Game review: Rory McIlroy PGA Tour - no Tiger, and not much else left

New edition of an old favourite has lost most of its players, customisation, courses and fun

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 July, 2015, 6:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 July, 2015, 6:01am

It's all there in the title. For the past 15 or so years, it's been Tiger Woods PGA Tour. Whether it's his prowess on the green or in the bedroom, even those with only a passing interest in the sport recognise the game's greatest athlete. But Rory McIlroy? He's a successful player without doubt, but is he well known enough to take over from Tiger?

And that wouldn't matter if there was anything of merit in this new game. But there isn't. Developer EA absurdly employs the if-it-ain't-broke Fifa formula to strip back some of the more exciting gameplay aspects, while needlessly bogging the game down in odd particulars.

It all starts from the player roster: there are just a quarter of the licensed names compared with the previous release. Fret not, let's create our own golfer. But what's this? Nearly all customisation has been removed, and only a paltry few set templates are offered.

Never mind, off to the tee. Or what little is left of it, with only half the number of courses on offer and a career mode that shambles from one tournament to the next. It wouldn't be so bad if the cut scenes actually conveyed the excitement and thrills of winning instead of a 1980s-style text-based message system to feed us information.

But through some strange parallel reality, all your friends have purchased Rory McIlroy as well and you can play online. What luck. Let's build a community through Country Club … wait, they removed that, too. How about a quick few rounds of Battle Golf or Bingo Bango Bongo? Also gone. It's as if EA squeezed out whatever amusements were left.

Well, except the much-publicised, all spanking new addition, Night Club Challenge. What fun there is to be had guiding a ball through lit-up checkpoints. What excitement, using archaic boosts and aiming for that all-important three stars. If only we could somehow watch these empty thrills again and again. But we can't, because they even removed replays.

The gameplay decisions behind Rory McIlroy PGA Tour border on the bizarre. EA had a real chance to revitalise its cornerstone golf franchise - to keep it more in line with Sony's incredibly popular, late-night friendly Everybody's Golf series. Instead, Rory McIlroy is needlessly stripped back and strangely undercooked.

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour  EA Games

For this story and more, see The Review, published with the Sunday Morning Post, on July 23