Virtua Tennis 2009 (Wii) Review

By James Temperton 10.07.2009 3

Review for Virtua Tennis 2009 on Wii

Virtua Tennis has something of a reputation to maintain. From the glorious days of the Dreamcast the series has maintained a good reputation for the past few years with iterations on a number of systems. This latest Wii offering is one of the first titles to make use of MotionPlus, but can it properly replicate the experience of playing tennis and pulling off shots, or is it a case of break point and other rubbish tennis related puns?

I've been charged with the task of reviewing both this and EA's Grand Slam Tennis. The reasoning? I play a bit of tennis in my spare time and apparently that means I should review all tennis games...ever. What's tricky is that both games take a very different approach to delivering a tennis title but also to using MotionPlus. Virtua Tennis has always been a fast-paced, arcade-style title that tries its best to be like 'real' tennis...but with crazily irritating music constantly plinking along in the background. Perhaps appropriately the introduction of MotionPlus seeks to make this an even more accessible and speedy game. But there are some issues...

For a game that is one of the pioneers of MotionPlus it was perhaps always going to be tricky for the developers to get it just right. VT isn't a bad game, far from it, but it is a often a deeply frustrating experience. Using MotionPlus should mean that the game replicate exactly what you do in person, but it doesn't. VT second-guesses any movement that it doesn't instantly recognise as standard and turns it, invariably, into a flat shot with no spin. This makes no sense.

On top of that, a lot of the time it simply can't work out anything much outside slice and top-spin. You can do drop-shots and lobs, but the issue with these is they can't be achieved by doing what you'd actually do in real tennis. The result is a somewhat confusing and bizarre experience of you playing a whole new game that SEGA have invented where up is down and hot is cold. The range of motion simply isn't what this game makes it out to be.

Screenshot for Virtua Tennis 2009 on Wii

That's not to say this game isn't fun, if you're happy for the game to sort of guess what you're trying to do as you stumble wildly around. The number of control options attempts to make this stumbling easier however. You can use the nunchuk to run around, or the d-pad, or (stupidly) you can let the computer do the moving for you. The latter is ill advised as the computer clearly lacks the intelligence to do anything other than run left and right and never quite where you want or where the ball is. It would be fine if I could get my head around using the d-pad at the same time, but it becomes a little counter-intuitive to run around using a small button on what is essentially meant to be a racquet. Using the nunchuk is similarly difficult, if not more tricky thanks to the presence of the wire between the two devices which prevents you from swinging properly. But enough moaning about controls.

Outside of a somewhat suspect implementation of MotionPlus, Virtua Tennis is as quirky and fun as ever. Career Mode allows you to become the greatest play in the whole universe with the help or your coach Tim Henman (yes, that's right, Tiger Tim) and adds so much needed depth to the game. You compete in all sorts of events, rising up the rankings and improving your player stats until you're able to take on the best in the world, from Nadal to Murrary and Sharapova to Williams. This is all well and good and adds to the somewhat limited fun to be had from playing random one-off exhibition matches.

Graphically the game looks nice enough, keeping the realistic look VT is known for. Whilst the presentation is a bit clumsy at times, there isn't much to be critical about in terms of the in-game appearance. Well, that's a bit of a lie actually. For some reason the score in the top left-hand corner is huge, meaning that if you're playing at the far end of the court and you run to the side with the score on, you can't see yourself. Glorious. Indeed, it is these sorts of clumsy and seemingly unnecessary oversights that plague this game. It just feels a bit sloppy.

And annoying. One final gripe is the sound, which is at the very least irksome and at the very most hideous. I can't even really describe it, and yes whilst it is 'retro' VT sort of stuff, it does lack of a bit of variety. If you play a long match when the song finishes it will invariably loop back and start again. Still, that's what 'Options' and 'Music Level - Off' are made for, right? On top of that, there's no commentary on games and whilst navigating around the game the very 1994 voice of VT still lingers and stalks you. Pity.

Screenshot for Virtua Tennis 2009 on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

The fact that this is one of the first titles to use MotionPlus shows badly. At times it feels at best poorly implemented and at other points it just feels like it has been tacked on as an afterthought. Compared to EA's offering with Grand Slam Tennis, this is definitely the poorer title. More a load of balls than a smashing ace...

Developer

Sumo Digital

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Sport

Players

4

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   

Comments

...and for those wishing to play without MotionPlus, get ready to forget about any real skill as your focus will solely be on the large meter that appears under your character. It then becomes even less about tennis skill and more about stopping the marker in the right position, constantly.

Considering how much I've heard about the wonders of VT in the past, this left a very sour taste in my mouth and made me hug Grand Slam Tennis ever closer...In fact, I'm enjoying Wii Sports Resort Table Tennis more than VT2009! Smilie Quite disappointing. Hopefully the 2010 edition will be far improved.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

Dissapointing for Virtual Tennis. Ah well, sounds like Grand Slam is the way to go.

Tom Barry [ Reviewer - Editor - Resident Sim-Racer @ Cubed3.com ]
RufDog Racing: Team Cubed3 | Current C3 Sim-Spotlight Feature | Follow RDR on Twitter |     

"Make the music stop before I start punching my own ears to drown it out, please. Enough said."

Haha nice.

Good review, pretty much everyone agrees that Grand Slam is the superior game.


.:Zelda Adventures:.
u guys are DNA.

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