If you are a Golf Fan and new to Golfing simulation the PGA Tour 2K23 will be a welcomed addition to your gaming collection. However, if you already own the PGA Tour 2K21 you may be a bit let down after spending $60.00 for a few additional updates.
Disclaimer: This is my first Golf Simulator since my EA Sports days and eagerly awaiting the next EA release coming in the spring of 2023.
The base golf game starts you off with training you on how to swing, chip, and putt, plus how to shape your shots to get around obstacles it does a fairly good job of getting you going but once you finish the basic training you are left to your own devices to figure other aspects of the game out. There is a help system but it does little to explain "fittings" or how to apply them. Overall the game leaves you wondering how to improve your character through the many choices of grips, clubs, shafts, and balls. Since most will COST you $$ money it makes sense for HB Games to leave you confused in hopes you spend more experimenting.
The golf grind or the money grind you make your choices. You start out with a basic shirt shoes and a set of clubs - everything else is either earned through the Golf Grind or you purchase the items with REAL $$. It makes little difference on which version of the game you buy - you need to golf grind or pull out the wallet.
It is somewhat easy to grind through the golf games to earn XP and VC - VC is Virtual Currency to buy clubs, apparel, etc. but it is a slow grind yet worth it when you are starting out since you need to play in order to get better and playing is a fun part of the game - until it is not. At some point, you have the skills but still lack the VC to buy better gear - your option is unfolding your wallet or continuing the golf grind.
Starting up the game: On the first start, your system will need to connect to Ireland for some reason. then you will be presented with SEVEN screens of BS advertisements that you can click through to finally see the "Continue" button. - It is like you are being forced to look at the paid advertisements after paying $60.00 or up to $120.00 - how shameful. It would be different if HB games offered the game for free and then force you through page after page of advertisements, but after paying $60.00 or more you expect to see the actual game menu without all the other BS.
Graphics: Overall the graphics are clean, crisp, and compelling with a sense of being at the golf course. Characters have finely detailed with options to change the appearance to your liking to a certain degree. The kind of "sand Box" graphics in a world limited to the golf hole you are on. The atmosphere lacks the texture and feel of dew, rain, or fog but does a good job of overcast or sunny days.
Storytelling: As you play your rounds a commentator provides play-by-play details but it lacks a robust vocabulary and often repeats the same lines over and over.
Golf Atmosphere: In golf, there is a sense of the presence of other players and your competition PGA Tour 2K23 lacks an in-depth connection that makes you feel like you are elbow to elbow with other players other than a few cut scenes with leaderboard updates there is not much of a sense of other players. I have not tried multiplayer, but have tried Ghost Players and Guest Players.
Replays: Replays are mostly hit or miss. Some of the most important replays where you hit a 50yd chip shot for a birdie do not even show the ball going in the hole.
Career Mode: PGA Tour 2K23 supports you as a "player" in the PGA Tour after you "earned" the ticket allowing you to play through the season either moving up or moving down in your rankings all the while gaining XP and VC. In PGA Tour Career mode you can pick and play against rivals with some extra XP if you beat them. Not sure what the purpose of the rival mode is since you are playing against all other players after all.
Player Tweaks: As mentioned you can change your player's behavior by choosing attributes or upgrading equipment like clubs, balls, grips, shafts, etc all of which cost VC or your real-life money in exchange for VC.
Overall: If you love golf get the standard game if you like the Tiger or Jordan BS then buy the other versions for trademarked merch that you can wear in your YouTube videos supporting those brands all the while being bent overpaying to wear the brand in-game - what a rip-off.
Would I buy it again? No. It is just a basic wash-rinse-repeat golf game that lacks a compelling reason for me to play through. Had PGA Tour 2K23 offered the game in full without Nickle and Diming then yes it would be worth the price, but not the price + pay more for the already included content. PGA Tour 2K23 is on the road to a pay-for-play game that places the developer's pockets first and foremost not the consumer's enjoyment. By the way, you are not forced to purchase anything but the game is set up for you to do so first and foremost. Me, I dislike games designed around the pay more after you purchase the game for content that is already in the game but locked behind $$.