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.
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.