Stick with Pong.
It’s been a disappointing generation of console gaming for fans of the sport of Tennis. While FIFA and Madden and NBA continue to push out yearly releases to deliver simulations of their respective sports that get increasingly better with each year (for the most part), fans of Tennis haven’t had anything to sink their teeth into since the likes of Virtua Tennis 4 and Top Spin 4 came out close to a decade ago. It goes without saying, then, that a lot of people were expecting good – if not great – things from Breakpoint Studio’s Tennis World Tour. Sadly enough, the game doesn’t match up to those expectations- it doesn’t even come close.
"A lot of people were expecting good – if not great – things from Breakpoint Studio’s Tennis World Tour. Sadly enough, the game doesn’t match up to those expectations- it doesn’t even come close."
Tennis World Tour is an unfinished and unpolished game that, in its current state, is bland and uninteresting, and severely lacking in content. Worst of all, some of the content it is lacking is stuff that, as per the game’s pre-release marketing, was going to be very much present in the final product, which means that its absence is not only disappointing, it is, flat-out a deception of prospective consumers. I’m speaking, of course, of the game’s online component, which the game was supposed to launch with, but is conspicuously missing from the current product. Also missing are doubles matches, something you would ordinarily expect even the most basic Tennis simulation games to have.
Both these modes are, according to the developers, going to be added to the game at a later date via free updates, but their current absence in the game is a serious issue. Not just because consumers are being expected to purchase a clearly unfinished game at full price, but also because, simply enough, there’s just not enough content in the game itself. As it stands right now, Tennis World Tour lets you play exhibition matches and tournaments, tutorial modes – both of which are hardly something you can play for hours on end – and a Career mode.
The Career mode was, admittedly, decent enough to hold my attention for at least a few handful of hours. It sees players creating their own player (the character creation, by the way, has extremely limited options), and then playing through matches and tournaments to rise through the ranks, starting off as a rookie and eventually becoming a proper pro player. There’s also some light management involved, with players being tasked with keeping an eye on their individual stats and their growth, as well as making sure that your player receives adequate training and rest periods in between tournaments. It’s nothing special, not especially deep, but it is, at the very least, passably enjoyable.
"Tennis World Tour is an unfinished and unpolished game that, in its current state, is bland and uninteresting, and severely lacking in content."
The Career mode, too, however, will hardly hold your attention for too long, and that’s because the very fundamentals of the game, which is the actual act of playing Tennis on the court, are lacking in a lot of ways. Hit detection, for starters, is poor and arbitrary. Shots that you should be able to connect with simply fly by you, while conversely, many shots that are clearly out of your range somehow magically connect with your racket. This leads to moments that break immersion and pull you out of the experience, and you can never quite be sure if you should be relying on your judgement and skill as a player, when the game itself makes these poor and laughably bad decisions by itself on so many occasions.
Tennis World Tour also misreads your shot input with frustrating frequency, which leads to even more immersion breaking moments. You might be gearing up to unleash a powerful slice to win a set, only for the game to automatically and inexplicably decide that what you really meant to do was hit a weak lob shot. It is because of the game’s inability to even produce actual , authentic simulation of the sport properly that even the Career mode – which otherwise might have been an interesting experience for many players – feels like an unattractive option, let alone exhibition matches.
In sport simulation games, solid and responsive mechanics are obviously one of the most fundamental things for a game to get right, but almost equally as important is the presentation, which is yet another area Tennis World Tour falls short in. Commentary is limited to what seems like only a handful of lines that are repeated over and over again in a dreary and thoroughly uninterested manner. Crowds are static and barely ever make any noise, so matches lack excitement and atmosphere. And then there are the visuals, which are so far behind the current standards for what would even be passable, they almost look like an early-PS3 era game. Character models look bland and lifeless, the stadiums and courts are lacking in detail, and while the animations are decent enough, there is hardly any variation across different players.
"In sport simulation games, solid and responsive mechanics are obviously one of the most fundamental things for a game to get right, but almost equally as important is the presentation, which is yet another area Tennis World Tour falls short in. "
Licenses-wise, Tennis World Tour is similarly disappointing. It lacks licenses for any stadiums or tournaments, which is something enthusiastic fans of the sport will definitely find disappointing, though I understand that it’s not something everyone will care too deeply about. The roster of players lacks some pretty big names, including the likes of Nadal, Djokovic, and Williams, while the fact that there are only five female Tennis players in the entire game is also a disappointment. Put together, all these aspects make for a game that hardly feels authentic in the way you would expect and want a proper Tennis simulation game to feel. Even if you’re someone who doesn’t care much for authenticity and simply wants an enjoyable experience, Tennis World Tour is still a disappointment, with shoddy and unpolished mechanics, and a surprising lack of content.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.
Career mode can be fun for a couple of hours.
Poor mechanics; Severely lacking in content at launch; Bad visuals that look like they belong in a 10 year old game; Disappointing presentation and production qualities; Disappointing roster; Lacking in licenses.
Tennis World Tour is a shockingly disappointing game.