ReviewsReview: Tennis World Tour 2

Review: Tennis World Tour 2

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When you purchase a sports title these days, you know exactly what you are going to get. In-depth single player modes allow gamers to forget the online slog and concentrate on making the star player or team of their dreams. Online play connects friends and strangers from across the globe, as they attempt to slog it out to be named champion for that moment. I used to be an avid sports game fan, purchasing most franchises year in, year out. Yet, one sport failed to make that list, and that was Tennis.

Tennis World Tour 2 by developers Big Ant Studios and published by Bigben Interactive and Nacon is a classic modern sports endeavour with a few twists. It’s the sequel to the warmly received Tennis World Tour. Can this latest addition kick on from these humble foundations and challenge its nearest rival AO Tennis?

It provides you with everything you’d expect.

Like many sports titles, there is an expectation that we will be treated to hours of single player gameplay, and fun with our friends. TWT 2 has the usual setup; Exhibition matches, custom and set tournaments, career mode, online, training with challenges, and finally an in game store. Except for your career, you are treated to an array of sporting stars to choose between. The roster of characters can be improved with additional DLC if you so wish, but it isn’t necessary if you are happy with the selection of today’s players. Each match can be altered to suit your needs, with different venues and courts available to select.

I tried my hand at the online mode, which I found to be smooth, easy to find a match, and a simple process from start to finish. What put me off, however, was how unbalanced the match making was. I’m not particularly great at this game, and to get good would take hours of practise, but every match I took part in, I had my ass handed to me. It was a baptism of fire, and left me wondering if I was doing something wrong, or if I needed to simply “Get Guuuuddddd!” This failure at being the online champion left me spending my time in the reasonably in-depth career mode.

Smashing a winner from the baseline never gets old!

A thorough career mode keeps you playing.

Like the other modes, I wasn’t left reeling in surprise at any of the items on offer once I started my career. You create your player, select their sex, appearance, basic skills, and name. You are teased with selecting new equipment, but as you have no money, this bit is a moot point. Once your shining new athlete is ready to rock, you are free to choose how you wish to progress. Tournaments can be entered, some have entry requirements, some don’t. Exhibitions can be played, training and challenges completed, or you can take a rest day to recover from fatigue. 

As you can see, the core concept of the game is as expected, and frankly I assumed little else. XP and money are earned by playing in matches, and dependent on success it will multiply considerably. You can level your player up once you have enough XP, and this increases set skills depending on which branch of the tree you focus on. Purchasing new equipment vastly increases your abilities, and the lack of real life purchasing power was a welcome change. TWT 2 cannot be accused of creating a buy to win culture, as everything has to be earned on the court.

The difficulty is real!

I’ve already alluded to my lack of ability with this game, yet that isn’t entirely a reflection on my aptitude for the sport. The standard difficulty is really tough. Your opponents have cat like reflexes, and laser guided sights. It’s absolutely brutal, and I unashamedly had to notch down the levels to win. You may not incur such a tough time, but I’d say the casual gamer will find this more of a challenge than expected.

To ease some of these problems, the developers kindly provided skill cards. These magical documents help to level the playing field. You can increase; power, spin, accuracy, speed, stamina and more. It’s a great idea in theory, but unfortunately you don’t always know what your opponent will choose, so the even keel is more like a molehill ridden plain.

Serving is a fine art, plenty of practice is required to be an “ACE” at this skill!

Sweaty players and grunting like a wildebeest.

As the years have gone by, sports titles have come on leaps and bounds with their realism and player modelling. This would be a fair statement to make in TWT 2, except for a couple of minor points. There were odd moments where my young opponent would turn to the camera, and her once smooth, youthful face appeared as old and haggard as a grape that has long been lost under your sofa. Also, it unnerved me that every player was sweaty no matter how long they’d been on court. A strange shimmering glow surrounded them like a greasy hue. It’s not game breaking, but in a modern title I’d expect more attention to detail.

Other than the small issues, it presents itself well. The courts are of high quality, and the variety of backdrops were impressive. The player animation was smooth and realistic enough. The standard camera forms a bird’s-eye perspective, allowing for easy observation of all the action. It was strange that the players never changed ends in career games. You permanently played with your back to the camera, this reduced realism, and was an odd choice.

Grunt, grunt, grunt!

The collective noun for a group of wildebeest is a “Confusion”, and strangely, that’s very apt, as it describes my feelings towards the audio. We all know that tennis players make an almighty racket when playing; they scream and shout like a demented banshee after its prey. But this is no excuse for the amount of unnecessary grunting that takes place in TWT 2. I can only liken it to a “Confusion” of wildebeest running rampant. It was an unhelpful distraction and reduced realism. The irony is that you can choose the grunting level for your pro, I chose occasionally, but she still huffed like a steam train in every match. 

Enough about that, and if you put it to one side, you have a decent audio with a mixture of realistic sound effects and high-tempo songs. I enjoyed the thump of the ball on the racket, and the squeak of shoes on the court. Each surface has a specific noise that represented the change in material, and this was a nice touch.

Grass courts are hard work. Slower balls require more accuracy.

Easy to pick up, but hard to master.

The controls would be a nightmare if it wasn’t for the excellent tutorial. It explains the fundamentals and offers challenges that help to master them. You are free to jump in and out of this section as much as you wish, but the only way to improve is to practice. It’s a painful Catch 22. You lose because you are rubbish, and you are rubbish because you keep losing. Directing the balls was hit and miss, as was the timing of the shots. It lacks finesse and leaves you frustrated nearly every game. It was as if you were playing with one hand tied behind your back.

This being said, if you can master the controls and become the champion of the court, then you’ll keep playing. The choice of tournaments, events, and equipment is vast. The thrill of coming up against the big named players is fantastic, and beating them inspires you to keep going. If you look at the achievements, and online play, then you have got a lot of game for your money.

TWT 2 is good, but nothing more than I expected!

There were no high expectations when starting this, and it didn’t wow or blow me away. It delivered exactly what I thought it would; a fun, challenging and updated tennis experience. For lovers of the sport and genre, you will appreciate this much more than I ever will. I’m not willing to invest the time required to excel at this, but I still get to enjoy a well made title with some minor annoyances. Do I recommend you play this? I do, but to get the most out of it you must love tennis. If you want to own a copy for yourself, then it can be purchased here! It’s time to pick up that racket, create your player and become a ‘GOAT’.

SUMMARY

A challenging sports title that will make you reduce the playing difficulty. Fun against friends, but brutal when online against strangers. Choose any of your tennis heroes and win tournaments, or make the next star and blossom in your own career.

+ Plenty of content.
+ Good audio on the whole.
+ A great tutorial.
+ No buy to win model.
+ Plenty of replay value.
- Too much grunting.
- Players are always sweaty.
- The game difficulty is slightly off.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: Daniel@moviesgamesandtech.com

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A challenging sports title that will make you reduce the playing difficulty. Fun against friends, but brutal when online against strangers. Choose any of your tennis heroes and win tournaments, or make the next star and blossom in your own career.<br/> <br/> + Plenty of content.<br/> + Good audio on the whole.<br/> + A great tutorial.<br/> + No buy to win model.<br/> + Plenty of replay value. <br/> - Too much grunting.<br/> - Players are always sweaty.<br/> - The game difficulty is slightly off.<br/> <br/> (Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)Review: Tennis World Tour 2