Virtua Tennis 2009 (Hands-On) (Wii) Preview

By Mike Mason 13.05.2009 8

Review for Virtua Tennis 2009 (Hands-On) on Wii

Once The Conduit was all packed away, a magical disc containing Virtua Tennis 2009 appeared, much to my delight. Together with the game's producer from SEGA, NintendoLife and SEGA Nerds I played through a few games, passing a single controller back and forth. The aim for the Wii version was to make it as fully featured as the HD versions as possible, and we were assured that it has everything (such as the various online modes) included, though I couldn't verify this completely at this stage. Screenshots are quite deceptive however; while it doesn't look massively sharp in those, in motion it does look pretty good.

It's interesting that Virtua Tennis got pulled out at an event dedicated to the game with the most customizable controls ever, because Sumo Digital's Wii effort is no slouch in this department either. You've got the Wii Sports set up with no nunchuk and a standard remote, but if you fancy a bit more of a challenge, you can chuck in a 'chuk and control your movements fully. Like things a bit more realistic? Pop in a Motion Plus pack (with or without nunchuk, again) and you're off. I didn't get to play the game without Motion Plus, but did watch others doing so. It appears to work in much the same way as Wii Sports, but to help you out - and no doubt even the court against Motion Plus users if you don't want to play that way - a little bar appears above your characters head that shows you exactly where your swipes are sending the ball. It doesn't work any differently to other Wii tennis games in this respect, but rather shows you what's going on while others don't.

Motion Plus is no doubt what most of you are interested in, and I did get to play around with it. Having not touched Motion Plus before it was quite a learning experience. Put simply, the remote feels more complete with it; there's not an uncomfortable weight or size increase with it attached. This little thing is, if used properly, going to make Wii behave as was originally envisioned. In the case of Virtua Tennis, it means you can't be a slouch and do practically nothing - you have to play the game as though you're playing tennis. Rather than tiny flicks you must follow through with complete swing motions to direct in where you want, adding spin with a twist of your wrist as you go. Want to do a lob, a drop shot? Just do it. You can practically do any shot you want, if what some of the more tennis-experienced players were doing is anything to go by.

Screenshot for Virtua Tennis 2009 (Hands-On) on Wii

Before each set you must point at your player for a few seconds to allow the remote to configure itself, which seemed cumbersome at first but became less of a bother the more I played. While you might have got away with swinging straight up in Wii Sports, you don't get that luxury in Virtua Tennis Motion Plus mode; do that when you serve and it's an instant fault, as I learnt to my chagrin. There's no shame in admitting I did pretty terribly all around for the majority of the time I played, though I redeemed myself by beating the AI towards the end, after I got to grips with the system. Some tennis knowledge will certainly help (sadly, I don't have any!). Remember learning how to play Wii Sports back in the day? Using Motion Plus is a bit like that; you'll muck up initially but start to pick it up fairly quickly.

Using the nunchuk is, of course, the optimal choice if you want full control (combined with Motion Plus it's challenging, but definitely feasible with some practice), but if you're using the remote alone you still have limited movement afforded by the d-pad. A press of up will make you rush the net, down having the opposite effect, while left and right allow you to adjust slightly. A great touch is the ability to mix and match control options: you can plug and unplug nunchuks easily as you go along, and multiple players needn't play the same way. You could, for example, have a four player match where one person uses the remote alone, another uses a remote and a nunchuk, another uses a remote with Motion Plus and the final person has Motion Plus with a nunchuk. There really are control options for all skill levels.

Screenshot for Virtua Tennis 2009 (Hands-On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

I only got to spend around 15 minutes actually playing Virtua Tennis 2009, due to sharing the 40 minutes with the other sites, but I'm looking forward to playing more of the tennis game that could potentially, from early impressions, topple Wii Sports. There's an event dedicated solely to the game coming up in a matter of days, so keep your eyes on C3 for more in the very near future for fuller impressions.


Sumo Digital







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


Sounds good! But if I would get one tennis game, it would be EA's Grand Slam.

Definately! EAs game has me really excited. EA wouldnt shut up about motion plus. And it seems development has been that wii is the primary format, 360 and PS3 second.
Sega were so quite like they werent positive about what they had.
Plus the outfits are dated and looks like it should have come out last year. Nadal isnt sleeveless anymore.

The point at screen sounds really cumbersome and according to IGN EAs game is more seemless as this calibration is behind the scenes.
I trust the game looks good when playing but the colour palette is so washed out like previous tiger games. Not good!
Hearsay from IGN suggests the game on wii was like most ports- an afterthought and now the push back on the date. Only reviews will decide where my cash goes. If both are rated good will still be more excited for EAs

( Edited 12.05.2009 17:51 by meeto_0 )

Virtua Tennis Wii isn't a port, it was just developed side by side with the other formats. The delay isn't to do with Motion Plus implementation (it's working perfectly well), though it is probably to get it closer to the release date of the add on.

Hopefully we'll have a clearer picture next week, anyhow. Smilie

Nice one Mike, sounds better than I thought - wondering though what you mean about the having to point at your character before a shot? Sounds a bit weird and pointless! (ba dum ch)

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

I'm not sure why you have to point so much - perhaps so the Wii knows that the remote is being held in a particular position, horizontally - but my understand is that it's so the gyroscope in Motion Plus can reset/configure itself before each set (corrected that typo, it's before each set, not shot!) to ensure accuracy.

sadly reading back through this preview it really doesnt tell me anything. ITs like an official nintendo mag preview. I suppose 15mins doesnt allow for any depth but still.
Really need a tennis player to play it. They would instinctly try every shot available. Does a short slice, drop shot, lob, down the line backhand, loopy forehand all work. Can I slice my serve out wide.

Just because I didn\'t list them it doesn\'t mean I didn\'t try what I could; it was mildly implied with the \'drop shot, lob\' line that these would work but I suppose it wasn\'t very clear. I also tried things like moving the remote very slightly forward to just about meet the ball as it came at me to give a light tap over the net - worked perfectly. One of the other guys was clearly better at tennis than me and was doing all sorts.

As you say, while I was with the game for 40 minutes I only had about 15 minutes actual play time, and I don\'t try to disguise that. It was a first impression and intended to be brief. I\'ll be playing the game for at least three times that amount in a few days, so expanded thoughts will come then.

EDIT: Have actually added in a couple of lines to address these points within the article itself.

( Edited 12.05.2009 23:58 by Mason )

I wonder if this will be any better than the last 3 games in the series. I used to spend hours playing the mini games on Virtua Tennis 2 and the world tour section was just awsome. This one should Wi-Fi but I dought it will. I also want there to be the character creation to be put in it as well.

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