Tennis games have virtually been around as far back as we can remember. Considering that the very first popular video game on earth centered around a dot being hit back and forth, it’s fair to say that Tennis has enjoyed many successful games spanning many generations. We now finally have our first tennis game for this generation, but unfortunately, it serves up a double fault time and again.
Advantage – all other tennis games
Tennis World Tour is a very amateur game of tennis, and that’s even before you’ve played a single game. It comes with a bare-bones approach from the very outset. As soon as you bump into the menu screen it draws a picture of what you’re about to experience. The minimalist approach goes for a clean look, but instead, the ‘Coming Soon’ words displayed in the online mode tile stands out like a sore thumb – whatever it is hasn’t been completed yet.
Players have three options available to them – career, exhibition and Tennis School. I would say that a visit to the Tennis School tab would be a good idea, but in career mode, you’ll end up having so much opportunity to train that it’s just about pointless spending a single minute in that mode. Career mode has you creating a male or female tennis player and changing the basic likenesses of each player before making your way up the tennis ranks in your effort to become the number one player in the world. It’s a basic setup that, when compared to everything else on offer, actually works quite well. You can’t just jump head first into your first official match as you’ll have to work on levelling up your player. Therefore it’s important to do some of the basic training (such as improving your volleys, serves and agility) among other exercises. Once you’ve completed any event you’ll move on to the next month. It’s up to you to choose where you’ll improve yourself next or whether you’ll take a much-deserved break to increase those health stats. When you do finally enter your first tournament or exhibition match it’s where the good times come to an end.
Foot faults aplenty
The presentation is dull. Everything from player animation through to graphical quality and player control is a right mess. Seeing as this game comes from previous Top Spin developers the playing style has remained the same. Press and hold the appropriate button on the controller to pull off a shot with more strength, or tap it for a basic return. Sadly it’s easier said than done as it’s just all so exceptionally unresponsive. The number of times my player simply refused to hit a shot (where I tapped the button several times) had me gritting my teeth with frustration. The characters also control exceptionally sloppy and it’s something that really bothers me. Return to a game of Virtua Tennis on the Dreamcast close to two decades ago and it’s much more fun – how do you mess this up in 2018? It gets worse. I had several moments of lag or frames freezing being the cause of missing a return and resulting in me losing a point. Before each serve your character will load an animation that takes several seconds – no, you can’t skip it. There’s just nothing that feels smooth at all. Then there’s the commentary.
It’s quite easily the worst commentary I have ever heard in any sports game. You’ll only hear a bit of commentary between points, and what is there is a cringe-worthy affair. One-liners such as ‘He’s got incredible power’, ‘Wow, that one had some pepper on it’ or ‘He’s playing unconscious’ will have you cringing at first, and later you’ll turn the commentary volume right down, which is something you can thankfully do. This brings me to the spectators in the game – you might hear one or two shouting your name of being excited about a point, but you never hear the crowd gaining any form of excitement. It’s as if you’re playing in a stadium filled with about 10 people, though the hordes of spectators visually tell you something else. The game just lacks any form of substance and feels… dead. Should you have nerves of steel to keep playing you’ll earn XP to level up and earn skill cards that can be used in your game to help your player in tough situations.
A wild card
These skill cards vary between stamina, power, control and agility upgrades. For example, the ‘powerful’ card will increase your overall power stats by 5 or the ‘decisive defence’ card will give you a 5% precision bonus, but have you drop your power by 5% in return. These skills will activate automatically when in a match when you require the particular upgrade. Players will also spend time in upgrading their defence, attack and serve and volley stats by applying points to each category, which systematically makes your player you’ve created a little better than before. To gain that extra advantage you can employ a coach and agent who in turn can also be upgraded for improved rewards. The career, as I mentioned earlier, has some great ideas, it’s just that the actual game of tennis isn’t there to back it up.
World Tour Tennis has an interesting career mode wrapped up in a terrible game of tennis.
World Tour Tennis has an interesting career mode wrapped up in a terrible game of tennis. It tries to lure players in with Roger Federer being a playable figure in the game, but it’s nowhere near the talent that the man is. It comes without licensed tournaments or courts and is an unfinished mess that should be penalised for racket abuse. No amount of love for the sport is going to save this unforced error.