PGA European Tour (Genesis) review
"A challenging game that Golf fans will enjoy"
Electronic Arts continues its best selling golf franchise with the third installment in the PGA series. Yes this game did precede PGA Tour Golf III and is kind of really a PGA Tour Golf 2.5 featuring five European exclusive courses and also includes a few new modes but otherwise it plays almost identically to PGA Tour Golf II.
I really enjoy golf games, even these older ones, and started playing through European Tour and it still feels like EA may still have been a little too rigid with this game; a problem that plagued this series early entries. As a whole it still holds up well and is fun to spend time with. Spending time is the key here though as this isn't a pick up and play game. Sure the mechanics are not that hard to learn but the game takes practice to get good at far more so than some of the later golf games of the era and isn't recommended for someone who's only looking to get their feet wet or play a casual golf game.
As I started playing the game more and more I really started improving and now I can even win many tournaments which feels really good. My favorite mode is probably the skins match and I don't know quite why but it's probably because it doesn't take as long to sit through. There are five courses this time around which adds some needed variety compared to the first two installments which only had three each and it really helped keep my interest this time around.
Unfortunately many of the shortcomings and flaws that were in the first two games rear their ugly head here too. My biggest complaint is the lack of music. There are a few short tunes in the menus and at the intros to each hole but otherwise the game is devoid of everything but ambient background noise. While it's all very accurate to the real thing it just started to add to the monotony of the game. I understand that some gamers want as accurate of a game as possible but an option to turn music on or off would've been a big improvement. The other problems I found here again are with some of the ball physics just not behaving the way they should. To start, the wind is really sporadic and constantly changes direction and almost always seemed to be around 15 mph and almost always seemed to change directions even after each stroke on the same hole. The ball would also randomly hook or slice really hard when I was only a hair off on my aim. Sometimes it would go right into the wind and end up out of bounds with the most minimal error that I knew wouldn't affect it that much in real life. This wouldn't happen that often but when it did it really threw a good game off and also costed me a few games.
None of these problems are major and are far from game breakers but they are still niggling nonetheless. Aside from that the game is really competent and is really engaging and I had a hard time putting it down many times when I started getting good at it. The game still features the same drop down menu style of the first two games which is kind of cool as well. It also saves your game at so you don't have to play it for extended periods either which I really liked as there's many times I only had time to play two or three holes and the save allowed for that.
PGA European Tour probably wasn't very groundbreaking for its time since its improvements weren't groundbreaking over part II and at times feels dated and bit tedious to play in this day and age but it's still a really solid golf game and one of the better ones on the Genesis and thanks to the added courses and variety I definitely had a lot more fun with this than part II. That being said I still couldn't recommend this game for casual players as it still has a bit of a learning curve to overcome. If you're a big sports game fan or big into golf games than this game will treat you well.
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