Match preview – Tennis Championships – The first exchanges are not as convincing as expected?

Formalized in January 2022, Matchpoint – Tennis Championships is a newcomer to tennis games, a genre that has not yet found a worthy successor to the famous series Virtua-Tennis i upper turn despite its presence in the licensing market Mario Tennis Aces, AO Tennis i Tennis World Tour for a few years.

It will be released on July 7 on PC, Consoles and Xbox Game Pass, Torus Games (Praetorians HD Remaster, Descent: Underground, Cartoon Network Battle Crashers…) I Kalypso Media (Tropico 6, Disciples: Liberation, Port Royale 4…) Gave us a chance to discover your project a little in advance. So does this title have a letter up our sleeve to pique our interest? Answer in this overview.

Preview conditions: Preview with an Xbox One controller on a 1080p screen and a computer equipped with an Intel Core i5-9400F (2.9 GHz) processor, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 and 16 GB of RAM. The developing version of the title ran in High configuration for about 5:30, time required to go through its content alone and offline (Race, Quick Matches, Tutorial, Training, Practice).

A game really focused on simulation?

Sell ​​com “a modern tennis simulation” in the game “authentic” and experience “immersive”, Matchpoint – Tennis Championships unfortunately it does not yet meet all the requirements to be defined as such. We even get the impression that it has more to do with a semi-arcade title, which isn’t necessarily a flaw as long as you fully assume it.

If we find the range of techniques of the sport (slice, lift, lob, volley, drop shot, etc.) and a realistic ball physics in their behavior, the timing required to properly shoot a shot seemed much less punitive. . and frustrating.that in Tennis World Tour 2. Adherence is easy and accessible to a wide audience, especially because the services are done in a single phase, no distinction is made between a precise and powerful blow and releasing it too soon or too late n is difficult to sanction.

Unless you are very poorly positioned on the court or disable the aiming aid and dragging the ball, it is relatively easy to avoid chaining unforced errors. Probably too much for a simulation, so much so that one wonders if the various statistics attributed to each player (Forehand, Backhand, Service, Volley, Power, Conditioning) have even a minimal impact on the game.

Other observations, the speed of exchanges is constantly fast, whether male or female, we did not notice any significant difference depending on the surface where we play (hard, clay, turf), there is no management of resistance to matches, obviously the stars on the list have been integrated without the slightest sign of movement and we have the unpleasant impression that the stock of animations at our disposal is limited.

As for AI, its attitude is too mechanical, aggressive, even aberrant at times. The resistance he opposes is also too weak, even in Professional difficulty where we did not have much difficulty to overcome it during several encounters while controlling an avatar with statistics three times lower than his.

In short, if the basis of gameplay is not bad in itself, the result does not live up to what is expected of a moment-based simulation experience.

Weak content in perspective?

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Although we’re aware that we’ve got our hands on a version of a game that’s still in development, in terms of content, we can’t say that Matchpoint – Tennis Championships has the will (or possibility?) to be richer or more original than Tennis World Tour 2.

In addition to including in its cast only 18 stars of the discipline (including two legends, Tommy Haas and Tim Henman, and only five women) and a few official brands such as Head, Uniqlo and Asics, the title of the Australian studio offers modes. classic game for the genre. So we find a tutorial, training against a ball machine, seven technical challenges to face to perfect your racquet skill on the Training tab (Service and volleyball, Aces, Aim at volleyball, etc.), the line (classified or friendly). games), quick matches against AI or in local multiplayer and the traditional race.

Regarding the latter precisely, we cross our fingers very hard for developers to improve it with the release because it is as uninteresting as possible. The calendar of events is distressingly poor (tournaments, training to increase your stats, exhibition matches), as well as the dimensions of personalization (name / name, nationality, head, skin color, hair, eyes, clothes) and management of our avatar statistics. (rackets, shoes, trainers).

Also keep in mind that the production doesn’t even bother to add a physical fatigue system or give us a chance to choose the height or weight of our player. Bah, yes, it would be a shame to integrate features characteristic of a simulation-oriented experience. (Uy!)

Do you want more? Know that Torus Games had the good idea to imagine a mechanism of strengths and weaknesses for the competitors we face. Thus, during a match, we can learn, for example, that our opponent has problems returning powerful shots but improves his game with each tie (40-40). Honestly, it’s nice because it adds a strategic touch to the experience, but the challenge is not there, its usefulness is less. Another question, why would only AI benefit? Is designing a simple but effective skill tree too much for us to ask?

A success that does not breathe modernity

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We end this discovery of Matchpoint – Tennis Championships making a quick remark on its technical aspect. While it’s worth remembering again that its development isn’t complete, we’re not really optimistic that the game can reach the level of Tennis Word Tour 2 which benefited from careful realization despite a real lack of refinement at launch in September 2020.

In addition to the errors found, the visual representation of the production is not entirely unpleasant to the eye, but we are far from a graphic slap. Failing to be expressive, the faces of the stars in the squad are rather well modeled, which is not at all the case with those of lambda players. In addition, the game environments do not vary much and the transitions between points and at the beginning and end of a game are often very abrupt.

Finally, if there is a way to be entitled to a correct sound design on the day of the premiere (sound effects of the blows, vocal expressions of the players and players), the atmosphere during a meeting is incredibly gloomy. Neither the audience, nor the commentator, nor the referees seem to have the slightest interest in being on the court. These people are boring, and to be honest with you, so are we.

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