Anyone who enjoys tennis games probably has fond memories of SEGA’s Virtua Tennis. It was a game that somehow managed to take the mundaneness of the sport and turn it into something fun and competitive. Personally, I spent hours at the arcade trying to win championships and to find a place on the top of the scoreboard. Fast forward to current gen, and there hasn’t been much, if any, tennis games of late. And certainly none as good. Mario Tennis has probably been the best offering we’ve seen in years. But that wasn’t exactly simulation experience.
Tennis World Tour enters the foray promising to fill the void.
Except it doesn’t. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered an incomplete game with no doubles, no licensing, no official courts, no online play, awful cutscenes, PlayStation 2 graphics and, worst of all, hardly any good sound. This is easily the worst game I’ve played on the PlayStation 4.
From the very first moment we enter the Tennis School, the game’s tutorial mode, to learn all the basic notions of Tennis World Tour, you’ll be met with disappointment. It’s clear from the awful animation of the characters and the movement of the ball that the game is an unfinished state with minuscule features. It’s hard to imagine what possessed Breakpoint Studios, made up of the people who developed 2K’s Top Spin 4, a popular tennis game released in 2011, to release a barebones game that doesn’t even have an audience applauding between points. On top of that, the technical aspects also feel outdated and, even with famous tennis players present, like a clay-faced Roger Federer, it genuinely feels soulless.
The presentation is dull. The control system is clunky. John McEnroe’s commentary is cringe-worthy. And the game often lags and freezes up. Why would anyone pay the full AAA price for this game?
Well, on the positive side, the game is currently being updated with patches that seem to be fixing a lot of the problems. Secondly, the career mode isn’t half bad, when you look past all the previously mentioned flaws. Here, Tennis World Tour gives you a chance to create your own character and begin a journey to become a tennis great. Basically, you win matches and tournaments to increase your player’s stats. As you level up, you unlock new skills and gain currency, which in return can be used to purchase more skills and better equipment.
Beyond that, there isn’t much more to the game besides hitting the ball back and forth. X is for a flat hit, O for topspin and square is to slice the ball. Yet, even these basic mechanics have a few issues at times. Occasionally, it feels like you’re playing a game of ping-pong rather than a skilful tennis match. Despite having a sprint button, the physics feel slow, unrealistic and sluggish. Even worse, players sometimes miraculously manage to hit the ball even when it’s far out of their reach. Yes, the gameplay is unpolished.
We don’t really care that Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic are missing. All we really want is a good tennis game. Apparently, that’s too much to ask of Tennis World Tour. I’m pretty sure that there is nobody out there who is enjoying this experience right now.