Tennis World Tour 2: Complete Edition
Developer: Big ant Studios
Release date: 25th March 2021
Approximate size: 13 GB
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Reviewed on: Xbox Series X
Screenshots: Xbox Series X
Tennis World Tour 2 arrives on Xbox Series X|S. It’s been a long time since the peak of Tennis games with titles like Topspin and Virtua Tennis and recent years have seen both AO Tennis and its sequel join Tennis World Tour (and its sequel) as the main contenders for the best tennis game.
Thankfully it’s not the most difficult task because both franchises have hit the net more often than not, but with Tennis World Tour 2 now arriving on the next-generation consoles with various improvements it’s time for the second service, unlike some of publisher Nacon’s recent games, there’s more than the jump to 4K and 60fps to look at and rather than requiring a second purchase (like Monster Truck Championship and Hunting Simulator 2) Tennis WT2 allows those who purchased the “Ace Edition” (Base game plus season pass) to get a free upgrade to this next-gen release.
There’s also the inclusion of ray-tracing and enhance particle effects as well as the aforementioned 4K resolution that runs smoothly at 60 frames per second.
Launched as a complete edition this release sees the inclusion of the players and events added as DLC since the original release of Tennis World Tour 2 back in September 2020 and at release, there’s a total of 48 players, each with their own unique styles and signature moves.
It’s certainly a step in the right direction and Tennis WT2 offers a more worthwhile upgrade over the last-generation release and while some areas could still be better, the overall presentation is certainly at the high level we expect from a Series X|S title.
Tennis World Tour 2 is packed with modes, with your usual online and exhibition options alongside a pretty deep Career mode that allows stat increasing agents and training alongside a fairly varied player customisation set-up with plenty to unlock as you raise funds and experience.
The main problem with both the AO and World Tour franchises was never really the presentation, it was more the actual gameplay, and that’s an area that hasn’t changed an awful lot, I barely played AO Tennis 2 because it felt sluggish and unresponsive, while World Tour 2 certainly feels more responsive to play, it’s sadly got its own issues that many fans will find offputting.
Starting off shots are mostly split between the 4 face buttons, a standard shot on A, with a slice and topspin on X and B and the usual lob up on the Y button, these controls feel familiar, but it’s how they’re implemented that I found problematic, tapping the button close to the point of contact will give a relatively safe shot, holding it beforehand will decrease your agility but provide a more powerful shot with greater accuracy.
Sadly, the timing on these needs to be that exact you’re likely to miss-hit far more than you get good or perfect, and the brutality is, these shots will nearly always go wide or long, losing you the point. Lowering the difficulty seems to improve this window a little, but when low-ranked opponents are rarely setting a foot wrong, it makes that early gameplay a little infuriating.
As you start to master the timing things do ease up a little, but you’re rarely going to get long, intense rallies as even with the safe “tap” your likely to find a couple of decent shots will win a point as the movement issues that you’ll find plague your best points, fortunately also affect the opponents.
These movement issues were my biggest gripe with the game, as I’d sometimes find my character sprinting across the line giving me plenty of time to return the ball, while other times, they’d be stood motionless as the ball bounced past them at arm’s length. It’s almost as though the game isn’t registering the ball in proximity to the player at times and while it’s nice to see a big cross-court shot whizz past your opponent, it’s sadly all too familiar and feels like a fault of the game and not the actual opponent.
When the ball is returned it always feels like black and white, it’s either deadly accurate, or just out of bounds, and the rate of both feels unnatural, it’s not unusual to see the best players in the game hitting double figures on unforced errors, and it’s just as likely you’ll find someone ranked dozens, maybe hundreds of positions below you, hitting near-perfect returns time and time again.
It’s the uncertainty of the actual movement and hit success rate, which really stops Tennis World Tour from being great because if it was down to presentation alone it would certainly be far easier to recommend.
Graphically it looks good, while not quite up to the standards of EA or 2K sports titles, player likenesses are very good and the inclusion of signature moves and their more unique styles is a step in the right direction, there’s a wide range of locations and courts as well as temperature and playing at night or day, all of which slightly change your stats.
Arenas are well detailed, the game is bright and colourful and some of the slow-motion highlights look stunning (even if camera placement sometimes feels a little random).
Audio is also high quality with players grunts and groans and the applause of fans all refreshing on the ears, there’s ambience of the stadiums and while some of the crowd noises feel a little canned, the only major issue I found was a few occasions when post-match, the crowd noise would literally stop for a second almost as though someone had switched tracks from “Crowd applause” to “Crowd applause”.
It’s hard to deny the strengths of Tennis World Tour 2, it’s easily the best looking Tennis game available and has a massive roster of 48 characters and a wide selection of locations and arenas. This does present pretty good value, but at £49.99 when AO Tennis 2 is (at the time of publishing) available for less than £20, many might prefer to save a considerable sum, for a not too different title.
Sadly the real stumbling block is the gameplay and while it’s certainly smoother than the last generation version the issues with the shot accuracy and player movement stop it from serving up an ace.