The Nintendo Switch pretty much features all types of sports games now to satisfy anyone’s craving, that includes tennis. The most well known being that of Mario Tennis, but if you want something more realistic that features actual real world athletes, you’ll need to pick up NACON/BIGBEN and Big Ant Studios’ latest tennis sim, AO Tennis 2. AO if you didn’t know stands for the Australian Open and AO Tennis 2 is the official game for that series.
AO Tennis 2 is the second game in the official Australia Open series. Developed side by side with the team at Tennis Australia, the game gives tennis fans an intense experience of the first of the year’s four Grand Slam events, which began on January 20, 2020. Players can experience an all-new narrative-driven career mode, enriched with a reputation system, or choose to customize every element of their game through its detailed content editor. Players have the choice of either creating their own custom made characters or are able to play in the shoes of dozens of the world’s biggest tennis stars, including Rafael Nadal, Ash Barty, Angélique Kerber and many more.
We’ll start this off with the graphics on AO Tennis 2. This game looks really good and is one of the best looking tennis games out there, even on the Switch. It is a very realistic tennis sim and they’ve really got the look of the game down pat. The players all look quite lifelike and the courts themselves look pretty accurate. In terms of the audio, it all sounds very tennis-y. You got the squeaking of the shoes as players run around the court, the way the tennis balls sounds when it gets hit off the rackets and the court, etc. It all sounds great. Even the grunting that players make are there. Basically if you’re looking for that real tennis feel, you’ll find it with AO Tennis 2.
Now while the graphics and audio are top notch, things aren’t quite as polished in the gameplay department. Mainly as the game sits, there is a very steep learning curve. Almost too steep. Even in rookie mode, the game is quite punishing to those who have maybe never played a tennis game in their lives. The AI here can be frustratingly superhuman. Another issue here are the controls. While the control layout seemingly allows you to hit with a variety of different returns and serves, actually hitting the ball can prove difficult at times. You player sometimes won’t run quickly enough to get to the ball and aiming can be slow. Part of the issue is that the default settings are not sensitive enough but that can easily be remedied in the settings.
The game isn’t impossible though and mainly you’ll have to put in the time to actually get good at it. This isn’t an arcade game where you can just jump in and kick butt.
Lastly, there are a ton of different modes you can play in AO Tennis 2 as well as a player vs player mode which makes this a great multiplayer sports game. There’s also a ton of customization options such as creating your own characters and even your own venue and logos. There really is a lot to do in AO Tennis 2.
In the end, if you’re looking for an ultra realistic tennis sim, then AO Tennis 2 is the game for you. There’s enough in the game to keep you occupied for months and despite the difficulty, I’m sure the the more you play, the easier it will get, to some extent. It just takes practice. It’s not as simple to get into as a game like Mario Tennis would be. Just know that AO Tennis 2 for the most part is probably going to be for those hardcore fans of the genre. With that said, AO Tennis 2 is one of the best tennis games out there. Just know that the learning curve on this is really steep and unless you put the time and training into it, you may give up before you really start to enjoy it.
Received game from developer and/or publisher for coverage purposes.
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