Sunday 25 September 2016

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour review: Rory fails to make the cut

* Rory McIlroy PGA Tour (XOne/PS4); rating: 5/10; age 3+
* Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut (PS4/XOne/PS3/PC); rating: 8.5/10; age 7+

Published 04/08/2015 | 12:16

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour: the visual resemblance to the real players spans the gamut from uncanny to completely off
Rory McIlroy PGA Tour: the visual resemblance to the real players spans the gamut from uncanny to completely off

FOR decades, EA’s rallying cry for sports fans has screamed “It’s in the game!” It glibly sought to reassure that every aspect of a sport was included in the EA version.

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That was never entirely true but rarely has the boast rang so hollow as for Rory McIlroy’s ascension to the cover-star role held by Tiger Woods since 1999. EA obviously embarked on a major rewrite after dropping Tiger two years ago but that clearly didn’t grant enough time to bring Rory’s debut up to par with PGA Tour 14.

Rather than wait another year to bolster the content, EA opted for a bare-bones release that pales besides its predecessors. Instead of 20 courses, you can play only 12 – Augusta being the most egregious omission. And not all of those 12 are real-world locations.

The extensive roster of golfers has been slashed by at least half (even Tiger doesn’t make the cut – how vindictive) and the ladies of the LPGA have been dropped entirely.

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour: Not many golfers, not many courses
Rory McIlroy PGA Tour: Not many golfers, not many courses

The variety of modes has been pared to a minimum, losing stalwarts such as skins and four-balls. Even career mode feels lifeless and constricting. Where once Tiger’s extensive character creator enabled to fashion golfers from your wildest imagination, this new edition smacks of an afterthought with scant potential. Even the online multiplayer match-ups have been dumbed down to basic head-to-heads or straight tournaments.

By way of, ahem, compensation, a fresh mode named Night Club Challenge pokes a little fun at golf’s staid image with some novel goals. The short stabs of fun – such as hitting targets or smashing glass – play more like a smartphone game and soon lose their appeal.

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour: branded sportswear is your reward for the hard slog
Rory McIlroy PGA Tour: branded sportswear is your reward for the hard slog

EA’s cynical decision is hardly unique when games transition between console generations. We know that next year’s game will be considerably better.

For now you’re confronted with a golf sim that plays reasonably well – bringing back the triple-click swing option was a good call, for instance. It manages to look half-decent most of the time, but for some graphic pop-in. Rory himself appears in an introductory video explaining his motivation but there are times when his avatar in-game looks nothing like him.

Yes, it’s the thin end of the wedge. Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is not the finished article. It’s in the game? Not this year.

 

Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut

(PS4/XOne/PS3/PC); rating: 8.5/10; age 7+

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ORIGINALLY a student project inspired by classic puzzler Portal, Q.U.B.E abandons you in a sterile spaceship with only a pair of magic gloves to assist your escape from room to room. The gloves can manipulate blocks from afar, building platforms, activating spring-loaded lifts or rotating the rooms’ geometry.

This Director’s Cut adds considerable atmosphere via sparse radio chatter from two mysterious people who may or may not be trying to help you.

But it’s Q.U.B.E.’s puzzles that prove most memorable. They challenge your spatial thinking and frazzle your brain as they introduce lasers, magnets and balls to complicate your Kafka-esque nightmare.

The entertaining but short experience runs to about three hours but encourages replay with time trials to sharpen your wits.

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