Support Andy, click to buy via us...
Here, Virtua Tennis becomes an annual affair. The year in the title of Virtua Tennis 2009 joins the support of MotionPlus to make this a watershed year for the Granddaddy of simulated tennis.
Sporting games Sports games recreate a wide variety of real life competitive activities. Depending on the sport, these will either have an action or strategy focus. Popular sports games are often released on an annual basis, each year the game receives new player rosters and game improvements.
The Virtua Tennis series was the first tennis games to add deep simulation to the experience. The player directs the action, although the outcome is a combination of their character's stats and the shot they are attempting. Sega have developed this highly compelling and nuanced system over the last ten years since it first appeared in the arcades.
The Wii game offers the full range of career, multiplayer and mini-games found in the excellent 360 and PS3 versions. Graphically things are a little less impressive, but apart from this there is a lot of tennis playing to be had here.
Alongside EA's Grand Slam Tennis, this is one of the first games to support the new MotionPlus block. This enables the game to detect the players racket movement much more accurately. The game can be played with or without the add-on although without it your shot direction is determined by the timing of your Wii-mote swing rather than the direction.
Unlike EA Grand Slam Tennis though, Virtua Tennis on the Wii does not render a one-to-one racket movement from the MotionPlus controller. This is the regular Wii tennis game with the additional controls added. The benefit of the detailed controls are still found, but this is not depicted visually.
Because of this the controls don't feel as precise (or related to the players intention) as in EA's tennis game. That said, the experience is much less fiddley here. Players are asked to point at the screen between each point which (although a little distracting) ensures the MotionPlus is always correctly calibrated.
Players will be attracted to the Virtua Tennis brand and the new Wii controls. What the experience lacks in nuance it makes up for in breadth. As play progresses through training and competitions there is a heightened connection between the player and their developing character. Save match points and last minute winners soon have gamers whooping with delight.
The career mode here will take many more hours to conquer than Grand Slam's modest offering. Those with less time can always opt for the quick play mode with games that last just five minutes or so each.
Young players may find the realist tennis look and feel a little daunting at first. Our kids also struggled to get used to pointing at their player with the Wii-mote between each point.
Intermediates will find the lack of one-to-one rendering of controls a bit of a turn off after Grand Slam's excellent Wii-Sports style realism.
Experts will appreciate the quality in depth and breadth here and now be as concerned by the slightly fuzzy controls which take some getting used to.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: