AO Tennis 2 – Nintendo Switch Review

Tennis has always translated quite well to the video game realm, from Tennis on the Atari 2600 to the now life-like AO Tennis 2!

The bar set by Virtua Tennis 2 on the Sega Dreamcast all those years ago is what we judge every new tennis video game by. Some might think this to be a somewhat crude way of judging a game, but we say, go and play Virtua Tennis 2 now, you will note that it still plays darn awesome. So how does Australia’s Big Ant StudiosAO Tennis 2 compare to Sega’s flagship tennis game? Wellllll, if we told you right away, you wouldn’t bother reading the rest of this review. Stick around, as we send a few volleys and aces over your way from the Australian Open!

First off, this second game in the series takes tennis realism up a few notches. Australian development studio, Big Ant Studios, has done a admirable job in nailing the authenticity and atmosphere of Australia’s Grand Slam, from the Melbourne Park courts to the featured players, like Rafael Nadal and our very own, Ash Barty.

The roster of players is good, but not great. Missing are some top ranked players, namely Federer, Djokovic, Medvedev and Andy Murray. The sole Aussie flag bearer is Thanasi Kokkinakis. At least we get to play as Ash Barty on the women’s side. Oh yeah, you also have the choice of creating and customising your very own tennis star! The game features an impressive customisation engine, which we really don’t care for (we rather just play tennis!), but it’s impressive nonetheless. On the whole, the graphics are ok and look pretty good from a distance, but things start to look a bit rough when zooming in on the close-ups. It doesn’t detract too much from the game, but it is one of its weaker points. The crowd is also nothing to write home about, so lucky you don’t notice it while smashing the ball back and forth over the net.

Where this game shines is in its all new (and lengthy, in a good way) narrative driven career mode. The career mode clearly takes inspiration from games like NBA 2K games. There are heaps of story-based cutscenes that cycle and change depending on how well or how badly you’re playing. To add more (good) tension, the frequent press conferences have an impact on how the press and fans feel about you. So if you intend on having a McEnroe or Nick Kyrgios type meltdown on court, then be prepared to cop flack in the newspapers – a great touch, which adds to the realism.

So how does it play? Well, it’s not as fluid as any of the Virtua Tennis games we’ve played, but that is a high bar to get over. As it is, AO Tennis 2 plays well enough, with a slight floaty feel to the game, where timing your shot is crucial. Luckily, it didn’t take us too long to get into the swing of things (pun fully intended), so we were serving and returning the ball with ease and in the spots where we wanted the ball to go. With all the shots mapped well on the Switch’s controller (Joy or Pro), there is no shortage of shot choice.

What are our overall impressions of this game? Playing AO Tennis 2 in career mode on the Nintendo Switch will have you swinging the virtual racquet for ages. If you prefer your tennis a bit wacky, then stick with Mario Tennis Aces, but if you yearn for a more realistic tennis game on the Switch, then this is your only choice.

image source: HomeRun PR

 

Disclosure: AO Tennis 2 [Nintendo Switch eShop code] was kindly provided by HomeRun PR for this review.