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whatshot Virtua Tennis 4 PS3 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Virtua Tennis 4
Reviewed by
Troy Mayes
on
Virtua Tennis 4 PS3 Review Virtua Tennis 4 certainly offers gamers a lot of fun with its random selection of mini-games and off-beat career mode but there’s definitely that more arcade feel to the game that may not provide as big a challenge for hardcore tennis fans.  
Rating:
3.3

Gameplay 7.0
Graphics 7.5
Sound 5.0
Value 6.6
Distributor: SEGA
Classification:
G
Review Date:
July 2011
Reviewer:
Troy Mayes

6.6


Virtua Tennis 4

SEGA gives you the opportunity to reach tennis super stardom in Virtua Tennis 4 but is the journey there a rewarding one? 

I haven’t touched a tennis game, apart from Wii Sports, since the days of the Xbox unlike Madden and FIFA which I generally update every second year. Pin pointing the differences in those releases can often be difficult and I assume it’s the same for those who buy tennis games religiously, but to someone coming back to the genre the progression is remarkable.  

The first you notice about Virtua Tennis 4 are the slick graphics. Real world players are rendered accurately in the game and the range of animations on offer to represent the different shots are exhaustive. Playing through a game with two highly skilled players you can end up with some very realistic volleys that almost make you feel like you are watching the real thing, almost. While the animations, individually, are quite strong there are still a few strange occurrences either through poor AI or a bad animation. For instance your character will pull-off some really awkward shots when the ball comes straight at you.

The computer also seems to give up on shots a lot and you are left with this awkward flailing at the ball seconds after it has gone past. While the animations help to develop a sense of realism the introduction of the ‘super shot’ by SEGA gives the game a more arcade feel. Players specialize in an aspect of their game, forehand, backhand, trick shot, and during a match a bar fills up when you successfully complete those shots. When it fills you can perform a ‘super shot’ which reminds me of the ‘predator kick’ from the old Adidas Power Soccer on the PlayStation. You unleash a powerful shot that is difficult to stop.  

Menus are easy to navigate but the white and grey color scheme is a little bland. In game there is great use of bold colors to make venues and player outfits really pop. A few licensed songs, like EA Sports manages to throw in, would have been nice as the mix of Japanese pop and elevator music can become really grating after a while. Also the lack of commentary during matches means your attention is really focused on the player noises and environmental noises which really do nothing to excite. A boisterous crowd and over the top grunting have become key features of tennis but neither impressed in Virtua Tennis 4.  

The meat of the game lies in the career mode. You are given four years to play in and win the four major world tournaments. Entry into the tournaments is gained by collecting star points. These are awarded for winning exhibition matches and minor tournaments as well as participating in celebrity events, like hospital visits. Unfortunately the career mode is hampered by a frustrating movement structure. Each turn you are given movement cards, from 1 to 4 moves, that determine how far and where on the map you can move. If you don’t take the right path and save up the right cards you can even miss big tournaments, like I did with the first big Asian tournament.

Being restricted like that gets really irritating after a while. In between tournaments and exhibition matches players can also play various mini-games to increase their skill set. While the idea of the mini-games are good they seem to have little relation to actual tennis training and your skills seem to level up at a strange rate. For example one mini-game has you running around the court picking up a trail of chicks and guiding them to the mother hen while avoiding tennis balls. Avoiding the obvious issue of why you are rounding up chickens on a tennis court the game seems geared towards improving your speed and agility but even though you don’t hit a single ball all aspects of your game are increased upon successful completion.  

The standard exhibition and practice modes are available along with the party mode which features all of the mini-games from the career. Due to licensing issues the exhibition mode suffers from a lack of recognizable stadiums and a deep roster of known tennis players and legends.  

Virtua Tennis 4 certainly offers gamers a lot of fun with its random selection of mini-games and off-beat career mode but there’s definitely that more arcade feel to the game that may not provide as big a challenge for hardcore tennis fans.





 

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