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PGA Tour 97 Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 57%
PGA Tour 97
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  • Review Score:

  • C+
Those who had been keeping up with the Defunct Games Golf Club remember the very high score I gave PGA Tour Golf 3 for the Genesis. EA was definitely on their "A" game at that point with all their sports games but experienced growing pains when moving to the fifth generation. Their effort with PGA Tour 97 on the Saturn was very apparent, but they had a ways to go before they'd get back to their comfort zone.

PGA Tour 97 did a lot right. While it was disappointing that this entry reduced the number of courses on the disc to two, the two that made it in were great choices. Spyglass Hill and TPC Sawgrass are both challenging courses and well-rendered in the game. The visuals hold up very well for a twenty-year-old game with smooth textures and great camera work. There were some cheats used like using video for the players and picture-in-picture views to cover-up the lack of camera control. However, the swing animations look very smooth, and the picture-in-picture views combined with quick cuts make for some well-done camera work. Even though the sound effects are a bit exaggerated, they still work as well.

PGA Tour 97 (Saturn)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Even the gameplay held up well after all this time. The three-click swing mechanics are a bit looser than before, but that's a plus point. Having that margin of error makes the game easier to get into for new players. There are plenty of PGA pros to choose from. The custom characters that can be created are rather limited for looks, but being able to choose clubs is an asset to any golf game. The number of modes are also decent. Aside from the expected tournament, stroke, match, and practice modes, this entry added in the skins mode, a popular take on match play where money is bet on who wins each hole.

All the good stuff I mentioned is nearly ruined by two detrimental flaws. The first is that the putting game screwed up big time. The fact that no caddie recommendation is given before a putt makes the game entirely reliant on the player reading the grid on the green. That wouldn't be so bad if the player could actually move the camera at that point. The fact that the camera is locked at an awkward angle to keep the hole in view makes reading the green much harder than it should've been. However, the biggest problem that crippled the game is the pacing. The game is painfully slow due to load times after every shot. While nowhere near as bad as Links on the Sega CD (the picture-in-picture views helped a lot on that), the constant pauses make just playing nine holes feel like a marathon.

I wanted to give PGA Tour 97 a recommendation. The game worked so well on many points. Unfortunately, due to the painfully slow pace, it would take a very patient player to appreciate what the game did right. As the last golf game EA put on a Sega console, the series doesn't go out with a bang or a whimper but rather a shrug.
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