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Wii-Sports did such a good job that other sports games on the Wii are still trying to respond years later. Grand Slam Tennis from EA finally delivers the goods. A Wii-Sports tennis experience that is extended both in terms of gameplay and options whilst not loosing the simplicity and pick-up and play fun of the original.
Sports games recreate a wide variety of real life competitive games. 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 basic control of Grand Slam tennis remain the same as Wii-sports. The direction of gesture controls spin whilst the timing of the swing determines the shot direction. This keeps the experience familiar enough to fans of Wii-Sports before adding some more options into the mix.
Firstly there is generally more sensitivity to the direction and strength of swing. Plug in the MotionPlus add-on to the controller and this becomes even more the case. Now you have to swing the appropriate forehand/backhand shot to make a good connection and can really control pace with the weight and follow through of your racket.MotionPlus enables you to consistently select a top spin, flat or backspin shot with the orientation of your swing motion. You can even achieve rough drop shots and lobs using just this gesture control.
Around this more solid core is added some additional options. You can hold B to cut the shot power further and achieve a delicate drop shot. You can hold A to add height to your lobs. You can tab up on the D-pad to go into the net. You can even plug a Nun-chuck in to manually control your player's movement around the court.
Visually this now looks more like proper tennis as well. Cartoon renderings of famous players past and present create an authentic air to proceedings. Four grand slam stadiums are included as well and add a little more finesse to the whole experience.
Fitness calory counting modes, tutorials, training, tournaments and party games complete the package in some style. There really is value for money here. Although on this note it is worth pausing to consider that to play four players you will need four Wii-motes, four MotionPlus add-ons and a copy of the game which will set you back a whopping GBP 240 without considering the consol itself.
Players will be attracted to the novelty of a tennis game support the MotionPlus add on (although Virtua Tennis 4 also offers this ability), but it will be the magical Wii-Sports Tennis gameplay that keeps them playing. Gamers of all ages and abilities can compete and enjoy this game.
The additional controls provide more ways to improve your game and learn how to do well, although this is more limited than other non-gesture based tennis games.
You need quite a bit of space to play the games multiplayer, and you need to watch out for lampshades when serving in. The games last a little longer than they did in Wii-Sports as they have more the back and forth of the real sport. There are also many more options for improvement
A variety of control methods make this ideal for really young and novice players. Using just the Wii-mote they can learn to time their shots to return the ball just as in Wii-Sports. A little patience and fine timing is required to score consistently but even without this there is enough tolerance built in for most players to at least have some fun.
Unlike Wii-Sports, Grand Slam Tennis scales much better to intermediate players. Adding in the MotionPlus block while not revolutionary, takes the game to another level. The higher fidelity controls need more accurate and intentioned gestures. This enables players to learn how to achieve better and more accurate shots.
Experts may find happy distraction here for a while but it is unlikely that the loose nature inherent in the controls (and the outsized tennis ball) will make this more of an occasional party game than an everyday goto title for them.
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