Virtually the perfect tennis game.
I’m a bit of a closet tennis fan, I must be honest. I don’t get to watch as much as I would like to with everything else going on, but I do like to keep up with all of the happenings, such as Andy Murray’s recent maiden Grand Slam win at Rushing Meadows. Despite his achievement, he still didn’t smile, but this game may get one from you.
It may lack some of the licenses that its console rival, Grand Slam Tennis may have but it still features all of the main players in the rosters. The four main tournaments are all here in their glory too, and wonderfully represented, its just a shame that they are called by their real names.
Not that it really matters when everything else works so well. The best place to start would be the career mode, and as you’d expect in this mode you start at the bottom of the ladder with a player you create yourself. You can even use the front camera of the Vita to get a lovely mugshot of yourself and make the player look like you! Once this is done you then are launched into the career, a sequence of different seasons based around the main tournaments.
The objective through this is to raise your profile, through a series of mini games, set pieces and tournaments in the alloted time before a season starts. Like a board game, each day is a turn in which you use a card determining how many spots around the board you move. The amount of turns is how many days before the big tournament, and along the way you get to improve your stats and standing. You quickly get used to how to best to move around, and take advantage of the many different mini games, which are a welcome distraction from the main purpose of the game.
The differing games feature football, egg collecting, continuing rallies with fans blowing from the sides, poker and a bomb exploding game, and these all feature six different levels of skill. Successful completion of these will increase your stats, unlock special shot traits, equipment and your stamina. All of this helps when you then face off against the players in the tournaments.
The tennis itself is simply wonderful, with a wide array of shot styles and types available at your disposal, in a very well presented and simply beautiful visual showpiece. During a match, the only permanent visual distractions are two bars along the top of the screen, and player numbers. all of the scoring is done via the actual arena displays, which is very well done. The scoring comes up before each play, and the speed of the shot flashes briefly after service but keeps the display clear from distactions and shows of the detail. Even the crowd looks amazing.
All of the players bear a decent likeness to the player the share the name with in the roster, although there isn’t a very large list, comprising of 11 from the mens roster, a paltry 7 from the womens (although it does give a place to current British Number one, Laura Robson) and six legend spaces.
All of the arenas look fantastic, this is simply beautiful and another fine example of the power within the Vita, and the sounds are quite good as well, with many of the typical grunts and noises associated with the player of choice also present. That is most of what you will be listening too though, as there is no commentary present, which is a shame. I’d even be happy to listen to Andrew Castle pretend that he knows what he is talking about. Well, it’s not like he’s doing much since he left Daybreak.
All of the mini games are availble outside of the career mode if you wanted to play for fun, or to practice, as well as a few other options. You will find a nice little touch Vs mode, which plays out like an updated version of Pong and two players face of at the same time, using alternate swipes of the touch screen to start and prolong the rallies, a camera mode using the rear cameras to plant the character models from the game into real life surroundings and an exhibition mode. One other mode is Arcade, in which you can play either singles or doubles in one game each “finals” and upon completion face off against a legend for the championship. I wasn’t able to do this in my review time, as Boris Becker absolutely owned me.
There is also a multiplayer option, both AD HOC and Online. In the local mode you can either create or join a “clubhouse” to organise your matches, I suspect the majority of your multplayer action will be spent online. You choices here are Ranked Match, Player Match ad a look at the rankings, and the option to choose what messages you’d like displayed when playing. You can also create a lobby through these modes and it all works very well. The matches I played in were all very fluid and I did not totice any lag at all.
All in all it’s a great package, with quite a lot to entertain you and it looks amazing. It has a cuople of gripes, but they are minor. If you love tennis, this should be in your collection.