Is it 40-Love at first sight? Or is it game, set, Matchpoint for the latest Xbox Gamepass entry into the PC Games market…
What’s the first thing you think of when watching tennis? Well.. besides “female shrieks and groans that make a porn star blush”. It’s the tactical game. It’s not just folks blasting away at each other (although that is a part of it, especially with modern technologies and training. It’s the tactical game. And that’s what Kalypso Games and Torus are going for in their latest PC Games release, Matchpoint Tennis Championships.
Tennis’s back and forth nature means that while many points are won by one impossible to return shot, more often than not, to win a point requires a player to put his opponent under pressure time and time again until they make that impossible shot or hit it out or into the net. That’s what Matchpoint focuses on and they do it incredibly well.
I’m about 5-10 hours into the game’s career mode, and my player is not going to trouble Venus or Serena Williams any time soon, so she has to play a very tactical game. Working a variety of shots around the court, doing my best to move the opponent out of position so that when I get the chance, I can finally put one out of my opponents reach.
Matchpoint’s Pinpoint Control System
The control scheme for Matchpoint is pretty innovative. Most Tennis Games require you to move the player throughout the shot process, while simultaneously trying to aim the shot, something that can be very difficult for new folks to get into. Here, while you still have to chase after the ball to start, once you set a shot, the game will continue your movement while a shadow will appear on the opponent’s side of the court, indicating where you want the shot to land.
Once you see the shadow, you need to place that where you want the shot to go, using the controller. If you’re under pressure, you’ll have to move fast just to get the target back into play, but it offers a really nice risk-reward factor where if you have a little more time to set up your shot, do you go for one right next to the line to put the opponent under pressure, or do you try to keep the point on an even keel, and look for a better opportunity later.
My created player doesn’t have the killer shot, so she needed to keep the opponent under pressure so they wouldn’t do the same back to her, leading to lengthy back and forth rallies that is tennis at its best., where the crowd is holding their breath as players make shot after shot, building up to a crescendo. I had rallies go 20-30 shots a few times, and there was always that release of breath when the point was over, whether in relief when the point was won, or disappointment when the point was lost.
What I don’t Love-40 about the game…
If you can’t tell, I’m really enjoying the gameplay, which is good, because well, while the body models are fine, the facial technology used in the game, is… less than great.
I got this via XBox Gamepass’s PC Games section (Ultimate PC), but I think that if the game play holds up at higher levels, this is a game I’d be willing to pay full price for. Just please, developers. Work on the faces, please?
David "SirFozzie" Yellope is the operator of the "An 8 bit mind in an 8 Gigabyte World". (an8bitmind.com) While not QUITE yet at the stage of waving his cane and telling the kids to "get off his lawn", he does admit he owns three canes.