EA Sports Rory McIlroy PGA Tour Review

Lee Bradley

Ever since Tiger Woods got caught burying his sand wedge in a series of sexy girls’ bunkers, things haven’t gone well for golf’s most famous swinger. After falling down the rankings, losing endorsements and watching his missus walk out on him, EA Sports added to the misery by stripping his name from the long-running PGA Tour series.

In some regards, it was good timing. For the games if not Tiger himself. The Tiger Woods series had been stagnating anyway, dulled by the repetition of yearly releases. Taking a year out, getting Rory McIlroy in and making a fresh start was what the series needed. So that’s what EA Sports did. Perfect, right? Well no. Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is the worst EA golf game in ages.


Rory stops for a quick poo.

The core of the game works fine. Whether you choose to use the sticks or the old-school three click approach to swing, nothing here is gonna surprise you. It works just the same as it has for years and that’s fine. You can even use super sensitive, no-help Pro controls or make your own custom controls, if you’d rather. It’s all there and it all works well, almost precisely like it has for years.

What’s lacking is content. Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is bafflingly short of modes, courses and things to do. The package represents the very minimum of what you would expect from a golf game. There’s a career mode, a night club-themed challenge mode with special abilities, online play and… very little else worth mentioning. Considering this is a full-priced game, it’s very hard to defend. EA Sports games are usually bursting with content. Rory is comparatively bereft.

This lack of content is most keenly felt in the spartan amount of courses. There are eight real courses in total - taking in familiar locations like TPC Sawgrass, St Andrews and Royal Troon - as well as two fantasy courses, one of which models itself on Battlefield 4’s Paracel Storm map. That’s a total of ten courses. Ten. That’s slim pickings before you even consider that one of those missing courses is the Augusta National, home to golf’s premier tournament, The Masters.

The lack of courses has an effect on the Pro Career mode, which challenges you to start a player from scratch, earn new gear, unlock new clubs and ability buffs and, ultimately, climb the rankings to take on the big boys. The awful character creator is one thing (some of the face options don’t even look like human beings), but having to play the same courses repeatedly and not being able to compete in one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments is a disappointment.


A golf course. Yesterday.

As is so much of the rest of the game. The frame rate is unreliable, the texture pop-in is unforgivable, the commentary is incredibly limited and repetitive, the courses feel lifeless and the whole thing looks and feels like it was knocked out in a very short amount of time indeed. I struggle to believe that Rory McIlroy PGA Tour took two years to make. Meanwhile, the achievements are functional enough to guide you through the game and reward you for the big milestones.

Yet despite all this, at it’s core Rory McIlroy PGA Tour does the job. I haven’t played a realistic golf game (as opposed to Everybody’s Golf or Powerstar Golf) for a couple of years now, so I eventually got into the rhythm of PGA Tour and enjoyed climbing the rankings in Pro Career mode. The problem is that, other than marking the series’ debut on next-gen systems, there’s nothing here to set it apart. Honestly, if a minor step down in visuals doesn’t bother you, you’d be better off rummaging through a bargain bin and digging out one of the later Tiger Woods games. They had their problems too, but they felt more fleshed out as a package.

I want to like Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, but with an offering like this it’s hard to not be cynical about EA Sports’ approach. While FIFA, Madden and NHL get all the love and attention, the likes of NHL Live and PGA Tour are the unloved siblings. Maybe one day EA Sports will invest the time and money it takes to make a great golf game. It’s certainly within their capabilities. Until then we have to put up with this.

EA Sports Rory McIlroy PGA Tour

A solid golf game that suffers from a lack of courses and little in the way of imaginative modes. A step backwards from the most recent Tiger Woods games, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is not the series refresh we’d hoped for.

Form widget
55%
Audio
40%

While the course ambience is fine, the commentary will start repeating itself in your second round and get increasingly more annoying from there. It’s decent, there’s just not enough of it.

Visuals
50%

The courses feel lifeless, the frame rate occasionally chugs, the pop-in is very noticeable and the character creator can spew out people who look barely human. Poor.

Playability
70%

The same as it’s been for years, with only very minor tinkering. Golf swing systems were perfected years ago and Rory McIllroy PGA Tour sticks to the blueprint.

Delivery
50%

There’s a career mode, a challenge mode and online play here, but not a lot else worth talking about. The last Tiger Woods game had twice the amount of courses too. Sparse.

Achievements
70%

Complete this list and you’ll have seen all the modes, pulled off some great shots and triumphed in some of the biggest tournaments in the world. It’s a decent list.

Game navigation