It’s a tough winter – wrapping up warm, doubling your
bodyweight in festive grub, but it’s time to blow out the cobwebs.
Fortunately, the tennis season commences again, and our friends Down Under have delivered AO Tennis 2 - the official game of the Australian Open.
Coming two years after the release of AO Tennis, Big
Ant Studios have teamed up with publishers Bigben Interactive to deliver the
first ace game of the new year.
AO Tennis 2 is available on January 9th on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Confirmed licensed players
- Rafael Nadal
- Angelique Kerber
- Ash Barty
- Marin Cilic
ON TOP OF THE WORLD: Rafael Nadal is likely to be a popular choice
- Belinda Bencic
- Alex de Minaur
- Karen Khachanov
- Karolina Pliskova
- Daria Gavrilova
Given that this is made by the same studio as Cricket 19, where player graphics were ranging from superb to very average, AO Tennis 2 is a vast improvement.
HOME FAVOURITE: Play Australia's own Ash Barty on AO Tennis 2
This is perhaps due to a much smaller roster to work with, but the licenced players – headlined by Rafael Nadal, are faultless.
The cracks do begin to show however when you take on one the “fake” players, who can look like they have been generated at random.
The visuals overall are great, with the licenced Australian Open stadiums, most famously the Rod Laver Arena, looking instantly recognisable. The smaller venues still hold up, with the Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy also appearing for your training sessions.
It is frustrating to play at first, but once you become
familiar with the range of shots at your disposal, and more importantly, the
timing of them, then you can slowly master the game.
MASTER OF ALL: You can play outside of Melbourne Park on grass and clay
Start off on novice difficulty to get a feel of the game,
and then step up to Amateur – you won’t want to go any higher on Career Mode to
Be mindful of your player's stamina bar, as if this gets too low, injuries can creep in. You may look to shorten the points, but volleying is very tough given you have less time to react.
As well as “Play Now” there are various types of modes you
can play, and of course, you can play singles, doubles or mixed doubles in any
As you would expect, in this mode you undergo the campaign of the fullly licenced Australian Open tournament.
AUTHENTIC: The Australian Open is fully licenced
If you are playing men’s singles or doubles, playing five sets may sound daunting, but don’t worry.
A staple of Big Ant games is customisation, and you can tweak the length of every match. This includes the number of sets, games per set, tie-break format and more.
The only slight issue is who you come up against. During our success with world number 1 Rafael Nadal, we only faced up against one other licensed player. Perhaps this is something Big Ant can work on in a patch update.
Brand-new Career Mode
The Career is the biggest mode on the game, as you enter the tour ranked #500 and have the target of going the distance to world number 1.
ALL HAIL THE KING: Can you make it all the way to world number 1
It is slow at the beginning with your player starting off with a shoddy overall rating of around 50, but training sessions and tournaments will be welcome distractions as you climb the rankings.
Press conferences and cut-scenes provide more depth to Career Mode, and is likely to be the most addictive moded of the game.
When you start off, keep match lengths short and the difficulty low as you will struggle to hit winners given your character’s lack of ability!
As seen in Cricket 19, another Big Ant title, the scenario
will prove to be one of the most popular modes to play.
Download iconic real-life tennis scenarios from the web and
try to re-enact them or change history on AO Tennis 2.
Too good for the computer? Head online and see if you can become one of the tennis players in the online game.
Not quite ready for the full Australian Open tournament? Create
a competition to give yourself a warm-up.
Choose from a range of venues from across the globe to get
some much-needed practice, and pick up some silverware to get you in the groove.
The best thing about Big Ant games. The Academy enables you to create & download players, scenarios and even stadiums from the community.
This can cover up the game’s lack of licences, with players like
Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Venus Williams created by other
fans of the game. Download these and your Australian Open journey just became
If you are a tennis fan, and are eagerly waiting for the
Australian Open, AO Tennis 2 is the game you simply have to be playing.
Perhaps the best gameplay we have seen from a tennis game, there is little to fault about Big Ant’s release.
SERVE'S UP: AO Tennis 2 is worth a purchase
The only challenge? The Australian Open is served up on 20th January and runs through to 2nd February. With no other tournament licences, you may struggle to continue with the game as the season goes on.
That said, the tennis season is only just commencing and if you find yourself you addicted, who knows, you may be still playing by the time the US Open comes around in September.
AO Tennis 2 will be released on January 9th.
RealSport Rating: 4 stars