More bogeys than birdies.
Rory McIlroy PGA Tour for the PlayStation 4 takes about one step forward and two steps back when compared to previous entries in the franchise. It's a game that looks and plays well but it's also a game that feels light on content. This entire package is then tied together with one of the most horrendous menu interfaces in recent memory. To put is simply: The game feels unfinished.

The game looks amazing.No load times between holes.The actual act of golfing in the game feels great.The commentary is top notch.Fantasy courses!
I am a very big fan of the fantasy courses that EA decided to include in the game. The obvious standout here is the Par-3 course based off of the infamous Paracel Storm map from Battlefield 4The "Night Club Challenge" mode is outstanding.Plenty of gear customization options.A gameplay style for everyone.Easily go head-to-head against friends online or locally.Online tournaments are fun, varied, and rewarding.
Another major online component are the official tournaments. These come in a couple of flavors that range from daily tournaments to longer, weekly tournaments. Each tournament setup includes Amateur and Pro events in either the Arcade, Classic, or Tour control schemes. From what I saw, the Pro tournaments had larger payouts for the best competitors. Since variety is the spice of life, these tournaments will often have unique modifiers set that range from disabling the aiming arch to playing in very windy conditions.

Oddly, these tournaments were more of a solo affair than one where you could compete against others in a live environment. You go through a tournament round by yourself as you try to earn the lowest score possible for the day or the week. Sure, the crowd cheers but the feeling of competition is absent when you cannot see the competition playing alongside you. Of course, this also means that you do not have to wait on others in order to finish your round. This decision obviously has its pros and cons. By the slightest of margins, I oddly prefer the fact that I can play a round in a tournament by myself because it allows me to play at my own pace.

Distracting visual pop-in.Lacking and laggy character creator.
The character creator feels like a bit of a joke. The options are incredibly limited. You are only able to choose from a handful of preset faces, hairstyles, body types, and heights. There is no way to fully customize a character's face as you might have liked. There are no sliders. There is no way to scan your face into the game. This is about a barebones character creator as you can possibly get.

On top of this, the entire process is incredibly slow. Sure, there are only a handful of predetermined styles in each category but they took far too long to load in when selecting a new option. I would select a new face and it took multiple seconds before the new model actually loaded in. To say this was frustrating would be putting it mildly. You can clearly see this issue in the video below.

A lack of courses.Lack of weather.Sluggish interface.Odd default gameplay choices.Small hiccups during online play.
While the small number of online modes are decent enough receive passing marks, there was at least one little hiccup I encountered when playing a head-to-head match. I'm not sure what causes it, but every so often, you will see the avatars for other players kind of warping around when taking your shot. It's a slight bit distracting but it's certainly not game breaking. I am going to assume it was just an issue with the client side connection or a small issue as a result of launch week.
Where is the rest of the review? Well, a good portion of this game centers on online gameplay. This includes either playing a round with some friends or participating in online tournaments. While some of the functionality was just fine during the pre-release window, it just doesn't feel right to offer a "full" review without waiting for the online servers to be populated by the public.

What is coming down the line for this game? I'm not actually sure. I've indirectly heard some murmurings that EA is not going to make this an annual release. That is to say, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour will have to last a couple of years, at the very least. I also heard that there will be some "free" DLC offered down the line. Does that mean free courses? I sure hope so. Or is this free content more simple like more ball designs? Maybe. Will we see updates that improve the responsiveness of menus or the shot preview? Hopefully.

If EA wants this game to succeed, it needs to have some tremendous post-launch support. They need to iron out the sluggish UI, add in a deeper character creator, add in little touches like weather, and they could go the generous extra mile by offering up some free bonus courses. It's difficult to recommend this game to someone on the fence based solely on what the game may one day end up offering. It's honestly a shame because at its core, there's some really solid and really enjoyable gameplay here. Just iron out those edges, EA, and you'll have a winner on your hands.

Final update: With the online tested post launch, I can safely say that Rory McIlroy PGA Tour has the basis for being a great game. The core golfing mechanics remain solid and the online functionality was overall a very smooth experience. Though again, many areas of the game just feel incomplete or lacking. I simply cannot suggest fans go out and spend $60 on this based only on the belief that it will one day be amazing. As I said before, if EA can fix the interface, flesh out their character creator, and add in some amazing free courses (fingers crossed), then this could be a very solid title. As it stands right now, not so much.

Related Information
Title: Rory McIlroy PGA Tour
Platforms: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Full Disclosure: Rory McIlroy PGA Tour was provided to Total Gaming Network for review purposes from EA.