There are only a handful of times a year I actually get to review a tennis title. The sport just doesn’t get a ton of love from game developers, despite its deep roots in the industry with the conception of Pong. However we have seen some solid titles over the past few years, ranging from arcade to simulation style tennis, which proves that tennis can be made into a great video game. Today we are checking out Hot Shots Tennis, yes you read that right the same Hot Shots that are usually hitting the green grass of the golf links are now hitting the hard courts of tennis. Can Sony’s arcade sports title keep its good name on the tennis circuit? Read our full review to find out!
The Hot Shots series has always been known for having just an over abundance of "cute characters", and just an overall somewhat goofy feeling. However that goofy feeling has also translated into some really solid arcade golf titles that don’t necessarily take themselves seriously, but still are enjoyable nonetheless. In terms of Hot Shots Tennis this same premise has transpired on over, and actually was done with a good deal of success.
On Hot Shots Tennis there is a lack of game modes. You get just Challenge, Training, and Fun Time modes, which is rather disappointing. There really isn’t a whole lot of depth to the experience in that the modes are rather simplistic and don’t offer up an extended amount of depth that we have found in previous Hot Shots titles. In general, Hot Shots Tennis main incentive for further gameplay is to unlock new content, but unlike once again previous Hot Shots titles, the unlockables aren’t overly exciting.
The big thing about Hot Shots Tennis is the gameplay, which is actually extremely solid on all aspects of the court. Like many other tennis games, the face buttons are your controls, and thus you have your typical top spin, lop, and standard shot, which make up the strategy in the game. One thing that Hot Shots Tennis shies away from is the net game, which doesn’t seem to ever be a very good idea, whether you’re playing the computer or a friend, as you will either get lobbed over or seeing a passing shot fly past you. Serving in Hot Shots tennis also is pretty standard, with a nice easy meter to time your serves.
In general, I found that this was a title meant to be played with friends and thus I had the most enjoyment with this title during those times. Being that this is an arcade tennis, there are a bunch of emotions flying on the court, the simplistic view also makes things really just fun to play. Overall Hot Shots Tennis is a good overall arcade tennis title that is a little short on features but still packs enough punch to make for an enjoyable experience.
Have you played a Hot Shots title in the past? Well if you have, then you already have a fantastic idea of what the visuals of Hot Shots Tennis is going to look like because not much has changed. You still have the big headed characters all with their own goofy styles and characteristics. The courts themselves are also definitely on the cartoon side of things, but actually have some really nice details, especially for the Playstation 2. In general this is a solid looking game with nothing but good things to say.
As shallow as the modes are in Hot Shots Tennis, I still found myself really enjoying my time with this game. The computer AI has some weaknesses even on some of the higher difficulty levels, however the overall competitive nature of tennis definitely works with this title and makes the experience even more engaging. Multiplayer is by far this game at its best, which is why I did find it a bit disappointing that there was no online play. In general, Hot Shots Tennis is a solid game with a lot of enjoyable arcade tennis action to be had.
In the end, Hot Shots Tennis may not be the best arcade tennis game ever made, but it is a title that carries a good amount of enjoyable content that I think both fans of the franchise and tennis can enjoy. The game isn’t perfect, but for anyone wanting to check out an arcade tennis title for the PS2 should definitely give this title a look.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.