Breakpoint brings tennis back to the masses with a brand-new tennis sim on all major platforms. Find out if it’s worth the price in our Tennis World Tour Review!
|Release Date||May 22, 2018 (PS4/XBO) June 12, 2018 (NS/PC)|
*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by BigBen Interactive for review purposes*
It’s been a very long time since we’ve seen a new tennis game from a major publisher. Top Spin 4 was likely the last one that I can remember and it was released in 2011. That’s why it was so exciting to hear that Breakpoint was developing a brand-new tennis game across all platforms. What made this even better is that Breakpoint is comprised of many former Top Spin developers. This gave me some hope that we’d see a great tennis simulator with Tennis World Tour.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. To put it quite simply, Tennis World Tour is an incomplete game that probably shouldn’t have been released in the state that it has. There is no online functionality as of this writing, there’s simply a greyed-out option in the menu telling you it’s coming soon. Considering that the summary of the game on various digital-distribution channels touts online multiplayer, this is a pretty big omission. The game is also missing any form of doubles tennis, but that’s more understandable considering they mentioned this long before release. That will apparently be coming in a free update this Summer.
Included in the game, you have the Tennis Academy, Career Mode, and Exhibition mode currently. Tennis Academy teaches you the ropes going into deal about everything from moving your character, to serving, to the different types of shots in the game. It’s a must-play before you start Career Mode, in my opinion. There are advanced moves that you won’t know how to do without it. The game mechanics are pretty good for the most part. You’re able to do flat shots, spins, lobs and slices with different face buttons and control the power with how long you press the button down. You can control the direction of your shot with the direction of your analog stick. At least, that’s the case most of the time. there are cases where the AI takes over and performs the safe shot rather than what you wanted. You can turn auto-volley and auto inside-out off if you so prefer, but that’s the extent of the things you can change in the options menu.
The thing that really infuriated me about this game is how when I would go for a shot and my character would just run at the ball aimlessly without swinging his racket. It felt unresponsive to me and I quickly realize that the character just won’t try if you’re going to miss the ball anyways. There’s very little feedback to your shots at all. It’s something that could have been alleviated by a vibration function. I also noticed that on some replays, it the ball doesn’t even make clear contact with your racket, it just gets returned even though you didn’t actually hit it. Serving is a pretty good part of the game (even though you can’t skip the animation before serving). I felt very in control of how I was serving the ball and where I was putting it. Each face button represents a different way of serving and you can tap the button for accuracy or hold it for more power. It’s simple and effective.
The biggest and best part of the game is the lengthy Career Mode. It’s a well-implemented game mode that sees you attempting to climb to #1 in the world by winning tournaments and upgrading your character. You start out by creating your character with an incredibly low number of face presets (there are only 10). Once you choose your face, you can’t customize it at all, what you see is what you get. Beyond that, you can change your gear to make it more personal. After that, you’ll take your player across a fictional circuit trying to rank well enough to compete in big tournaments. As you do that you can level up your Defense, Attack, and Serve & Volley.
In addition to upgrading your archetypes, you can unlock skill cards that offer you a specific boost that’s either active or passive. You can have up to 5 of these cards active in a match, but it takes a while to unlock all those slots. You may unlock a card that gives you extra serving power or one that increases stamina. There’s many of them to unlock and they add a new dynamic to each match. If you’re not playing in a tournament, you have the opportunity to train your skills (which only buff those skills for two months), play an exhibition match, or even rest. You have to balance what you make your character do because if they’re too tired, they won’t perform well in their next match. You can also sign coaches and agents in Career Mode which give you different bonuses depending on who you choose. Coaches can be leveled up to give you better boosts, while agents cannot.
The game boasts a roster of 31 real-life players including Roger Federer, Caroline Wozniacki, and John Isner. Most of these characters have gone through extensive photogrammetry and motion capture, but none of them feel like they play all that differently from each other. You won’t find the Williams sisters or Rafael Nadal in this game and those feel like huge ommissions in a tennis game. There aren’t even any licensed courts or stadiums in the game, although there are different surfaces. More players and stadiums are said to be on the way as DLC so I guess we’ll have to see what makes it in, but right now it feels really incomplete.
The presentation in Tennis World Tour is a big miss for me. Sure, the visuals are passable, but this game looks like it could have easily been a PS3/360 game. There aren’t even any marks in the clay when a ball hits it or anything like that. The sound is even worse, we get a bunch of generic menu music and then John McEnroe saying the same 10 lines over and over again. “He’s playing unconscious!”, ugh. Thankfully, that can be turned off. I’d also like to say that the ball was so hard to see even on a 55 inch TV. If I didn’t have the first-bounce indicator on, I would have never been able to play this.
|Easy controls||Bad presentation|
|Well-structured Career Mode||No online mode yet despite advertising|