PS3 Previews: Grand Slam Tennis 2 Preview

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Grand Slam Tennis 2 Preview

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Scheduled release date:

Q1 2012

Publisher:

EA

Developer:

EA Sports

Number Of Players:

1-4

Genre:

Sports

Tennis is one sport I know quite well. Therefore, whenever a new game comes out that attempts to capture the realism and authenticity of the sport, I’m intrigued. Thus far, Top Spin has been the undisputed winner, as Virtua Tennis has always been more arcade-y in nature. After playing the Grand Slam Tennis 2 demo, I’m sensing a blend of simulation and arcade elements, which makes this both accessible and entertaining.

The demo clearly highlights Wimbledon (the grass and all-white clothing is a dead giveaway), which is a good idea, because Top Spin never managed to secure the necessary licensing for one of the sport’s most important – and definitely the most historically prestigious – tournaments. You can choose to play as either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal and participate in a quick best-of-3-game match. Before trying the match, you can hit the practice court to practice your swing.

The control feels a little loose but I got the hang of it. I like having the option of either the Total Racket control mechanic or the more straightforward face button scheme. However, as I’m so used to the latter, which involves holding the button that will denote flat, slice, or top spin and then releasing at a certain point, I had to use that. The Total Racket system works surprisingly well, though, and especially so for serves, once you get some practice under your belt.

You can also use the PlayStation Move, which seems about average. It doesn’t always read the motion exactly, so when you perform the motion for a slice, that doesn’t always work and he simply hits a regular flat shot. But it was still responsive and offers quite the workout, which is always a big plus. The downsides are as follows: first, the players are way too fast. In the three matches I played, no drop shot had any hope of falling for a winner. Regardless of my position on the court, I could always get to drop shots, and usually in enough time to crack an easy winner.

I’m not sure if the difficulty setting actually alters the player speed; I do know tougher settings make your opponent smarter, though. The other issue I have is cosmetic but it’s still irritating— the character animation for almost any swing appears to be the same. So Djokovic will even hit a backhand slice with two hands…which of course doesn’t happen. You never hit slice with two hands; even if your standard backhand is two-handed, one hand comes off for the slice. I mean, come on.

But I have to say, one of my absolute favorite things about this game is the commentary. I maintain that tennis has some of the best commentators in the sports world, and with guys like John McEnroe and Pat Cash offering their voices for in-match comments, you almost want to stop and listen. This is another feature that has always been sorely missing from the Top Spin franchise. Plus, Johnny Mac and a whole bunch of other legends (like Bjorn Borg, for example) will be featured in the game, which is awesome.

It’s not really intricate enough to be considered a spot-on simulator, but it should prove to be a lot of fun. And that’s enough, right?

1/11/2012 Ben Dutka

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Comments (3 posts)

Arvis
Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 9:38:38 AM
Reply

As long as the tennis is good, it will be worth playing. However, these tennis games just don't pay enough attention to the NON-tennis side of things. How robust is the player creator? Is the career mode AT ALL realistic? Do we have the option of downloading user-generated players and adding them to our roster?

These are all things that no tennis game is even TRYING to do, yet in this generation are completely necessary! What makes tennis so captivating is the real-life drama and rivalries, the underdogs that come out of nowhere, that #28 ranked player that might sneak into a Grand Slam quarterfinal. These games will never replicate that feeling with a roster of 15 players and no ability to expand it.

Until some series starts taking tennis seriously, I'm not spending another dollar on a tennis game.

-Arvis

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 9:43:40 AM

Yeah, I wouldn't expect to find any of that in this game, either.

Tennis just isn't popular enough to warrant that sort of TLC from developers, I guess. Kinda sad. But at least GST2 takes a few significant steps; at least it isn't completely quiet like Top Spin because they finally entered the modern world and got commentators. That's a huge deal, IMO, because I love the tennis announcers.

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Twistedfloyd
Thursday, January 12, 2012 @ 6:20:36 PM
Reply

I played the demo and had a good time with it. I hope the final product is as fun with the demo. I do agree that everyone is way too fast, but I think it's got a good balance between realism and arcade.

I too wish tennis games would have a more in depth career mode and what not as well. Same with a lot of sports games. One reason I stopped buying Madden is that the franchise was the same every year. Hell the PS2 games had more depth than the PS3 games when it came to the franchise mode.

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