Matchpoint – Tennis Championships: Top seed? (PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One)

When a tennis game is announced and released, we immediately remember titles like Top Spin 4 or Virtua Tennis, games which despite the weight of the years, remain the virtual pioneers of this sport. So when Kalypso Media announced that we were going to live an immersive and authentic experience with Matchpoint – Tennis Championships, we were curious to see if we were really dealing with a realistic tennis simulation. After several hours in his company, we explain to you if we have finally found the new master of the courts.

If it is distributed by Kalypso Media, Matchpoint – Tennis Championships was designed by newbies in the field of sports development: the Torus Games studio. Before tackling this kind of simulation, the team mainly produced productions for young children. We owe them in particular How to Train Your Dragon 2, PAW Paroll On a Roll, Hotel Transylvania 3 or even Ben 10, derivatives/adaptations of animated films in short. Suffice to say that with Matchpoint – Tennis Championships, the developers are completely changing ground.

Single and multiplayer modes, but no double matches

We are not changing our habits for our sports game reviews, let’s start with the game modes listed directly on the main menu. Quite basic and very refined by the way, there are two separate tabs, one for solo and the second for Online.

We start logically with the presentation of the Solo part containing barely five small modes. There is of course a Tutorial to learn the different techniques (movement, service, slice, lift, etc.) with an explanation, theCoaching that there is probably no need to present, allowing you to put into practice the teachings of the Tutorials (hitting the ball, etc.).

The third mode is called Training, the latter consisted of “working” on one’s movements (pressing the keys, moving a “targeted” cursor, etc.) such as Lift, Slice, etc. through several distinct mini-games, a mode reminiscent of that of Top Spin for example. Then comes the Quick Matches where you can select 16 different personalities like Benoît Paire, Nick Kyrgios, Casper Ruud, Amanda Anisimova, Heather Watson or even Victoria Azarenka, as well as two legends (Tim Henman and Tommy Haas), or even your Career mode avatars. We will regret some missing headliners like Djokovic, Nadal,… but also a modeling of tennis players/women that does not honor these professional players.

Let’s finish this overview of the Solo mode with that of the Career. Before starting hostilities, you can create an avatar (female or male), be careful though, here no extreme customization, you are quickly limited on a choice of face, hair, clothes / colors.

The introduction takes place in the middle of the match, at an important moment in the Adelaide Open during a tie-break. After several exchanges, the software initializes a rather interesting system on the weaknesses/strengths of the opponent. For example, when our opponent performs several reverses in a row, his accuracy leaves something to be desired, the idea is therefore to try some future strategies to encourage him to make penalties/fouls.

Once the match is over, we begin the real Career mode with MPT ranking, the goal being logically to become world number one. In addition to the calendar tournaments (Auckland, Grand Slam, etc.), the interface gives access to the realization of friendly matches, a modification of the previously chosen appearance and the presentation of the Formations to support the attributes of our character. On this subject, know that the mini-games present during these trainings are the same as those of the Main Menu, so you can improve your skills further if necessary. It is also possible to change shoes, racquets or even coaches, knowing that differentiated statistics depending on what you are “wearing”. A classic course. So that’s it for the Solo mode, and at the risk of disappointing you, as we have been, the title only offers single matches but no doubles…

For the Multiplayer mode, again, apart from cross-play, the trick is done quite quickly with matches between friends or leisure, or even classified. Please note that for the moment, we have not encountered any major problems when performing these matches online.

Good ideas, but also a lack

Now let’s get to the heart of the matter, the gameplay. The developers have tried to get as close as possible to reality to allow an immersive experience. So yes, there are the services to be performed, the specific techniques of this sport, the fluid placement of the player, the sound effects of the ball, the differences in strikes according to the pressure of the associated key, but there is also an aiming reticle to be diverted which is activated as soon as the pressure of the shot that one wishes to make is activated.

Clearly, even if the basic handling is quick, it will take some time to adapt to fully master all the features, we are thinking above all of a kind of double vision that we must have, the first fixed near of our player corresponding to the power of our shot, and secondly the placement of the reticle used to locate where to bounce the ball. On the other hand, in local coop, it is impossible to play the surprise effect, each player being able to see the placement of his opponent’s crosshairs.

If after a minimum of adaptation the exchanges are done naturally, we still find that an essential element is missing in this desired “realistic” touch: realism on the ball and its physics. So yes we manage to have fun easily, but we still expected more given the hook of the developers. Ditto, regardless of the type of terrain we face, whether it is grass, clay, hard surface, we did not feel any change in the trajectory or even in the rebounds of our ball. A little disappointment all the same.

A technical/graphic part that is not flattering

Now let’s move on to technique and graphics. To begin with, be aware that if you don’t have equipment offered by the VRR/ALLM, you will certainly see unsightly image tears during replays/close-ups on the players. Then, as we said earlier, if the models of the professionals do not do justice to the New-Gen or Old-Gen consoles, those of the public are just as much, the latter being split and simplified as possible.

Unfortunately, we also deplore other shortcomings such as the absence of traces, whether for bullet impacts or the movements of the protagonists… Finally, know that in addition to the traditional half-height view, an immersive view quite pleasant and placed behind the character can be selected.

Without transition, passes to the sound aspect. This is from the same domain as the technical/graphic axis, we find an audience that does not exude passion, or even a commentator who lacks enthusiasm,… Difficult in these conditions to have total immersion.

Tested on Xbox Series X

Information: Matchpoint – Tennis Championships will be released on October 20 on Nintendo Switch.

Well no, Matchpoint – Tennis Championships is not the title that will make us forget Top Spin 4, and if you had (i) placed too much hope in it, you risk being greatly disappointed. If there are many interesting game mechanics such as the functionality on opposing strengths/weaknesses, a dual system (strike power / aiming reticle), or even a generally quick handling, we feel four shortcomings and weaknesses. A graphic level well below, an in-game sound that lacks passion, the absence of doubles, and a physics not being at the top of its form. Shame !


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