AO International Tennis vs. Tennis World Tour
Posted on September 28 2018
As the gaming industry has evolved over the last couple of decades, so too have the sports simulators. Today, it is not uncommon for fans of certain sports to have had their first contact through digital media. Unlike football, there aren’t that many tennis games released on an annual basis. However 2018 is different, as two tennis simulation games have been released within weeks of each other: AO International Tennis and Tennis World Tour. In this article we look at how each game has been received.
AO International Tennis
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AO International Tennis was described as “one of the hottest tennis video game releases in years” in a review penned by Forbes contributor Danielle Rossingh. Unfortunately, that is mere hyperbole. Made by Australia's Big Ant Studios, AO International Tennis serves up a double fault, with the main problems lying in the gameplay itself. Tennis is a dynamic, fast, and vibrant sport, yet none of that is apparent in this Rafael Nadal-headlined game. Movement is largely restricted, making the game an unrealistic, slow-paced simulation of tennis.
The animations are decent at best, and this observation is shared by Push Square in its own review of the game. The player models are good, but they all appear to have the same style of movement, from their gait to their swing, and even in the way they nod their head on the title screen. Just as problematic is the game’s lack of licensing, which means other than Nadal and Germany’s Angelique Kerber, your choice of professional players is quite limited. Even the Grand Slam venues are solely lacking, as only the Rod Laver Arena is included.
Tennis World Tour
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Breakpoint Studio’s Tennis World Tour debuted to sky-high expectations, but sadly, those expectations are largely unmet. One reason is that the game gravely lacks content. It doesn’t even have doubles matches! Breakpoint Studio has promised to address this issue via game updates, but the damage has been done. It’s an unfinished, unpolished product released at full pricing.
Perhaps the only saving grace for Tennis World Tour is its comprehensive career mode, which Breakpoint Studio apparently fine-tuned by consulting with French Tennis Federation coach Boris Vallejo. It is immersive and entertaining, and is the only good feature in an otherwise mediocre tennis game.
Tennis in Digital Media
As the above games show, tennis is in dire need of quality titles that accurately replicate the experience of playing, while also giving players a sense of what it means to be a Grand Slam champion. In a country with such a strong tennis heritage, the Telegraph puts tennis as the eighth most popular sport. Tennis needs an improved digital presence to increase that ranking. That being said, the sport has made a lot of headway in the mobile gaming market, with Spicy Tricks listing several well-received tennis titles. The sport is also gaining new fans through tennis games that aren’t like your typical simulations. Gaming platform Slingo has a roster of games that are based on popular sports including a tennis game called Centre Court. While it doesn’t replicate a match of tennis, it does provide an outlet for fans of online gaming to become interested in the sport. With Andy Murray out injured this year, British tennis needs more avenues for people to have contact with the sport. Based on the above two 2018 games, much more needs to be done before we get a game that does for tennis what FIFA did for football.