Not exactly realistic, but great fun nonetheless.

User Rating: 8.5 | Virtua Tennis 2 PS2
The only other tennis game I'd played previous to this was Pete Sampras Tennis on the Mega Drive (ah, those were the good old days), so I didn't exactly have much else to judge Virtua Tennis 2 against. On it's own merits, though, it immediately stood out as a great game, and worth a play whether you're all that into tennis or not.



+ Accessible: The game is very easy to get the hang of quickly, yet with enough depth and subtleties to reward the long-term player.

+ Fun Minigames: Some of the minigames are as addictive as the tennis itself - Tank Attack, in particular, is both absurd and highly therapeutic!

+ Crazy Rallies: It may detract from the realism somewhat, but the accessibility of the gameplay means it's very easy to get some huge, flashy rallies going, which is always fun.

+ Addictive World Tour: The career mode, where you slowly train your players, buy them new equipment and take them up in the rankings, is massively addictive. You just won't be able to stop until you've finally got your revenge on the player that just humiliated you at Wimbledon!



- Unrealistic: The speed and ease of movement, the fact that you very rarely miss the ball, and that you almost never hit the ball out of bounds makes the game feel rather unrealistic. While it's fair enough that this was sacrificed to ensure fun, accessible gameplay, it detracts from the tennis feel a little bit, and also takes away some of the satisfaction of truly earning your rallies and impossible angles.

- Unlobbable AI: Even on the easier difficulties, the AI will almost always return a lob with ease, so don't even try!

- No Atmosphere: Even if you switch off the cheesy arcade music, you get almost no sense of the great atmosphere of a tense tennis match.

- Limited World Tour Players: It's fair enough not having all that many real-life players included in the game, given how much it must cost in licensing. However, it makes it feel very odd when you absolutely thrash Serena Williams in an easy tournament, only to have her decimate you in a harder one next week! Having a roster of fictional players for the lower-ranked events would have been a better idea, saving the real ones for key tournaments and finals.

- Simplified Scoring: The fact that you can only play up to 1 set is forgiveable, given how arcade-like the pace of the game is; but the fact that the winner is the first to reach the set amount of games, rather than having to build a 2-game lead (as in real tennis), means that the player who goes first can tend to have an unfair advantage, despite serves being less important here than in real tennis or other games.


If you're after a realistic tennis game that conveys the true atmosphere and nature of the sport, then this isn't it. If you're after one that's accessible, fun, and monstrously addictive, however, then this is bound to fulfill your every need!