Tennis Elbow 4 is a highly addictive, fast-paced and competitive sport that uses the skills of both hand-eye coordination as well as fluid movement. Its charm lies in easy accessibility and simplicity which has made it immensely popular amongst players from all walks of life. However, Tennis elbow 4’s popularity may not last for long if developers don’t make significant changes soon due to an increasingly overworked market saturated with similar games.
Tennis Elbow 4 is a game that has been in development for a while. It will be released on the Steam store on June 27th, 2017.
There hasn’t been a lack of tennis video games on the market in recent years, which has been great if you’re a lover of the sport wishing to channel your passion on a virtual court. AO Tennis and Tennis World Tour 2, both of which received a sequel in 2020, are two separate series for players who want to play their games on a console. For those who prefer PC gaming, programs like Full Ace Tennis Simulator and the more new Tennis Manager 2021 provide even more opportunity to pick up a racket. This takes us to the conclusion of my Early Access Review of Tennis Elbow 4.
Early Access Review of Tennis Elbow 4
If you’ve spent any time in the tennis gaming world and read any message boards, you’ll notice that Tennis Elbow 2013 receives more accolades than any other game (save possibly Top Spin 4). Because of how much it has been enhanced by modifications in the meantime, it is still a barometer by which other tennis games are compared over a decade after its original release.
You can imagine how high the stakes were when Tennis Elbow 4, the fourth entry in the series, was eventually published last summer. The caveat to its reveal is that the game is still in early access, and the makers, Mana Games, are clear about saying that some features of the game, such as players extending for balls and high volleys at the net, are still a work in progress until you load it.
Regardless, the game has a lot of promise and is surprisingly simple to pick up for newbies. It doesn’t have the same level of irritation that other tennis games might have while learning them. It also has a complex Mode of Work that allows you to compete in both singles and doubles competitions while increasing your player’s skill set with each match. Naturally, there are some rough edges at this time, as well as some clumsy animations and the absence of internet play. However, it is to be hoped that at least some of these flaws will be addressed by developers or community mods.
Let’s take a look at what aspects of Tennis Elbow 4 are already hitting their stride, as well as where it’s straying from the path and has to be fine-tuned if it wants to stand out from the crowd.
What I Enjoy
Club de Formation
Although the game lacks a formal tutorial, it does have a training mode in which you may choose your preferred players and location before honing your abilities by hitting the ball back and forth. It allows you to learn all of the many methods to hit the ball, get a feel for moving about the court, and see how the ball bounces off each of the nine surfaces you would see in competitions.
While it might be nice if the game actually walked you through how and when to use each kind of shot, it still serves its purpose without holding your hand through everything. You can also play a low stakes match pitting your dream competitors against each other within Club de Formation if you want to see what it might look like to have legends like Steffi Graf and Venus Williams square off against each other.
Tennis Elbow 4 may be the simplest tennis game to pick up and start hitting balls straight away out of all the recent releases. That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to master the game immediately; there are certain intricacies to the controls that will take some time to learn if you want to be able to rocket those wins down the lines. As it comes to setting your player in the optimum area to strike with any effectiveness, the most unique part of the game’s controls when compared to other tennis games is a crucially significant one. On every ball that comes your way, an on-screen indication that varies in color from red to green will advise you where you should manoeuvre your player on the court so that you have the greatest opportunity of maximizing power and accuracy in your return. Naturally, with higher difficulties, this signal is absent or may be turned off in the options.
Aside from that, there are a variety of shot types you’ve come to anticipate from previous games in your arsenal that you’ll want to understand so you can unleash them when the time comes. Slices, top spins, drop shots, and lobs are among the shots that might help in circumstances when you need to adjust the tempo to buy some time to get your player back in the center of the court. Regardless of the sort of shot you’re taking, it’s critical to keep the corresponding button pressed all the way through your shot for the greatest results. Don’t attempt to aim too early.
The controllers’ sole flaw is in the way they handle serves. The technique looks to be rather simple, requiring simply a button push and the holding of a direction, although it does appear to entail some RNG to account for your player’s service traits. It’s not a bad system, and it succeeds in making it more difficult to regularly hit the hardest of serves securely on the opposite side of the court, but it’s not the most tough or enjoyable of mini-games to represent a vital element of the sport.
Gameplay & Customization Options
The good news is that Tennis Elbow 4 already does an excellent job of recreating the cat-and-mouse game that occurs organically while attempting to predict an opponent’s next move as the ball swings back and forth across the net without changing any of the game’s parameters. The mechanics in the game are also delightfully realistic, as hitting a ball while in a terrible position might result in some insane ricochets off your racket that never make it over the net.
Even better, the game gives you a lot of choices for customizing your experience, which makes it easier to tailor the game to your tastes. The complexity of your computer opponents is perhaps the best illustration of this, since you may pick not just from six distinct difficulty levels, but also from ten different levels within each of those difficulties. Another wonderful feature is the ability to adjust the camera angle to select its height and how far zoomed in on the court you want it to be, which can be really useful when trying to figure out how to interpret the ball’s trajectory as it approaches you.
Mode of Work
The Mode of Work in Tennis Elbow 4 is easily the game’s crowning achievement and has clearly been lovingly crafted by fans of the sport to make your climb through the ranks be as rewarding as possible. With an absolutely overwhelming number of tournaments (400+) available to be entered on both the junior and pro tours, you’ll need to start out by playing your way into lesser tournaments as a relative unknown before working your way up to participating in any Grand Slam events (unless you’d rather take control of one of the game’s 3,500+ players that are largely based on real life ones but with their names slightly altered for legal reasons).
Your journey will begin with your player possessing a limited set of skills that you’ll be able to customize by selecting an archetype and then investing skill points in whatever areas you wish to make your strengths at the outset. As you play in tournament matches, you’ll start to accrue more points that you can use to build up your attributes and become a better player. It’s not as if there any fancy cutscenes or anything like you might expect from a AAA title’s Mode of Work, but it’s the kind of game that encourages using imagination to craft your own narratives as you run up against the same players regularly in tournaments throughout your career.
Regular Updates & Mod Potential
The game’s development staff is definitely tiny, and it’s easy to get the sense from reading the several update notes during the course of the game’s early access period that it’s actually just one person working on the upgrades. Fortunately, this developer seems to be pretty prompt in implementing such changes. They’re also very sensitive to community comments, replying to practically every remark on Steam regarding the game. This looks to be a labor of love that will undergo frequent adjustments before to its official release, assuming they don’t go on any type of lengthy vacation or become unwell (which tragically has occurred in the past based on update notes). There’s also a potential that the game will become as popular with the modding community as Tennis Elbow 2013, which will only help it enhance its chances of being a better game in the future.
What I Don’t Care For
Graphics & Animations
Despite the fact that Tennis Elbow 4 comes from a smaller studio with less resources than other tennis series like as AO Tennis and Tennis World Tour (so I’m giving it a pass), the game’s visuals are unmistakably retro. Because the aesthetics are a generation or two behind, the player models can’t help but seem blocky and rigid, and the motions may be uncomfortable or clumsy at times. The look of the different courts during international events only varies to a little degree. Throughout a match, they are terribly motionless and lifeless.
It’s also hilarious to get a notice before to a match explaining that if you see any odd animations in the game, it’s because your placement was bad – thus making it seem as though the animation system has no flaws right now. The game’s use of a notice about its own restrictions to persuade you that you’ve done something wrong is bordering on gaslighting. Regardless matter who is genuinely to blame, there are certain to be some uncomfortable moments that throw me for a loop during a lengthy rally. Players will alter their bodies in response to where they are on the court in respect to the ball, which may result in some shuffling of the racket from one hand to the other and whiplash-inducing 360 spins at the last possible second before making contact with the ball.
Sound & Music
If you wanted to silence the whole game of Tennis Elbow 4 from the minute it began loading, you wouldn’t be missing out on anything. The menu music is annoying and repetitive, almost demanding you to put on some of your own music or listen to a podcast instead. The sounds of a match are only somewhat better, with grunts, bounces, crowd noises, and even the foreign accents of officials when appropriate failing to bring you to the occasion.
Playing Games Online
Yes, the player pool is obviously bound to be small (especially with the game still in early release), so it’s a bit unavoidable that finding match at any given time is going to present some challenges unless you’re able to coordinate ahead of time with a friend. As someone who plays more on consoles and has become used to straightforward matchmaking, the menu for Playing Games Online in Tennis Elbow 4 is hard to find for starters, and then comes across as confusing once you do manage to locate it.
Finding playlists that match what you’re looking for isn’t as simple as pressing a button. Instead, it entails looking for an opponent or creating your own match and waiting for another player to join on. Let’s hope that this improves with future updates, and that online competitions become more accessible to individuals who play the game often and want to see how they compare to others.
In some ways, it may be a little too early to tell whether Tennis Elbow 4 is the kind of game that gets lost in the shuffle with all of the other tennis titles, or if it will eventually attract a niche PC gaming crowd that loves tennis. It certainly shows plenty of potential here in early release and that, alongside with the reputation of its existing series, could eventually make this a contender for the Grand Slam of tennis video games. The foundation is already in place with its emphasis on positioning and precise timing in your various strokes, managing to replicate the fundamentals and strategy of the sport in a way that’s fun and rewarding. The Mode of Work is deep enough that the gradual progression of your created player over the course of events will keep you invested and coming back for more.
There are some weaknesses to the game though, and the biggest one that hopefully get some updates relates to how the visuals are lagging behind other releases. There is no question Tennis Elbow 4 right now lacks in detail and fluid animations. Playing Games Online is hampered by an absence of decent menus and matchmaking, making it necessary to become an active member of the Tennis Elbow 4 community if you ever want to find a match most of the time.
Tennis Elbow 4 is an Early Access game that was released on Steam. The game has received mixed reviews from players and critics alike. Reference: tennis elbow 4 real players.
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