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AO Tennis video game still needs to fix doubles and net play (plus other things)
Thu, 1st Feb 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The AO Tennis video game is similar to Star Wars: The Last Jedi in my opinion. My first impressions were really positive, however after getting feedback from other people, my opinion has changed and not for the better.

Predominately, I played AO Tennis as a singles competitor that mainly played on the baseline. I became really good at the game in just two days and managed to finally beat the hardest Veteran difficulty in the first week I owned the game.

In the first few days, I also had a lot of fun beating my family members mainly because none of them got used to the controls. My first reactions to the game were pretty good, until I started to dig deeper into the game and found the ugly side of AO Tennis.

Big Ant Studios has released over 7GB of updates and the game is up to version patch number 1.08. While the Australian studio has added trophy presentations and improved the single player gameplay, other areas still need fixing.

For one thing, AO Tennis is still missing trophy presentations for Doubles teams at the Australian Open. If you want to see the shiny cups, they only appear when you win a Grand Slam during a singles event.  Speaking of Doubles, don't even try to play AO Tennis with a partner because that entire mode is 100% broken. I'm disappointed because I bought this game at EB Games on PS4 two weeks ago and Doubles is still a broken unplayable mess.

It seems as if AO Tennis cannot handle more than two players on the court at the same time because only one partner is able to react and return the balls. The other partner stands there frozen with their head glitching out.

I could not even get the Doubles Grand Slam trophy without rigging it for myself. I had to earn the trophy by simply making Player 2 not play the game at all because it was near to impossible winning against the A.I.

Also in doubles, net play and volleys are important but the game cannot even get that right either. Since I'm mostly a baseline player, I decided to change up my gameplay style to see what serve and volley is like.

Net play in single matches is 50/50 from my experience. Sometimes I can get good points by playing at the net, but other times the ball flies away and misses the court entirely.

In the first week I played the game, I naively thought I was just not good at playing Doubles and Net Play and thought I just had to get "used to the controls".

Well I've played the game for two weeks now and have become an expert at baseline rallies in single player mode. I now know that Doubles and Net play is just broken because my timing is perfect when I play on the baseline.

However, one thing I noticed that needs to be fixed in the single player mode is how the AI serves. Most of the time, the AI on Veteran mode is able to get their serves in, but there has been more than one occasion that it does several double faults consecutively.

I actually earned a love game just by standing there doing nothing because the AI got four double faults in a row on the hardest difficulty setting. Bugs like this still need to be addressed. 

Anyway, I also found out that I'm a rare example of someone that can even play the single player game! I've heard a lot of feedback from the AO Tennis community and some people find the controls to be hard in single player mode too!

My brother is an example of this as he's a huge gamer and has played many tennis video games before. Despite his "experience", he was totally bad at every mode in the game.

It took my brother maybe over two weeks of practising to finally get used to the controls of the game. This is a long time because it normally only takes him a few hours to master video games because he completed Nioh a few months ago.

Due to the small number of people being able to play the game, I feel Big Ant Studios should add some type of training mode or practice mode to AO Tennis. That way, more people can hopefully get better at the game.

Big Ant Studios has promised more licensed players are coming to the game, so support for AO Tennis has not died out just yet. I'm still a fan of the game because single player matches have the potential to be epic when playing on harder difficulties.

That said, the game still needs a lot of update patches in order to make it fun for everyone. Big Ant Studios' main priority now should be to fix the doubles and net play first before focusing on other areas to please existing players like myself.

I really don't feel like dropping my review score for the game a third time because that would confuse everyone. Still, AO Tennis is the first game I have reviewed in nine years where my opinion changed by a big margin.