Trust me, there was nobody more excited and subsequently a little disappointed by AO Tennis. I could always tell that the core gameplay was there, but still needed quite a bit of polishing around the edges.
After 10+ updates and the last one being quite major, it’s honestly quite insane to see just how far this game has come over the last few weeks.
The last update specifically has completely changed player movement and the shot animation. The weird jammed in shot that looked unrealistic is now completely gone, with almost every shot having a nice, natural wind up and follow through motion.
This makes timing your shot a lot easier as the shot actually looks like a proper tennis shot. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s still times where your player completely missed the ball, but it’s 10x more consistent and almost always feels like it’s your fault rather than a shoddy animation.
Volleying has also improved. Previously, all volleys seemed erratic and would either smash back into the court or smash way long or wide. Whilst this still happens, it does feel like you have a lot more control over the shot.
The A.I seems to have improved quite considerably too. I can’t recall the A.I ever challenging against me in casual matches, but now they seem to do it when it’s a close call, adding to the tension.
The other major criticism was doubles. Previously, your doubles partner would just stand there and play absolutely no part in the match. Now, they’ll hit volley after volley, actively look for the ball and even switch to the other side of the court (like a good double’s player should).
Sound has also been improved. There’s ooh and ahhs in the crowd in a long rally, cheers after a winner has been hit and music playing between change of ends and whilst there’s still no commentary, it no longer feels as if you’re playing in an empty stadium. There’s still a little bit of an overuse of these audio cues, but I’m sure Big Ant will refine it over time (as they did with the celebrating animations).