If you’re a tennis fan and want to play the sport virtually, your options are fairly limited. Does Tennis World Tour 2 serve an ace?
Tennis World Tour 2 (mostly) does what you would expect from a competent tennis video game. However, it does not stand out like Virtua Tennis or Top Spin did a generation ago. It is simply adequate and not much more.
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To be fair, the game has all of the basics. You get an Exhibition Mode, Career Mode, tournaments, online multiplayer, and tutorials. But the game is hampered with several different annoyances that I will touch on later in this review. But first, let’s take a closer look at some of what the game offers.
I recommend taking the time to go through all of the tutorials. The serving in particular is not very intuitive in this game without a decent explanation. Even with the tutorial it still took me a little while to get used to the serving mechanic.
Overall, the tutorials are serviceable although not exactly exciting. I would have preferred to see some more creative mini-games instead of an old-fashioned text-based tutorial. It gets the job done, but they could have done a lot more to make things interesting.
The game’s Career Mode is probably where most people will spend most of their time outside of the Exhibition Mode. You’ll create a player and work your way through a career as a tennis pro, balancing the need to train with competitions across the globe.
Honestly, I spent more time playing single exhibition matches as Nadal and Federer rather than grind through the Career Mode. I’d rather play as a superstar than as a rookie working their way up. But if you enjoy this type of mode in other sports games, it is more than adequate.
In addition to the aforementioned modes, Tennis World Tour 2 also has offline tournaments and online multiplayer. For the Tournament Mode, you can play Tie Break Tens or create your own custom rules.
If you haven’t heard of it, Tie Break Tens is a relatively new format where the first player to ten points wins the match. There are no games or sets. Other than that, the same rules of singles tennis matches apply.
This is a fun way to get a quick match in without having the constant back-and-forth that you’d find in a traditional match of tennis that can stretch for hours. Every point matters, adding extra pressure to capitalize and score.
The mechanics need fine-tuning
So what’s wrong with Tennis World Tour 2? The central issue that I have with the game is that its gameplay mechanics are flawed and at times dysfunctional. If a game gets in your way from accomplishing your goal, that’s a major issue.
Tennis World Tour 2 somehow manages to both hold your hand too much and suffer from a lack of finesse. The game does not have a natural-feeling, free-flowing player movement. There is a certain amount of movement assistance, which actually makes controlling the player more difficult.
As for the dysfunction, I use that word because there are times when you press a button to hit the ball and the game simply ignores the command. I don’t know if the game considers my player too far away from the ball or too late in my swing, but it does not even attempt a swing. It happens quite a bit, and it’s really annoying.
Another related issue is the animations. The players often move robotically. Sometimes the players look like they slide across the court without moving their feet. Combined with the often unresponsive controls and the underwhelming graphics, the gameplay experience takes a serious hit.
Tennis World Tour 2 is roughly on par with AO Tennis 2. On the plus side, it has a wider selection of pros, including both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. On the downside, the controls are often unresponsive (a serious no-no) and the animations are robotic.
Overall, I expect more from a tennis game than what’s included in Tennis World Tour 2. It should have tight, smooth controls and an extensive roster of professional tennis players. Most importantly, it should be an enjoyable experience. You should be hooked to your television. This game just makes me want to put down the controller and hit the tennis court instead.
Game Freaks 365 received a free review copy.