Research advancement in polymer flooding for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) has been growing over the last decade. This growth can be tied to increased funding towards the development of superior polymers such as hydrophobically associating polymers when oil prices were high and increasing concern that “easy oil” has been exploited with the focus now on “difficult to extract” oil. The use of hydrophobically associating polymers for EOR was discussed along with its limitations. In this context, the improved rheological properties of associating polymers cannot only be linked to the molecular structures arising from different synthesis methods. Equally, external parameters similar to conditions of oil reservoirs affect the rheological properties of these polymers. As such, this review placed critical emphasis on the molecular architecture of the polymer and the synthesis route and this was linked to the observed rheological properties. In addition, the influence of some key oilfield parameters such as temperature, salinity, pH, and reservoir heterogeneity on the rheological behavior of hydrophobically associating polymers were reviewed. In this respect, the various findings garnered in understanding the correlation between polymer rheological properties and oilfield parameters were critically reviewed. For associating polymers, an understanding of the molecular architecture (and hence the synthesis method) is crucial for its successful design. However, this must be theoretically linked to the preferred EOR application requirements (based on oilfield parameters).