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Tennis World Tour Review

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Full disclosure: I’m not a big fan of Tennis as a sport but when I received my review copy of Tennis World Tour, I first did some research about the sport, its top players and watched a dozen videos and it’s wasn’t half-bad. With a newfound excitement for long, intense rallies, I went into Tennis World Tour with high hopes and an expectation that it would be fun to play the sport on my PS4.

Unfortunately, I was met with the realization that Tennis World Tour doesn’t live up to the great moments the sport provides and fails in almost all respects as a good video game. Developed by Breakout and published by Big Ben Interactive, Tennis World Tour can be described as an amateurish, barebones experience with an identity crisis thrown into the mix.

The game has a career mode, an exhibition mode, a couch-multiplayer option and a Tennis School, where you learn both basic and advanced mechanics. I first jumped into the Tennis School to get myself acquainted with the controls and general feel of the game, which was the first time that I felt the game’s clunky control system kick in.

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However, I pushed through and tried the career mode, which is probably the game’s best feature. You can create your own character and start your career to become a tennis great, but since the game doesn’t have any licensed events, it all felt a bit pointless from the start. Even so, the career mode feels a lot like something Tennis fans would enjoy and it is well put together.

You can enter tournaments, exhibition matches, go for training to increase your player’s stats and even rest to regain some stamina. As you level up and progress with your character, you unlock new skills and gain currency to purchase items, some of which also increase your stats.

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There is a lot of customization options and abilities to choose from so you can really personalize your character to your playstyle (yes, you can even pick from a variety of groans). However, what I came to realize is that a level 30 character feels almost the same as a level 1 character. It almost feels like a Tennis RPG at times, but those RPG elements don’t do a lot to serve the purpose of a fun experience.

When you are actually on a court, be it grass, clay, or anything else, the game still feels the same, as if the courts are just atheistic and provide little to no gameplay change. All this wouldn’t be so bad if the gameplay was actually fun, but it simply isn’t, due to poor controls and clunky gameplay. You won’t see many intense rallies either…

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It felt like I lost control of my character especially after a serve, or while running forward to the net, the character just ran to the opposite side without me even pushing down sprint. Playing against AI just feels cumbersome and extremely repetitive as well, so why don’t I just play multiplayer?

The Online Play has been greyed out since the game launched almost a month ago and it just says “coming soon”. It is a big feature missing from the game, not to mention the other things missing from the game, for example, double’s play.

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One would also think that since the game released in 2018 and big, open-world titles can deliver an amazing level of detail, Tennis World Tour could deliver some great graphics and animations since the gameplay just takes place in a small court.

That’s not the case here, as the graphics look like something from previous generations of console hardware, or even worse. Animations are poor and I couldn’t distinguish between different types of strokes an opponent performs, while my own character looked almost like one I could create in The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind, but just a little bit worse.

Sometimes in a sports game, some awesome commentary saves the day, but in Tennis World Tour, that is definitely not the case. The commentary only comes through with cringe-worthy one-liners between points that left me with a sense that there wasn’t much effort put into creating the game at all.

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Even though the game is lacking in visual and audio quality, it still lags at times and freezes up, even on my PS4 Pro. To make matters worse, you can’t even skip the animation which loads before each serve, so you have to sit there and wait almost a dozen seconds before each point gets underway.

Sorry Tennis World Tour, but I won’t be asking for a second serving. The game is, without a doubt, the worst I have played in the last two years.

The Verdict

If you aren’t a massive Tennis fan, then you should stay well clear of Tennis World Tour. If you are a fan of the sport and you are itching for a good Tennis experience, then I still wouldn’t recommend Tennis World Tour. The game fails in almost every respect, from gameplay to graphics and controls.

The only thing that’s quite decent is the career mode, but even that leaves something to be desired. Another reason you might consider getting the game is to play against others online, but Tennis World Tour’s online play is “coming soon” even a month after release, and we don’t even know how well the multiplayer will work yet.

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I find it impossible to recommend Tennis World Tour to any type of gamer and with its full AAA price tag while lacking so much, you would be better off playing the Top Spin 4 if you have a previous-gen console for a MUCH better experience, even though it is seven years old.

This review was based on a review copy sent to us by Big Ben Interactive

Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 18 May 2018 | RRP: R929  

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"Sorry Tennis World Tour, but I won’t be asking for a second serving"

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