Title: Tennis World Tour 2
Developer: Big Ant Studio
Genre: Sports Sim
Release Date: September 24, 2020
Version Tested: Xbox One
There was a time when it would have been truly surprising to hear that Tennis World Tour 2 was coming at all. After all, the first Tennis World Tour game was released to almost unanimous negative reception.
Instead of giving up and going away, publisher Nacon decided to give it another go. They did change developers. The company turned to Big Ant Studio.
Big Ant is the team behind the surprisingly successful AO Tennis 2. While that game, which was released in January isn’t a perfect video game, it’s easily the best tennis sim game on the market.
Everything was set up to bring another truly great sim to the market. So what went wrong?
Did Big Ant catch lightning in a bottle? Did they benefit from such a crappy title in comparison? Whatever happened, the game they put out on Thursday is just not good. It’s better than its predecessor, but not by much.
Worse than that, the game isn’t fun. That’s a death knell when it comes to a video game. This is a title I felt like I had to slog through in order to get a feel, in order to do the review, but it was, at no point, fun.
Tennis World Tour 2 Looks Like a Last-Gen Title
Graphically, Tennis World Tour 2 doesn’t just look like a bad current-gen game. It looks like one that would be better suited on the Xbox 360. The game’s textures are simple, players look rather animatronic, and the combination of color and lighting can be hard to look at for long periods of time. Shadows indicating the ball’s trajectory are often hard to see, while brighter locations make the ball all but disappear. This is especially the case at the worst possible time.
In the training segment of the game, there are parts of the court you’re supposed to hit with various shots. It’s bad enough that the game never tells you which button will elicit which shot, despite it being a tutorial. The worst part is that the areas you are supposed to hit are white and the ball comes from those areas. In other words, you don’t see the ball until it is almost on you. Making it that much harder to see and hit the target. One would hope an update at some point will fix that issue.
Of course, the screen in the training segment isn’t going to bring down the whole game. The fact that people in the game often look hurriedly put together with often-repetitive character animations takes further shine off the visuals.
Mechanics Leave Much to Be Desired in Tennis World Tour 2
Mechanically, the game’s core gameplay is confusing and hard to understand, mainly because of some of the lack of visibility. Tennis World Tour 2’s new serving system is unnecessarily complicated and not well explained, even in Tennis School; the press-and-hold power approach, alongside throwing balance and directional placement, never feels intuitive.
In fact, the feedback that you get on shots “too early” or “too late” don’t seem to go along with the meter at all. Once again, there is also the complete lack of explanation of which button leads to which shot as well. That’s might be the most egregious part of the whole thing.
When you go into a tournament and want to pull off a special shot, there isn’t really a way to know how to do that. Even in tennis school, Tennis World Tour 2 tells you which buttons to press, but not what kind of shot it will lead to. You’ll just get “some kind” of shot.
Likewise, it took me quite a bit of trial and error before I realized how to sprint from one end of the court to another. Certainly, a game that offers a degree of difficulty is a good thing. But it should still explain how things work.
There is also the issue that nothing looks quite right. This isn’t necessarily a graphics issue. The backswing and running just doesn’t look fluid or real enough for a game at the very end of the current generation of consoles.
The end of this generation of consoles is quite disappointing when it comes to sports sims. There simply aren’t enough good tennis video games out there that aren’t cartoonish and silly. Tennis World Tour 2 had a chance to fill a void. Had It managed to do that, it would have won over fans. Instead, the title seems hastily built and put together. Maybe the developers and publishers wanted to make sure it hit store shelves before the new generation began. However, Tennis World Tour 2 still joins NBA 2K21 and Madden 21 as big disappointments in sports games for 2020.
- Getting to play as tennis stars is neat.
- The career mode is full of features
- Graphics seems to be from the last generation of consoles.
- Gameplay simply isn't smooth enough
- Controls are complex and sometimes completely unexplained.