So this is kind of weird. This is Sega Sports
Tennis for the PlayStation 2, which is actually a port of a Dreamcast game called Tennis 2K2…which
was the American version of Virtua Tennis 2. Don’t worry. That’s the most complicated
thing about this game. It’s…that whole paragraph of names…for
the PlayStation 2. So this game was originally released in 2001
as, again…Tennis 2K2, Virtua Tennis 2 internationally, but regardless, very much a Dreamcast game.
Since, like, five people bought a Dreamcast, it only made sense to bring this outstanding
tennis game to a platform where people could actually play it. And to change the name. Erase all the evidence. But obviously, the game itself is very much
the same. There’s a roster of 16 real tennis players, from Serena Williams to Lindsay Davenport
and some awesome Swedish guy named Magnus Norman. Sounds like the guitarist for some
melodic death metal band. Turns out he’s just a tennis player. Which is, like, the
exact opposite profession. Mathematically. Anyway, pick a player and hit the clay. I
think that’s a tennis phrase, right? And that’s where Sega Sports Tennis really shines.
This is a fantastic game of tennis, pairing an immediately accessible control scheme with
silky smooth gameplay. Move with your choice of analog stick or d-pad, use Circle, Square
and X for different shots. And what’s brilliant is that…this is pick-up-and-play
simplicity worked into what is an otherwise complex tennis game. For starters, the AI is just…brutal. I mean,
it’s not an easy feat to advance in the game’s tournament mode. Especially when
it slams you with the Williams sisters back to back. Poor Monica Seles…I lost, like,
ten times in a row before I finally figured out Venus’s tendencies. Then I get to Serena,
and it’s like a whole new game. That’s kind of awesome. Maddening, but awesome. And you know, for a decade-old sports game,
this thing is actually pretty packed with content. You’ve got a tournament mode, exhibition
matches, this RPG-like World Tour that gives you hours of matches and even character-strengthening
minigames. The game certainly isn’t short on content, and for its time, it’s downright
impressive. Of course, this is eleven years later, and
Sega Sports Tennis does show some rust. It’s not a great looking game, even by PS2 standards.
But the gameplay is as awesome as ever. Sports games are, by their annual nature, sort of
disposable products. But if you want a really good tennis game for your PS2, Sega Sports
Tennis still has it.