’t hit you with a shipload of content, but with some of the best gameplay ever in a golf game along with returning features like MyCAREER, Societies, Quick Match, and the course designer as well as the addition of Topgolf and the new MyPLAYER Archetype/Skill system, there’s plenty of replay value at the virtual links.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.