The first AO Tennis game released in 2018 did not have a hot start. The game was released first to New Zealand and Australian gamers and the game was buggy and broken at launch. It wasn’t until the game’s release overseas did the game get much better with numerous new content added plus updates that improved the gameplay. Here’s our AO Tennis 2 review.
Developer Big Ant Studios must have learned their own lesson with AO Tennis 2 because the game is far more playable and enjoyable compared to the first game. While the game doesn’t add too many improvements to the core gameplay, there are more gameplay modes to play and the game isn’t a broken mess at launch.
AO Tennis 2 plays much like its predecessor as the main tennis style of gameplay has not changed a bit. You still create your own shots using the four face buttons, although if you want to be fancy you can also play and serve in the game using the right stick as well.
The physics of AO Tennis 2 has relatively been untouched as the gameplay feels like a mix between arcade and simulation style of tennis. You really have to time your shots accurately because if you don’t, you’ll see yourself hitting unforced errors and faults most of the time.
Choosing the right tennis player with good stats is also a great way to learn how to play the game. For example, Rafael Nadal is arguably the best tennis player in the entire game because his groundstrokes are powerful plus he can chase for every ball because he’s so fast on the court.
Some other players in the game I had to readjust my timing because their groundstrokes are not as effective. When I played John Isner, the man has powerful serves although he wasn’t too good at baseline groundstrokes. That said, you can still learn to play as the other players but you may need more time to get used to them.
While AO Tennis 2 feels much like the first game, I did notice that the ball speed in the sequel is slightly slower than in the first game. This is kind of a good thing though in my opinion because it makes it easier to time your shots to get winners!
As for doubles, it’s kind of a mixed bag for me. I remember doubles being absolutely broken at launch when the first AO Tennis game came out because your partner would freeze and not hit any of the balls! Thankfully that glitch isn’t present in this sequel, although your partner is still unreliable when it comes to protecting the net.
Another minor glitch that I hate in AO Tennis 2 is your player not responding sometimes when the ball bounces too near to their feet. When this unfortunate thing happens, your player just freezes up and the ball passes right through them. It’s just a small flaw, although it’s very annoying every time it happens.
Graphically, AO Tennis 2 features much more realistic looking facial character models this time around. The courts and venues look more authentic too, although the overall look of the game is similar to that of the first game. It doesn’t feature hyper-realistic graphics like the NBA 2K games offer or anything like that.
However, the motion capture animation looks fluid for the most part as the players move like they do in real life. I remember the first AO Tennis game looking stiff and clunky at launch, but things improved thanks to subsequent updates.
If you don’t want to play as Rafael Nadal, Ashleigh Barty or any of the players added in the main game, AO Tennis 2 features an extensive creation mode so you can make your own players. There is even a chance for you to create your own venues since the Australian Open is the only officially licensed grand slam tournament in this game.
Some of the players that the online community has created so far include the likes of Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and much more. If you’re skilled enough, you can create other people from the extensive options that are available to you.
As for game modes, there are a lot more things you can do in AO Tennis 2 compared to the first AO Tennis game. There’s a tutorial so you can practice your serves and shots, and there are also mini-games too. These mini-games test your accuracy and they increase in difficulty the more you play through them.
There’s also a Competition mode and Australian Open tournament you can enter to try and win as many trophies as you can. Another newly added mode is a Scenario where you can do things like try to never fault or get as many winners as you can in the match and so forth.
Most gamers will sink their teeth into the Career mode that gives you more options this time around. In the Career mode, you can act like a good person and play with sportsmanship, or you can act arrogant causing you to lose fans and sponsorship deals. They have even added the option for you to participate in press conferences which adds even more realism to your journey of being the best player in the world.
AO Tennis 2 Review – Verdict
Overall, AO Tennis 2 feels much more fleshed out compared to the bare-bones release of the first AO Tennis game. While the gameplay and graphics have not been dramatically changed, there are far more game modes to sink your teeth into giving you more hours of gameplay to enjoy. Not to mention AO Tennis 2 is the best tennis simulator you can buy right now. Just remember to avoid 2018’s Tennis World Tour at all costs!