Tennis is a simple sport at heart. Rackets, a net and a ball are all you need to play, but beneath its simple exterior, tennis is a sport that is hard to master and takes skill, pure athleticism and nerves of steel. Tennis World Tour 2 manages to capture that easy to play hard to master essence of the sport, with some of its own additions to mix things up.
Tennis World Tour 2 has all the modes you’d expect, with Exhibition, Tournament, Career, Tennis School, and Online. Exhibition will let you play as any of the professional tennis players in the game, whereas in career you create a character and guide them through the rankings. At the start of a career, your character will have poor stats and only be invited to play at small exhibitions or tournaments, but as you progress you can earn spots at more lucrative events, earning experience to feed into your character and build them around different archetypes. You might prefer a defensive player, offensive player, or one that favours precision. That can be enhanced by choosing agents and trainers to boost your progress.
You also earn cash rewards to unlock new gear, but an issue arose here where even after equipping gear not all of it would actually show as equipped. It seemed to affect clothing in particular, where I was stuck wearing the starting shirt despite wanting to change.
The controls will feel familiar to tennis game fans, with face buttons corresponding to top spin, lobs, slices, and so on, but timing is key. You have the choice of quickly tapping a button to make the return or holding each button to try and be more precise. By default labels will pop up saying if the hit is perfect, too soon, too late. It didn’t always seem to make too much a difference as you can score points off any hit if you’re lucky, and In the end I switched those labels off and that makes Tennis World Tour 2 a much better experience.
You also have access to wildcards, which is a new take on the card system from the first game. These are unlocked through packs and can give advantages to players or incur penalties on opponents. You can take five cards into a match and use them at any time to give you a slight advantage. You can, for example, improve the precision of a specific shot or decide to reduce an opponent’s stamina for a short time. You can have up to five cards equipped, but if you don’t want to use them there is nothing stopping you from having no cards equipped.
If you need to brush up on your skills, or learn from scratch, you can visit the Tennis School. This tutorial mode starts from the basics and moves up to more advance features to improve your game. It is a solid tutorial mode and you really cannot progress until you have got basics down, but some of the challenges can be a bit frustrating as the aiming system feels like it could be a bit more precise when you choose where to hit the ball towards.
The aforementioned equipment change bug is a minor annoyance, but others can affect how the game plays. At certain times, maybe once every few rallies, your player can feel like they’re lagging and not reacting properly to a shot, even when you press the button on time. It sometimes felt like I was fighting against my own player when I was moving them around the court. It’s the exception rather than the rule, but sports games have to aim for perfection in translating your intent to the game, and Tennis World Tour 2 sometimes drops it into the net.
Tennis World Tour 2’s online multiplayer is also solidly put together. You can have quick matches or take part in the online rankings, similar to FIFA’s divisions, though there are fewer ranks to get through. Depending on the rank you are in you will have different match types to compete in, from the shorter founders matches to the longer champion matches. Soon after launch, it can take a little while to find matches, but the inclusion of a timer is a nice touch to show how long you have been waiting for. Thankfully, once in a match I had no issues with lag or delays against other players.