The port of Sega Dreamcast’s Virtua Tennis 2 is a fantastic experience.
If you enjoy this game you’ll hate:
You know a sports simulation is great when it gets you in the mood to actually go out and play the sport. Which was unfortunate for my wife, who I was currently feeling bad for as another errant return from yours truly went soaring across the other empty tennis courts – “Sorry!” I yell as she lifts her racquet up in a dismissive gesture.
While she got an extra leg work out that day, chasing my serves and returns everywhere and I was losing my voice from yelling apologies and the occasional obscenity we both were doing our best, playing a sport neither of us have played in since high school and we had a wonderful time.
The game has four modes: exhibition, tournament, multiplayer and world tour. The latter is where the bulk of the game lies. World Tour sees you creating both a male and female tennis player and entering the world of professional tennis ranked at 300th. From there, you can complete one event per week either training on the multiple mini games or entering different events, your success determining how many ranks you climb.
It’s very difficult to overstate how addicting and rewarding the training/training/training/event grind of the game can become and there is just enough variety of the actual events to not grow too stale either. Events range from, men and women singles, men and women doubles and even mixed doubles (which always has your created players paired). Mixed doubles is rare and only featured once a calendar year but it is by far the most rewarding win of the entire game.
The mini games are fun and quick to pick up. Random arcade-ish play areas that will have you improving real skills. Like serving a tennis ball at an airport luggage belt and getting points for knocking over more valuable items. Or Tank Attack, a game which has your returning volleys being shot out of a mini tank on the opposite side of the net.
Controls and movement are simple and easy to pick up. The game is very responsive and as you reach higher rankings the A.I. really cranks it up – making you sweat throughout a cup tournament.
One of the very drawbacks I have noticed with the game is the small pool of actual professional tennis players featured in the game, eight men and eight woman. Which will often lead you to facing the same couple of players in every event and also the lack of any type of commentary. I could see a lack of commentary for the lower ranked matches but I feel like a live broadcast presentation could have put the game over the top and kept the drama and intensity high towards the later stages of the game.
Through and through a sports sim masterpiece. Like any old sports game it’s affordable and relatively easy to find. A must have for any retro sports junkies.
Overall: 94% (GOLD)
ALSO – Thank you to my best friend, John for gifting me this one. Thank you, doad.
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