Back in 2018 long suffering tennis fans were finally given the opportunity to embark on a new ace-hitting career with the arrival of a couple of new tennis titles – Tennis World Tour and AO International Tennis. It had been a long wait too, with nothing since the brilliant Top Spin series ever coming close to replicating the on-court action.
And whilst one of those games went on to deliver a more than acceptable experience, the other, that of Tennis World Tour, failed miserably. In fact, it was a pretty dire affair all round, with ball lag, inaccurate shots and a serious lack of gameplay options bringing the entire experience down. Throw in player faces that were nothing like what we expect from a current gen game, and some of the worst sports audio I’ve ever heard, and it’s easy to see how it failed.
But now the Tennis World Tour series is back, with a fresh new team behind it and the power of NACON and Big Ant Studios helping push development along. We recently had the opportunity to sit in on one of those new-fangled virtual press presentations that have taken over the world in recent months, and on the face of it, Tennis World Tour 2 looks set to deliver an altogether more accomplished experience than its predecessor.
Sold as a realistic tennis game with a focus on dynamic gameplay to ensure things are faithful to the source sport, Tennis World Tour has been overhauled massively, with improvements made to every little detail.
It will release in September on Xbox One, PS4 and PC, with a Nintendo Switch edition rolling out a little later in October, with a host of new improvements and technical upgrades which should see it being able to serve with the best of them, firing off aces at will.
A brand spanking new in-house game engine will be the key to this, with the power that it delivers ensuring that there is an overall better feel to the entire experience. This will also ensure that animations of player characters can be improved and built on whilst a deliverance of online stability will finally mean that Tennis World Tour fans across the globe can compete for honours.
In turn, and as you would probably expect to hear from a series that stumbled onto court first time around, there are also many, many, new gameplay additions – with there now being an emphasis on timing of shots, a new serve system that is now much more complex, and the introduction of both stamina and responsiveness levels in each player. And just for an added bit of fun, the brilliant Hawk-Eye system that has revolutionised the real-world game is in place should the need call for it.
Honestly, after the massive disappointment of the original game, it’s great to see that NACON and Big Ant have put their focus on fixing what went wrong the first time around.
As with any tennis title, the main appeal will be in the feature set and playing options. It is here where Tennis World Tour 2 will come complete with a full career mode, tournament options, exhibition matches, and online opportunities. The latter of these will be available in either single or doubles form, although it’s disappointing to hear that doubles will not mean four players from four different locations hitting the court and slugging it out from the baseline together, instead limited to two consoles and two players on each. Thankfully there will be the usual quick match or ranked opportunities within.
Full ATP tournaments are promised, as are a host of different court types and arenas. It’s the surface variety that is most exciting here with clay, hard, grass, wood and carpet courts all coming with their own distinct characteristics. Think you’re the king of clay? Great, but you’ll also need to show those skills on grass should you wish to become the ultimate Tennis World Tour 2 champion.
With the new Tie Break Tens quick-fire gameplay format also in place, the future is bright for what NACON and Big Ant have in mind – and we’re just hoping that they’ve spent a suitable amount of time ensuring that all 38 professional players that are found in the roster hold up. Include some “likenesses” that were found previously and, well, the teams behind it will already be on to a loser. Visuals may not be everything, but they sure as damn it help.
There is much to be excited about in terms of Tennis World Tour 2 on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC, with card drops and the inclusion of in-game cash both powering a player boost system, letting you work magic with your character’s endurance, power, precision and agility stats. How this plays out will be divulged in our full review of the game, but it’s certainly an exciting addition to have.
We’ll be sure to drop you that review of Tennis World Tour 2 on Xbox One as and when that September release arrives, but for now huge thanks must go out to NACON and Big Ant Studios for delivering us their plans for Tennis World Tour 2.