When we look at the tennis genre on the current generation consoles, Sega Sports tennis series is always the first to come to mind. It was truly the first great tennis game ever created for any platform. When Namco saw the success Sega had with their tennis title on the Dreamcast, they created Smashcourt Tennis Pro Tournament for the PS2. The original Smashcourt appeared to be just a remake of Sega’s brilliant tennis title and it worked quite well. Now a few years later Namco is back on the courts again in Smashcourt Tennis Pro Tournament 2 for the Playstation 2.
You know it really surprises me that we don’t see more tennis games out on the market these days. I may be a little biased on this, being an avid tennis player myself, but with the success of the recent Xbox game Top Spin, it surprises me that more haven’t tried to join in on the action. We all know that tennis isn’t going to rank up to any of the major sports like football or basketball, but the sport sure makes for extremely fun and competitive video games.
When Smashcourt Tennis Pro Tournament was released I must say I was really impressed with just how solid the gameplay was. For being the first game in the Smashcourt series I was definitely impressed and was looking forward to a sequel to the game. Now Namco has come back with the second edition of Smash Court, and it has some really nice updates. But are they enough to put the game over the top? Not quite.
Smashcourt Tennis Pro Tournament 2 has quite a few different game modes to choose from. You have the Arcade mode, which has you going up against the computer, Exhibition mode for one to four players, Tutorial Mode, which is very helpful, Challenge Mode, which will test your skills, and the most important of all, Pro Tour Mode. To start with the tutorial mode which without would leave many of us out in the dark. The tutorial mode does a great job of getting you used to the somewhat difficult controls and allows you to learn the ways of the game.
The bread and butter of Smashcourt Pro Tournament 2 is the Pro Tour mode, which is really what holds the game together. In this mode you create your character from the ground up. Starting him off in a few smaller tournaments and a lot of training exercises your goal is to get him to go from the bottom to the top. By successfully completing tournaments and training exercises this allows your player to level up which inevitably allows you to boost your player’s skills.
The best part of the Pro Tour mode is the ability to play through the mode in two different manners. You can go the easy way with the mission mode, or you can go the hard/long route and go with the regular mode. In the mission mode you are normally given one mission to complete each set, you win the mission you win the set. In the regular mode you just play out the match like you would in a normal tennis mode. The reason I prefer the mission mode is that it doesn’t wear you down as much so you will want to play the game for a lot longer having mission to complete. The Pro Tour mode has quite a bit to offer and really will keep you occupied for quite some time. What I found most enjoyable about this mode is that you can really feel the difference in the competition as you go from the bottom ranks all the way to the top.
The gameplay of Smashcourt Tennis Pro Tournament 2 is solid but it’s no Top Spin. The one thing that I believe is missing from the game is that truly smooth feeling, where you just glide around the court. The game has been updated with the new flat shot, drop shot, and lunge shot. These do help quite a bit for making the game even more complex. Overall the gameplay has some great modes but has two downsides that hold it back from being the best of the bunch. One there is no online support for the game, and two the gameplay just isn’t as smooth as we have seen in other games.
Wow I remember when playing the first Smashcourt Tennis Pro Tournament; it was not the prettiest game in the world. In fact you could not tell what pro you were playing as. The courts were decent, and the animations were average, but it really wasn’t a great looking tennis game.
Now a few years later you can see Namco has really tried to polish up their title and made it a lot easier on the eyes. The player models in Smashcourt 2 have been detailed quite a bit more this time around and you can actually tell whom you are playing as. The courts have a lot more detail and the animations of the courts work really nicely.
You can see that they have upgraded a lot of the graphics in the game but it just isn’t enough yet. There is still plenty of room for improvement on the characters and on the animation in the game. That will come in time and I am sure in the third edition of Smashcourt we are going to have a beautiful looking tennis game.
The one thing that I think is a given with tennis games that is get a group of friends together and play a tennis game and you are bound to have a great time. Smashcourt’s Pro Tour mode really is a breath of fresh air and I think probably the best career mode in the tennis world today. The game is great for playing with friends or individually. The score would have been higher had there been online support, but with that not being included we are left with a good amount of fun instead of great.
With Smashcourt Tennis Pro Tournament 2 you are given a solid tennis experience. It’s not the best one on the current generation consoles, but it is the best PS2 tennis game out there. The game offers the solid Pro Tour mode, plenty of multiplayer action, and good graphics. Any tennis enthusiast looking for a game for there PS2; I would highly recommend Smashcourt Tennis Pro Tournament 2.
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.