Tennis tends to be a pretty vigorous physical sport, and not everyone can handle that kind of high impact exercise. First Person Tennis 2, as the name would imply, features virtual tennis action from a first person perspective, giving the player a feeling of realism without the high impact, grunting, and sweating of actually playing. Does First Person Tennis 2 give a perfect serve, or should it just pack up its balls and go home?
First Person Tennis 2 improved on the original by adding new features, but also detracted from the original by removing others. Players can choose between World Tour mode, where you can play through 13 different tournaments to see how you rank in the world, and Exhibition mode, where you can play a quick match. So, while there’s nothing new there, you do get an extra type of court to play on. The first installment provided you grass, clay, carpet, and hard courts and now there’s an indoor court to added to the mix. In other games a selection like this might merely be cosmetic; here each surface gives a different kind of bounce to the ball.
Despite their simplicity, the controls require a lot of time to get the hang of. On the left side of the screen sits a joystick which you’ll use to move the player and put different kinds of spin on the ball while serving. Another button sits to the right of the screen, serving as the swing/hit button, as well as determining the amount of power you put to a swing. A tutorial helps explain everything, but actually using the controls is a different story. They respond fairly well, but they do lag or misfire on occasion. Players will have to spend a lot of time getting accustomed to these controls if they hope to win a match, but don’t let the steep learning curb perturb you -- with practice, you’ll improve.
While the gameplay is fairly fun, and an accurate depiction of tennis, there are a few caveats. For starters, you only get to play as one dude. No other character options exist for gamers hoping for any kind of cosmetic/gender/ethnic customization. Plus it looks like you’re playing against a player who looks exactly like you. With no multiplayer option, every game is a Ralpheo vs Ralpheo mirror match. You can, however, change the difficulty of the CPU, or have the ball traced and vibrate when you hit it.
The menu music is nice and peppy, but goes away when you start a match. Just like real tennis, the only sound you’ll hear while playing are the thwacks of the balls, the grunt of the players, and the occasional cheering of the crowd when someone scores. First Person Tennis 2 set out to provide a realist tennis experience, and that it does.
First Person Tennis 2 is cheap with no added pressure to purchase different tennis rackets, shoes, etc… maybe because those options don’t exist, but the point is that once you’ve paid your dollar, that’s it. It provides a very real tennis experience, but is also very limited in the extra options it provides. If you’re a tennis video game fanatic this wouldn’t be a bad choice. Plus, you can always hold out hope that future updates will include extra characters and online multiplayer options.