EA Sports PGA Tour release date and gameplay revealed, complete with 30 tournaments

It just seems like the biggest feature in EA Sports PGA TourAnd Which launches on March 24, is one that fans have already played and enjoyed for a decade. Augusta National Golf Course and All four men’s majors be in; Even things like boost drives with “big moment” camera changes are back.

But focusing solely on the return of the Masters tournament, or the visual fidelity with which the Augusta National and other courses are presented, would sell what I saw in a presentation last week. Namely, the more RPG-like career mode than before, offering more ways to customize and shape your golfer’s play style, looks like it’s going to swallow up as many of my evenings as the old Tiger Woods games did.

EA Sports PGA Tour It feels like a game where, even though there are more real-life professionals on the roster than ever before, the developers understand that the users themselves are the real stars of the show.

“Even when we had Panther, over 97% of people played as an inventive player,” producer Ben Ramseur told Polygon in an interview after the presentation. “So we know that is the primary driver. However, we have done a lot to build these relationships with these professionals, and we want to tell their stories in the game.”

Granted, I couldn’t pull much out of a single glance from the detailed golfer progression screen that was displayed. But players will get 10 different skills (each with 10 ranks) as they gain skill points with each level. Lead producer David Baker even noted that at advanced levels, players will be able to unlock packs of traits that will make their golfer’s abilities resemble the playing styles of the biggest PGA and LPGA stars.

Advertising image of 2023 EA Sports PGA Tour producer Ben Ramsour

EA Sports PGA Tour Producer Ben Ramsour on Course Fit: “It’s an additional agency between you and your character on the course – and that’s the primary driver behind that information.”
Image: Electronic Arts

All of this leans towards new gameplay that continues to offer extensive shot shaping features and differentiates them even further with 20 types of shots, some of which are unlocked in later stages of character progression. Looks like these types of shots might be labeled, too.

“I think the important thing is experimentation,” said Ramseur, noting that players can once again create multiple avatars and develop them individually. He also said, “We want users to see, Hey, Tony Finau matches well with Augusta, but is terrible for Harbor Town. “

This was featured by a nifty little menu I saw called Course Fit, which stole the show as much as something new that would connect me more to the golf I made. The course, shown on the course selection screen, gives players a proportional view of their skills against what the course expects of the winning player. Five attributes—power, drive, approach, short game, and shooting—all have rails; The closer a player’s bar is to the field, the more they can take advantage of this property.

It is not an enhancement feature; It’s just the visual information that will give me a sense of how bad my thoughts are on the second shot of, say, one of the holes of East Lake Golf Club, or how important it is to stick to that approach at Pebble Beach, where there’s a challenging putting game waiting for me.

Publicity photo of David Baker, lead producer for the EA Sports PGA Tour, dated 2023

Lead Producer David Baker said the new Challenges mode is for “bite-sized gameplay moments and to replicate the Pro experience between career events.”
Image: Electronic Arts

“As for me, I want to win the big leagues,” Ramsour said. “So in the base player that I built, I’m leveling up the shot types to win the four majors. But in the end, I’m going to want to win every tournament on the hardest mode. So I know I’m going to have to be less of a thrower and more accurate to win in Harbor Town.”

Although players may have several golfers, most stick to one for Career. They will likely see all of the variations Ramseur mentioned in Challenges, which is a separate mode, but one that has a complementary effect on the job.

The challenges, to me, are like the kind of mini-moments available in Madden Ultimate Team’s single-player offering. In fact, they will be live service content, driven by real-world events, and like MUT, they will use different players in addition to the created pro. Challenges are designed to play like practices between rounds, Baker said, meaning they will be shorter trials that focus on a specific skill or moment.

The rewards will be skill points for use in the progression of the created player, as well as clubs and cosmetic items that they can equip. (Importantly, these clubs, equipment, and clothing do not affect player attributes, as they might have in the past.) Golfers can expect a season-based approach here that other online sports video games will adopt.

All of these modes, players, and courses – 30 at launch, more than ever before for the standard edition of an EA Sports golf title – mean little if the core gameplay isn’t tight, informative, and understandable. While last week’s event wasn’t hands-on, the developers focused on the swing mechanism and the 20 shot types that support it in a one-hole show at No. 13 in Augusta.

Best example: “Stinger,” which is a less safe tee shot. Play designer Craig Penner used stinging to rope in 266 yards with Jordan Spieth still cradling his famous left-handed No. 13 – he just used the downhill pass to get the distance. In the end, Spieth sacrificed about 10 yards for a safer shot. This is something I often try to replicate Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14but the lowest path the game offered didn’t come close to what I saw last week.

Casual headshot of Craig Penner, EA Sports PGA Tour gameplay designer

Gameplay designer Craig Penner said he was “going straight behind the pins” on a course with favorable greens. At TPC Sawgrass, he said, “I had to change the way I play to go to the middle of the green. You can’t chase the pin. You have to actually play that course.”
Image: Electronic Arts

Ramseur, who plays 2022 Masters winner Scotty Scheffler, used a power-assisted powerplant — impressive and successful, but still a dangerous shot that is method blind, and can chop treetops if not executed perfectly. But then again, Scheffler has been off the tee longer than Spieth has been, so both golfers have been playing write and taking, or avoiding, appropriate risks (especially as highlighted by Course Fit).

I was also struck by the bits of feedback we heard from the game during the course of the demonstration. For once, it seemed like the broadcast team was actually watching what was being played. Lead commentator Rich Lerner returns from 2015 Rory McIlroy PGA TourAnd, in a pinner shot with Spieth, I overheard him discuss using track width and pitch to get the desired result.

Returning broadcast partner Frank Nobilo (and new session correspondents Notah Begay III and Iona Stephen) also introduced contextually appropriate color, which was a huge improvement over previous games, which mostly offered general repetition.

“We have technology that provides a detailed analysis of how stadiums are broken,” Baker said in the presentation last week. “There is also a system that links together the field reporter’s analysis of the current situation, and also highlights landmarks from our slate of impressive courses, to tell historical stories from those specific places on the course.”

EA Sports – a trademark of Electronic Arts PGA Tour It kicks off on March 24 – two weeks before the 2023 Masters – at PlayStation 5, Windows PC and Xbox Series X.. It will be available in a standard edition as well as a digital deluxe edition, which offers three days early access, as well as some content that includes an XP boost and virtual currency for in-game Pro Shop items.

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