There have been many tennis games that manage to recreate the excitement of watching, and in some cases playing, in a real match. The Virtua Tennis and Top Spin franchises being chief among them. Will Tennis World Tour 2 be able to join in the ranks of these venerable games? Or will it miss its serve?
Visually, Tennis World Tour 2 has some moments where the lighting looks just right and helps present a good image. However, there are a lot of less-than-stellar graphical elements to the game which keep it from being a standout in this category. The character models are slightly-average and the overall game animations are sometimes unrealistic in presentation, lacking the smooth kinematics of actual human movement. Also, weirdly, the ball gets visually lost very easily against the background of many of the game’s courts. Adding onto the stack of Tennis World Tour 2’s problems are that the game controls are very clunky and, in many cases, unexplained. This just adds lots of frustration to actually playing the game which, of course, is the whole point. One new addition that Tennis World Tour 2 has which its predecessor did not is doubles matches. However, if you opt to play alongside a computer-controlled player, buckle up! The AI is wildly uneven with your teammate having moments of strange ineptitude and also moments of genius on the court.
Tennis World Tour 2’s career mode simply lacks nuance and is not very satisfying. There are some options like training between matches in the career mode which should be some sort of mini game event where you can actually train your player. It should be fun to see how effective your training can be depending on how well you play the training mini-game. Unfortunately, all the training is done via menu systems and button presses. Even creating your own character is rather pointless as there are not many options presented and the entire experience feels way more restrictive than it should. Overall, Tennis World Tour 2’s career mode seems somewhat tacked on because “a sports game should have one” rather than a well thought-out mode that would see the gamer take a no-name custom character from obscurity all the way to tennis glory.
The card/deck building system is out-of-place in a tennis game where the focus should be on fun and satisfying volleys between opponents and the player skill to do so, not equipping various skill/perk cards. The fun and satisfaction of the game should be the sound that the racket makes as it hits the ball across the court – the rush of returning a hard serve in just a nick of time before it hits the ground. It should not be about cards. The gameplay portion of a tennis game needs to be fast-paced and relatively easy to pick up (again – see Virtua Tennis). Unfortunately, Tennis World Tour 2 falls short of being a game I can recommend. The most weird thing about this whole debacle is that the developer and publisher are the same folks who released AO Tennis 2 back in January of this very year – a far more fun and capable tennis game which I actually can recommend picking up.