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EA Sports
EA Tiburon
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
July 14, 2015

Tiger’s out, Rory’s in. I don’t mind the switch at all and in fact, I welcome it. It’s absurd to put the 246th-ranked player in the world on the cover of a video game, regardless of history and obvious iconic stature. Rory McIlroy is the current world #1 (even if upstart Jordan Spieth is now nipping at his heels) and he deserves to have a golf game, plain and simple. Unfortunately, McIlroy’s debut effort falls shy of expectations as we’re missing too many basic game modes and the Career Mode is sadly uninspired. The mechanics are also hit or miss; such inconsistency doesn’t have any place in a golf simulator. Of course, I’m making it sound as if this is the golfer’s fault and it isn’t. Sorry, Rory.

I have a bad feeling that the majority of this review will sound like nitpicking but in this case, I can’t help it. Let’s start with the visuals: Clearly, there’s enhanced fidelity and overall detail thanks to more powerful hardware. Course construction is excellent and I love the authentic atmosphere, bolstered by great ambient effects and solid animations. But it just doesn’t impress. I think too many of the textures are flat and unappealing and for whatever reason, this game just feels…drab and boring. When I picture pristine professional golf courses, I envision lush green grass, sparkling sunshine, and even attractive white sand in the bunkers. This game just lacks that vivacity. And there’s some pop-in here and there, too.

The audio is better due mostly to great commentary and the inclusion of McIlroy himself. The soundtrack is fine (if typically subdued) and the background effects are realistically implemented, and I appreciate the hush and roar of the crowd in the proper situations. Once again, though, with the exception of spot-on commentary that isn’t annoying or especially repetitive, the presentation just seems flat. I know golf isn’t the most emotional sport in the world but too many people at EA were drinking decaf during the creation of this game. It needs a little punch, a little added gusto, some extra element that makes it stand out in a crowd. As it stands, the game is technically accomplished but unremarkable.

The game begins with a promising prologue. You start with a brief and effective training regiment that teaches you the basics; this is also where you choose from one of three control options. There’s the arcade-style power-boosting analog option with after-touch spin control (super fun and exactly the opposite of realistic), the classic “three-click” setup (reminiscent of Hot Shots Golf ), and the most authentic method that relies entirely on your skill and timing with the analog stick. All the standard assists are turned off as well and unless you’re a golf sim expert, I’d recommend leaving this one alone for a while. It’s a better idea to get a feel for the game and work your way into this ultra-realistic option.