Published on July 13th, 2022 | by Daniel
Matchpoint Tennis Championships Review! #PS5
Summary: A tennis sim with a lot of potential but a lot of missed opportunity!
In Matchpoint Tennis Championships, you start off as an unseeded rookie, it is up to you to learn and hone your skills, master the net. Tour the world, playing tournament after tournament, slowly climbing the MPT rankings. Then take on the Grand Slams and the world’s best tennis players to become the Matchpoint Tennis Champion!
If you’ve play games like the Top Spin series, then you’ll feel right at home here in Matchpoint Tennis Championships. The game gives you a brief tutorial about the four different types of shots you can do, then another for the four types of serves you can do, which are a sublet of the shot types; Lop, Top Spin, Flat Shot and Slice, you can also add flair to these shots my making them drop shots or Volley Shots. The game features a fairly unique aiming system, using the slight direction adjustment to towards the ball and then selecting your choice of shot type will pretty much magically cover most distances in an instant. This feels a bit cheap as it makes missing shots incredibly difficult. To aim your shots, you point a plate sized shadow to the spot you want the ball to go, 90% of the time it lands on the intended mark, 5% of the time it goes slightly wide. This means that even as you’re starting out, with your custom character, you can be rank one in just a few months of your career.
That brings me to the biggest issue of the game. It feels..empty, so very empty. The game has a calendar style career mod, you start out in an exhibition and then immediate progress into the first round of a rookie tournament. Win or lose this serves as the game’s opening levels, from here you traverse the calendar, completing training missions, exhibition maps, small time tournaments, MPT’s version of “Grand Slams” and extra missions against high ranking opponents to boost your MPT rank. Apart from that, you have the same modes available outside of the career mode, and local and online play and that’s basically it. There just isn’t enough substance to the game, there’s no sponsorship deals, no press conferences, no player – opponent interaction, no ability to call out linesmen. It just feels like a lot of wasted potential.
Initially I struggled with the game’s controls, but before long I was shooting shots like a pro. It’s such an easy system to break, even the toughest opponents are a snooze fest. Serves are easy to ace if you pay close attention to where your opponent is positioned on thee baseline. Opponents serves are easy to break with a slice close to the net, followed by a cross court volley. With these two methods I cheesed my way into the top rankings even before my first “Grand Slam”. Making the majority of Matchpoint Tennis Championships, a relatively lacklustre experience.
The graphics of the game are pretty lacking also, I’ve found better graphics from maintstream games on the PS3, now I know that might seem like an unfair comparison given the budgets of AAA companies. But this is a system two generations ahead of the games I’m comparing it to, I’ve come to expect a greater deal of quality from games like these. The character creation features very little customisation. You can choose from a very select few faces and skin tones, all the characters wind up looking like your average non descript John and Jane Doe. Expressions hardly seem fitting to some of the character models, only the 16 real world players featured get proper fleshing out design wise. And even out of all the real world players the only two I immediate recognised was Nick Kyrgios and Kei Nishikori, the rest I had to look up the roster for as I couldn’t recognise them properly.
The background graphics are nothing to write home about either, the stands look flat and the spectators, yikes. The all sit in the same position, regardless of gender, their bodies clip through each other and their feet don’t even touch the groups in some stands. As I mentioned some character expressions end up looking like they’re on the wrong face, sometimes it doesn’t even look like the player is holding the racket properly. Arenas look bland, there’s a distinct lack of sponsors on the walls and players gear, they missed an opportunity to have some popular brands on display.
The audio in Matchpoint Tennis Championships doesn’t do itself any favours either. The game’s menu music is boppy on its’ own, making it fun to navigate and get lost just vibing to the menu music. But when you get into a match, it’s all quiet. I would have expected them to exploit the breaks between points for a quick jazzy number. But I understand that it’s for the player’s focus, the sounds of playing tennis aren’t really hard to replicate either, so I can’t give them many points for audience clapping, generic sports commentator is generic, the sound of the ball hitting a racket, even the player grunts, which are few and far between are nothing to be proud of.
Matchpoint Tennis Championships is a colossal waste of potential. It has a great, unique control scheme, even if it is a little broken. With work it could grow into something amazing. As for the rest of the game, a stronger, more customisable experience would go a long way to making the game better. More options for online, the option to play doubles with your friends both on and offline would be a huge leap. Better graphics, more options for character selections, sponsors, real life tournaments instead of cheap knock offs that are easy to spot a mile away. It’s not called the “Australian Grand Slam”, everyone knows it’s the Australian or Aus Open. They’re not fooling anyone, so how hard could it really have been to get the licences needed for it all.
Do I recommend it? For a price of $50, absolutely not. I did enjoy some mindless tennis fun, but it’s not a game I could see myself sinking hours into, just to make my customer character be the most broken, overpowered tennis star ever. The original Top Spin, way back in 2003 had more flair to it, while it’s graphics two generations old that this game. It certainly felt like it had more to it, you could even push a button after winning a point, to perform and attitude. Whether it was to celebrate a point or to get angry over a missed point. That’s a huge thing for tennis as it’s players get emotional during play. It’s something we see very clearly when we watch these matches and is a feature seriously missed out on by this game. If you’re looking for an hour or two of simple, easy to win tennis, grab Matchpoint Tennis Championships when it goes on sale. Otherwise, give this one a miss.
Game Genre – Sports, Simulation
Developers – Torus Games
Publisher – Kalypso Media
Rating – General
Year of Release – 2022
Platforms – PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox, Nintendo Switch
Mode(s) of Play – Single, Multiplayer
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