GIF: aubergine via Twitch
There is a new tennis game! And while AO Tennis does not officially come out until tomorrow, a store broke the date off the street at the end of last week. And that’s a good thing for everyone, because if the footage is anything, the game is rough.
AO Tennis is the first tennis match we have had in a long time. It is also Australian made, from the same studio responsible for Cricket ashes and the Don Bradman Cricket Games.
But the eyebrows started to lift slightly last week. The game was due out in a fortnight, and people had only ever seen slung images in promotional videos. Where was the direct gameplay, people asked? Big Ant responded on Twitter, saying that “there are great things … which must be kept under wraps until the start of the first game.”
Hello tennis fans! An important update on AO Tennis below, and some new screenshots for your viewing pleasure ð pic.twitter.com/VBea1IYsSF
– Big Ant Studios (@BigAntStudios) Jan. 11, 2018
It was Friday morning, four days before AO Tennis was supposed to hit store shelves. And even considering that, it’s a bit of a weird sale. Big Ant is not allowed to show the live stream of its own game until a day or two before it goes on sale?
Fortunately, Australian retailers have stepped in. Zachary Clarke, a writer for Australian independent site Rocket Chainsaw, picked up a copy of AO Tennis from Target in Melbourne. And after I downloaded a few fixes, it started streaming some gameplay.
Spoiler: it was not good.
The doubles fundamentally resembles a singles match with two other bodies standing on the pitch, completely still. If you watch enough action, you can see instances where the player at the net actually reacts.
But for the most part, they’re lifeless, stiff, and unresponsive to the action around them.
The singles action has improved a lot, but there is still some craziness everywhere. This is especially noticeable whenever a player is going to hit the ball. It’s almost as if the player character is reacting at the last second, sometimes even dragging towards the ball.
I will spend more time with AO Tennis later this week, and there’s a 5GB patch for day one that hopefully fixes some of the glaring and glaring AI issues. On the other hand, at least AO Tennis won’t be the only one new tennis game released this year. Tennis elbow 4‘s provisionally planned for an Early Access release this year as well, although that date can easily be moved.