Virtua Tennis 2009 Preview
I'll leave no reservations when I say that I love the Virtua Tennis franchise. Ever since owning the very first one for the Sega Dreamcast, I've been enamored with the franchise, having loved the PS2, PSP, and PS3 releases. The PSP version of Virtua Tennis 3 gets frequent rotation when I'm away on trips. If you're as big a fan as I am, you'll be pleased to know that there's an all new Virtua Tennis on its way again, and below are the details provided by Sega.
The core behind the games, the World Tour mode, will return for this 2009 iteration. You'll be able to take your career online, this time around, complete with an online ranking system to show how well you stand up against other players. Prize money you earn in online tournaments can be used to purchase over 800 shop items in the game's Tennis Store, which you can also use to upgrade your player.
Of course, the offline component of the game will still include everything you'd expect, such as a player creation system that Sega promises is far deeper than the previous game. The player creator will give the gamer the flexibility to configure their athlete anyway they see fit, from facial customization, to body and clothing. This also means that the chance of running into a player that looks like yours is slim to none.
Over 20 players will be featured in this iteration, seven of which are new to the series, in addition to three legendary players - let's pray that John McEnroe is one of them, complete with outbursts and all. On top of the new athletes also come new courts to play on, as well as a new tournament: the Davis Cup.
One of the series staples, the mini-games, will continue to live on with VT2009, as Sega is packing a total of 12, five of which are completely new, with quirky names like Zoo Feeder and Pirate War. Scoring high in the mini-games will allow you to upload your scores to the worldwide rankings system, as well, which should help extend the appeal of the game a bit more.
Lastly, Sega claims improved gameplay mechanics, with a game engine that's been extensively updated for a fresher feel. Crowds will now be completely three-dimensional, with an overall more "realistic courtside experience", whatever that could mean. We'll try to get our hands on an early copy of VT2009 to deliver a hands-on preview, but in the mean time keep your eyes open for more info.
Virtua Tennis 2009 is scheduled to ship this May of 2009.
2/26/2009 Arnold Katayev