Virtua Tennis 4 Review
Regardless of how much competition it may or may not have had along the way, Virtua Tennis has always been the standard for its sport. With the release of Virtua Tennis 4, SEGA is showing no signs of slowing down and among many updates has introduced a World Tour system that encourages more than simple court domination. The new play type will have you hopping around the globe, building up stats not only on the scoreboard but also with mini game training sessions and directly with your fans. The ever present arcade style of play makes it simple for all experience levels, and the updated roster will put you in the shoes of your favorite tennis star anytime you want.
The arcade style controls are simple enough to pick up and play all the way through to world champion status, but can also be tweaked to take advantage of a much more advanced control set. The ability to controls things like top and backspin, slices, overhands, volleys, lobs, and drop shots will all be things that an experienced player can appreciate, especially as you take your custom character online for more challenging matches. PS Move support is also integrated into VT4, zooming the camera in and out during games to show players a transparent hand holding a racquet during the shot phase and where the player is positioned on the court respectively.
The updated graphics of this installment make it the best looking version yet. Courts are beautifully rendered and professional players look like their human counterparts. The match Momentum feature adds a little bit of visual excitement to an otherwise plain looking shot. Essentially a momentum meter builds over the course of a match and when deployed, changes the camera to a series of more dramatic angles and repeats with effects like slow-motion. I did notice that characters in the game did have a tendency to look a little waxy overall, but the inclusion of a decent motion capture and detail like sweat dripping off the brow as a match progresses make it a push.
Virtua Tennis brings a well-balanced audio package to the table as well. Everything from feet scraping across a court the cheering crowds came through my speakers with decent fidelity. Other tidbits like music tracks that arenít overly annoying and announcers with difficult to understand accents make the game an authentic sounding one.
Since the World Tour system is split up across multiple seasons and continents in a random order, it stands to reason that no two tours will ever be played in exactly the same order, giving VT4 a level of re-playability in the campaign mode alone that will make it worth the cost. Multi-player support has also been improved for a better matchmaking experience, including the ability to play party games online with friends. A host of mini-games that can be played by yourself or split screen with a living room of friends rounds out the package with a sprinkling of PS3 exclusives including 3D support and the ability to play as 3 tennis legends not found in other console versions.
Final Rating: 88%. SEGA keeps the Virtua Tennis series alive with its 4th entry into mix, bringing along a bundle of upgrades and fresh game modes to keep us swinging away.