Formalized in January 2022, Matchpoint – Tennis Championships is a newcomer among tennis games, a genre that has still not found a worthy successor to the well-known series Virtua-Tennis and top Spin despite its presence in the licensing market Mario Tennis Aces† AO Tennis and Tennis World Tour for a few years now.
Scheduled to release on July 7 on PC, consoles and the Xbox Game Pass, Torus Games (Praetorians HD Remaster, Descent: Underground, Cartoon Network Battle Crashers…) and Kalypso Media (Tropico 6, Disciples: Liberation, Port Royale 4…) gave us the chance to discover their project a little in advance. So, does this title hold any cards to pique our interest? Answer in this overview.
Preview Terms: Previewed with an Xbox One controller on a 1080p display and a PC equipped with an Intel Core i5-9400F processor (2.9 GHz), an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 and memory lively 16 GB of RAM. The version in development of the title ran about 5:30 am in the high configuration, the time it took to go through the solo and offline content (Career, Quick Matches, Tutorial, Formation, Practice).
Really simulation-oriented gameplay?
Sell as “a modern tennis simulation” to play ” authentic “ and experience “immersive”† Matchpoint – Tennis Championships unfortunately does not yet meet all the conditions to define itself as such. In fact, we seem to be dealing more with a semi-arcade-oriented title, which isn’t necessarily a defect if you fully assume it.
If we find the range of techniques specific to the sport discipline (slice, lift, lob, volley, drop shot, etc.) and frustrating. that in Tennis World Tour 2† The grip is easy and accessible to a wide audience, especially because the services take place in one phase, no distinction is made between a precise and powerful blow and releasing too early or too late is hardly sanctioned.
Unless you’re in a very bad position on the field or disable the aiming aid and ball drag, it’s relatively easy to avoid casual mistakes. Probably too much for a simulation, so much so that you wonder if the different stats attributed to each player (Forehand, Backhand, Service, Volley, Power, Conditioning) have even minimal impact on gameplay.
Other observations, the speed of the exchanges is constantly fast, whether for men or women, we did not notice any significant difference depending on the surface we play on (hard, clay, grass), there is no endurance management in matches , the stars present on the grid are clearly integrated without the slightest characteristic movement and we have the unpleasant impression that the stock of animations at our disposal is limited.
As for the AI, his attitude is sometimes too mechanical, aggressive and even deviant. The resistance she’s resisting is also too weak even on professional difficulty where we didn’t have much trouble overcoming her over several encounters while controlling an avatar with stats three times lower than hers.
In short, if the basics of the gameplay are not bad in itself, the result is not what is expected of a simulation-based experience for the time being.
Weak content in perspective?
Even if we’re aware that we’ve gotten our hands on a version of a game that’s still in development, we can’t say in terms of content that Matchpoint – Tennis Championships has the will (or ability?) to be richer or more original than Tennis World Tour 2†
As well as including only 18 stars of the discipline in its cast (including two legends, Tommy Haas and Tim Henman, and just five women) and a few official brands such as Head, Uniqlo and Asics, the Australian studio’s title offers fashion classic game for the genre. That’s why we find a tutorial, training against a ball machine, seven technical challenges to take on to refine your racket skills in the Training tab (service and volleys, aces, aiming during volley, etc.), the online (ranked or friendly games) , fast matches against the AI or in local multiplayer and the traditional Career.
Precisely on the latter, we very strongly cross our fingers that the developers improve it with the release, because it turns out to be as uninteresting as possible. The calendar of events is horribly bad (tournaments, training to increase your stats, exhibition matches), as well as the personalization dimensions (surname/first name, nationality, head, skin color, hair, eyes, clothes) and the management of our avatar’s statistics (rackets, shoes, coaches).
Also note that the production doesn’t even bother adding a physical fatigue system or giving us the option to choose our player’s height or weight. Ugh, it would be a shame to integrate features that characterize a simulation-oriented experience. (Oops!)
Do you want more ? Know that Torus Games had the good idea to propose a mechanism of strengths and weaknesses for the competitors we are dealing with. For example, during a match we can learn that our opponent has trouble returning powerful blows, but his game improves with every tie (40-40). Frankly, it’s fun because it gives a strategic touch to the experience, but because the challenge isn’t there, it’s less useful. One more question, why would only AI benefit from this? Designing a simple yet effective skills tree for us is too much to ask?
An achievement that does not breathe modernity
Let’s make this discovery of . get done Matchpoint – Tennis Championships by making a brief point about its technical aspect. Even if it is worth recalling once again that its development is not complete, we are not really optimistic that the game can rise to the level of Tennis Word Tour 2 which benefited from a careful realization despite a real lack of sophistication at its launch in September 2020.
In addition to the bugs we encountered, the visuals displayed by the production aren’t entirely off-putting, but we’re far from giving a graphical blow. Since they are not expressive, the faces of the stars of the roster are quite well modeled, which is not the case at all for those of the lambda players. In addition, the game environments do not differ much and transitions between points and at the beginning and end of a match are often very abrupt.
Finally, if there’s any way to be entitled to proper sound design on the day of release (sound effects of the claps, vocal utterances from the players and players), the atmosphere at a meeting is incredibly gloomy. Neither the audience, nor the commentator, nor the umpires seem to have the slightest interest in being on the pitch. These people are bored and, to be honest, so are we.