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Tennis World Tour 2 Review: Double Fault?

/ Sep 30th, 2020 No Comments

Tennis World Tour 2 review

Tennis World Tour 2 is a game that feels unnecessarily necessary. Tennis is a sadly underrepresented sport in gaming, but the original Tennis World Tour — released in 2018 — was so poorly received that it seemed like the franchise would be doomed from the outset. Instead, publisher Nacon decided to give the license another shot, this time putting it in the hands of AO Tennis 2 developer Big Ant Studios.

Related: AO Tennis 2 Review: Break Point

Despite some obvious faults, AO Tennis 2 was a surprisingly solid tennis game in a field with no competition. Unfortunately, Big Ant’s effort with Tennis World Tour 2 isn’t as good — it’s not all bad either; it is just overwhelmingly average. Everything you’d expect from a tennis sim is here, but no single aspect of it stands out. Even the most hardcore tennis enthusiasts will find it difficult to stay engaged.

Character models are underwhelming and animations are wonky and repetitive. Tools for creating characters are minimal and customization options lack personality. Textures and lighting are overly simple. Surely, Tennis World Tour 2 is not pushing the limits of current generation consoles.

On the court, gameplay is solid, but the caveat is that it is difficult not only to master the controls, but also to understand how they work in the first place. Controls work on a complicated system based on timing and balance, with players having to hold down the shot button and time their release perfectly in order to maintain power and accuracy. It sounds like it would work on the surface, but it doesn’t feel intuitive in practice and the inconsistent animations don’t help. Timing is unforgiving and mapping controls for movement and aiming causes attempts to place the ball along the lines to sail out of bounds far too often.

Career mode has some fun features, but it lacks the depth and nuances associated with modern sports games. The off-court activity is mostly done through menus. You can choose new coaches or agents, but they are faceless characters who only provide specific stat boosts. Your character will start with extremely low abilities, making it difficult to compete in tournaments and exhibition matches. I gave up trying to aim my shots and started to hit the ball straight at my opponent in hopes that the A.I.-controlled player would make an unforced mistake (which often was the case). With little reward to improve and no storyline to unravel, it’s hard to justify playing through the career mode.

The most interesting concept in Tennis World Tour 2 is the use of Skill Cards, which provide one-time boosts that impact skills such as endurance, power and precision. Players are given a large set of Skill Cards to start, and can purchase additional cards with in-game currency. Opponents also have Skill Cards at their disposal, which can give the game a bit of an RPG feel. However, cards don’t provide enough of a boost to give less skilled players an advantage, making them useless in the early stages of Career Mode.

Tennis World Tour 2 does the bare minimum that a game should do, which is more than you can say for its predecessor. It makes a valiant effort to incorporate the deeper aspects and skills of the sport, but it comes up short, and because of this, it is too difficult to stick with for casual players. Tennis World Tour 2 may be the best game in its franchise, but it’s not the best tennis game from its developer to come out this year.

A code for Tennis World Tour 2 was provided by the publisher for purposes of this review.

Ryan Bloom

Ryan Bloom

Chief Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ryan Bloom is a writer and avid gamer from Orange County. He received a B.A. in Communications with a minor in American Studies from California State University, Fullerton in 2010. Follow him on Twitter @BloomsTweets.
Ryan Bloom
Ryan Bloom

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