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Grand Slam Tennis (Wii) Review

Review for Grand Slam Tennis on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Looks can be deceiving. Whilst Grand Slam Tennis looks a bit like someone vomited all over it, it plays like someone covered it in bacon, beer, roast chicken and other such delicious goodness. This is also a game of a number of firsts: it is one of the first games to use Wii MotionPlus, it is the first tennis game EA have done in about fifteen years and it is the first tennis game in which the ball is about four times its normal size.

If there's one thing EA are consistently good at, it's sports games. They always get the best licenses for their titles so you get all the real players and stadiums, they always have good menus, good music, good presentation and everything is all very nice and slick. Grand Slam Tennis, though questionable graphically, possesses the same amount of quality.

So, you're all probably here to read about how the game controls. Well, I'll start be quickly going over what it is like without MotionPlus. Put simply, it is hilariously easy - think Wii Sports Tennis, but your characters have arms rather than strange floating hands. You'll nearly always hit it, nearly always hit it well and nearly always win. Nice.

So, what difference does MotionPlus make? Rather unsurprisingly, a lot. All of a sudden every little movement you make has a huge impact on what happens when you strike the ball. Unlike in SEGA's Virtua Tennis, your motions are actually replicated rather than second-guessed which allows for a great range of control and almost 1:1 control. If you put spin on the ball it will spin, if you hit across it you will get fade on the ball, etc.. Basically, if you do something with your Wii-mote it will happen in the game. Better yet, and to add to the realism, if you don't hit the ball right, it will go out. Just like in real life, if you suck, you'll suck in the virtual world too.

Screenshot for Grand Slam Tennis on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Whilst this notion of 'sucking' might not appeal to everyone, it does mean that skill and the ability to play well is rewarded, which on the Wii is often lacking. Whilst it might look a bit basic, or as EA would tell you 'funky' and 'stylised', it certainly serves the purpose and makes things nice and easy to see and do. The ball is huge and the players are blocky, but it all sort of has this nice slick feel to it. Chuck in some fairly neat game commentary and decent crowd noises and you have a highly enjoyable game.

What's particularly good about this game is the attention to detail. All the different players keep their individual styles, so if you hit hard with a big hitter it'll be a bigger hit, if you try and hit with spin and angle with someone like Murray and it'll be better than trying it with someone like Nadal who is better at hitting straight with lots of top-spin. The sheer number of players is great too; from current players to true legends of the game, GST has them all. And the courts are real too. But then, EA do like licensing and whatnot.

The main issue, as in VT, is how you move about the court. Whilst the game can guess where you want to move for you, it doesn't do it very well and controlling with the d-pad or nunchuk is clunky and fairly unintuitive. This leads to you often running the wrong way, or simply not getting to the ball quickly enough and missing it, or getting confused, or killing somebody...well, you get the idea. Another major problem is how the game goes about pulling off lobs and drop shots. Rather than being clever and working out the motion that these shots involves, EA have mapped them to the A and B buttons respectively. Having to push a button in a game isn't exactly a cardinal sin, but it takes away so much of the realism of this title.

Things aren't too thrilling if you don't have anyone else to play with either. You can play your way through all the Grand Slams and have a bit of fun in mini-games and whatnot, but it doesn't really compare to the fun you can have in multiplayer, mainly because the AI is a bit pants. Thankfully, the inclusion of online play allows even loners to get the experience of playing with another human. A good thing for hermits everywhere.

Screenshot for Grand Slam Tennis on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Really good use of MotionPlus and with a bit of practice and playing about with things you'll soon be playing like a pro. What's great is the attention to detail; this game really does play a lot like real tennis, which makes for a really rewarding experience.

Graphics

I really wanted to like them...and I sort of do. Whilst it might be very simplistic and basic looking, the presentation is slick from the cinematic opening sequences to the action replays and all the general 'feel' of the title. That's not to say the graphics are good, but somehow they sort of work.

Sound

Nice commentary and all the usual EA shine we've come to expect. Good stuff.

Value

Single player is dull, multiplayer is class, though you'll need to shell out for more Wii MotionPlus units to get the best out of it. Still, there's an online mode too.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

A really good first attempt at using Wii MotionPlus and a genuinely enjoyable experience. Whilst it might have a few flaws in terms of gameplay and it does look decidedly rubbish, the basic game is very good with some surprising subtleties. EA have shown great commitment to a new technology and tried to implement proper 1:1 controls and for the most part they pull it off. By far and away the best of the two MotionPlus tennis offerings.

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10.07.2009

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Developer

EA Sports

Publisher

EA

Genre

Sport

Players

2

Online enabled

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (7 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Good review James - I totally agree about the lobbing and drop-shots. The rest of the game uses motion control so well that then having to press a button to achieve a particular move seems like a major step backwards. Perhaps that can be put down to the MotionPlus tech being in its infancy and EA wanting to focus more on the general accuracy of swings.

Commentary was a very nice inclusion, I felt, especially after playing VT with its annoying 'rock' tunes playing constantly. The split-screen approach for two-player also works FAR better than in VT where the second player is lumped at the top of the court and thus has trouble playing returns properly.

Overall GST is a bloody fantastic experience for tennis fans, or even those that liked tinkering with Wii Sports Tennis for a bit of a laugh.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Good review have to disagree with a few things. The Commentary is rubbish and far too repetitive. The wrong commentary comes up quite often. Pat will tell me Im two points from the set when its only 3all. Or comment on how hard I put that forehand into the corner when I just volleyed.

I agree The AI is terrible especially for the serve and volleyers. There approach shots are laughable.

My main two problems are 1: some of the characters are unbalanced. When playing online against someone with the hustle ability getting the ball past them can be really frustrating. Online I can watch my drop shot bounce twice and they will not only get to it but hit an out right winner. You would expect the ball to pop up but no it stays low and fast which is impossible.

Secondly: The computer tries at times to control your character even when the nunchuck is in. I try to run to the net and it will often stop me getting too close. So when I go to volley the ball travels slowly of my racquet. Then those pesky hustle players run it down and smack it past me.

Flat shots I find near impossible to pull off and pulling of fast volleys is impossible unless you blanket the net.

no tutorial means someone like myself may not understand the little intricacies to be the best.
Also

Not A big tennis fan but reading this reveiw makes me want it

Pro: Could have potential

Con: Don\'t Know any Tennis rules Smilie

( Edited 12.07.2009 00:14 by Captian )


John:
I..I can't watch porn. My Mommy finds out
:}

You don't really need to know tennis, the game is just great fun!

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

I think you need to know about tennis. Especially since the game is crap if you dont control the character yourself. You need to know how to cover the court. I have played against online opponents who have no idea. They run around like headless chickens

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Sounds promising, good review James - weird to see it topping Virtua Tennis but good to hear it's turned out pretty decent. May consider it in the future!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

Mr. T said:
You don\'t really need to know tennis, the game is just great fun!

Untill the Ref starts saying he loves me o_0 Smilie

( Edited 16.07.2009 19:41 by Captian )


John:
I..I can't watch porn. My Mommy finds out
:}

really really good game got it today and i can't get off it online is also good

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