PREVIEW We played Matchpoint – Tennis Championships on the computer

For more than ten years, fans of the yellow ball have been waiting impatiently for a worthy successor to Top Spin 4, much like the history of tennis, which has been waiting for many years for a successor to Yannick Noah, the last Frenchman. winner of a Grand Slam tournament (Roland-Garros – 1983). While tennis games have not necessarily been brought to fruition lately with licenses like Tennis World Tour or AO Tennis failing to fully convince players, Matchpoint – Tennis Championships is throwing itself headlong into battle. We were able to get our hands on the title for a few hoursfirst comment on this experience … unique for 2022.

Preview made on PC using a digital version provided by the publisher via Steam

A title with Benoît Paire, is it necessarily a winner?

Before we officially start our preview, keep in mind that we played a few hours on a PC with a pretty unbalanced configuration: an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X CPU, 32 GB of RAM, and a 4 GB MSI GTX 970 GPU; enough to run the title in very good condition with the settings set to maximum (1080p resolution, vertical sync enabled, antialiasing and graphics quality to the maximum). If the title is fluid in all circumstances, unfortunately it is not in vain because Kalypso, the German developers of the title, have made many commitments; abnormally failed textures for 2022, animations not worthy of a simulation, or even more than empty environments take us back many years. When we compare this title with great sports simulators like F1 2021, FIFA 22, WWE 2K22 or even NBA 2K22, we wonder how it is still possible today to publish productions as they are, they say “simulations”. We will only keep the few success faces for the players in the cast.

If the simulation side is not present visually, it is even less the case of the different licenses present: with a cast of only 16 players (11 men, 5 women) including two Frenchmen (Hugo Gaston and Benoît Paire), the title does not shine for the quality of the selected extras.. With the exception of the new nugget of world tennis Carlos Alcaraz or the Russian Andrey Rublev, we are still looking for current legends like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or the current world number one Novak Djokovic. Speaking of legendary players, the game will be released in physical and digital versions with two editions: a standard version and a Legends version that will include mainly the DLC Legends which includes two additional players who marked the 2000s: Tim Henman and Tommy Haas . To see if other players will be added later for free or paid downloadable content. However, players are dressed by their personal equipment supplier: racket, tops, bottoms and shoes with the presence of various brands (Nike, Head, Wilson, Uniqlo, etc.).

A tennis simulation … really?

When we talk about the term sports simulation, we hope to practice our favorite sport in environments close to what reality offers. Unfortunately, the licenses of the different ITF, ATP or WTA tournaments are absent subscribers … Therefore, we find ourselves playing the French Open without the presence of the legendary Philippe Chatrier or the intermediate tournaments without the traditional television appearances. If the soundtrack of the title can make you smile with catchy themes, we were totally amazed by the sound design of the game. The absence of voice for linebackers and the random, approximate sound effects make the title anything but a believable tennis simulation. Keep in mind that the game still has several game modes: race, quick game, training, training, online game with which to highlight the possibility of playing cross-play (PC players can play with Nintendo Switch players ). Online addicts will be pleasantly surprised to discover the presence of matchmaking or to play in a classified game. As for the race mode, we regret the absence of choosing the type of match (full set, 2 games, tie-break) that forces the player to systematically play all matches in 2 winning sets, even in the eighth end of ‘an ATP 250. Of course, this game mode can be played by creating your own character using the editor which is not very complete compared to other big names in the genre.

Creating a player is not the most advanced

To end this preview, it seems essential to talk about the gameplay offered by Matchpoint – Tennis Championships. As you can imagine if you have read the above lines, this is not entirely technical although, admittedly, a pretty nice feeling at the end. With a wide range of shots (shots, lifts, cuts, lobes, blows, thefts …), just grab the key in question to give more power to our shots, at risk, of course, to leave the ball off the field. rural area. However, it will be very easy to place our shots along the line, the fault of the viewfinder present when we activate our shots. We hope that the problem of balance with the systematic gain of the point when using a court service to take our opponent off the court and then chain him with a winning shot will be corrected for the official premiere of the title. Finally, the game has the clever idea of ​​including weaknesses and strengths for the players we know. For example, by making “rallies” (points that take many exchanges) or by constantly bringing them to the net, it will be possible to detect your opponent’s weaknesses (three in number) to inevitably move on to the next points. .

Verdict: Intervention of the physiotherapist

Sold as a simulation, the title may not even reach the ratings, unless you get an unexpected wildcard for a bit. Despite a rather fun and easy-to-learn gameplay, we have to admit that the German developers of Kalypso tore an ankle in exchange for the service. With an achievement worthy of a Smash Court Tennis on PlayStation 2, a sound environment close to the central court of Machecoul and a blatant lack of official licenses (players, courts, equipment, etc.), Matchpoint – Tennis Championships is more like a first draft than anything else. We encourage you to be patient and wait for our final opinion a few days before the official release of the title to make a possible purchase. Keep in mind that the title will be available on Xbox Game Pass + PC on the first day, a great way to form your own opinion.

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