2K Sports, Pam Development
Available for the Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS
When it comes to tennis, I just can’t win. I couldn’t pick up the real game when an ex-boyfriend tried to teach me how to play and even any virtual tennis games seem to be beyond my grasp. 2K Sports newest title, Top Spin 3 as I’ve found, is no different for me either.
Whether you’re playing Top Spin 3 on the Xbox 360 & PS3 with a controller or on Nintendo Wii with the motion controller, a good concept of how the game of tennis works is really the key to excelling in this game. The control scheme has been changed to include a variety of swing types and knowing which type to use during the match can really give you an upper hand over your opponents.
The motion controls on the Wii definitely made the game much more interactive and enjoyable, but the Xbox controllers have been changed so much to include control over your switch type, direction and power that it has actually become more difficult to accurately hit the ball. I spend 15 minutes in the tutorial just trying to master the serve, because I didn’t understand that I just had to nudge the analog stick once instead of holding it each time.
Real tennis fans may love the precise swing controllers, but newcomers might get discouraged by them and given up on this game before they even finish the tutorial, especially when it takes them an hour just to finish it.
The game offers a great single player experience which allows you to play one game at a time against tennis legends like Maria Sharapova or Andy Roddick with its quick match mode or you can progress through career mode with a custom created player and try to climb the ranks in the professional tennis world. You can even pick from 40 different venues to play matches in.
You can also go online on the Xbox & PS3 versions and play against 3 other players in singles or doubles in a quick match or the world tour mode where you can compete in online tournaments. The Wii version doesn’t have online play but you can play party mode which allows you to play mini games against your friends and family at home.
Each tennis legend facial modeling was quite well done in the game, but the body animation was so bad, I actually got a little sick watching Maria Sharapova walk around after a while. The developers made her look more anorexic then anything; it was like watching a skeleton with skin swing a racket.
Animation in the game was a little slow or choppy in some spots. The camera would be panning over the crowd and suddenly stop or stutter, which for such a simple animation shouldn’t be happening.
Audio was pretty realistic with its announcers during the matches. They called the matches quite accurately and didn’t repeat themselves at all. The music in the menu selection screens was excellent and featured tracks from artists like Jamiroquai, Calvin Harris and Boys like Girls.
This is definitely not the type of game I would normally buy, but for fans of professional tennis, I think the updated control system and the legends of tennis roster will impress enough to warrant a rental. For those of us who can’t swing a racket to save our lives though, I think we should play it safe and stick to playing Pong.
Rating: 6 out of 10