Friday, February 20, 2009

Top Spin 3 (Wii) - Review


There were two things that convinced me that I should have this game:

  • With the replay value of Wii sports seeming to decrease on acieving pro-status, Top Spin 3 seemed the perfect Wiimote swinging casual game to get me going again.
  • Roger Federer on the cover.
This, plus a star studded lineup of grunty Sharapova; tantrum throwing, racquet flinging Murray; and reviewers using fancy terms like "dynamic weather" got me all gung-ho about playing the "Best tennis for the wii". Also, the marked absence of Nadal made me even happier, following the letdown at the Austrailian Open.

So, three days later, I popped in the game, saw the title screen with Roger smiling like in his pre-no.2 days, and gleefully followed the "press B to continue" instruction. What followed was a title screen reminiscent of my PSone days and some background video which for this post, is assumed to be tennis, but far more like pixelized blobs compiled into a GIF animation.

Of course, the thought of controlling Fed still resonating, I ignored this little lapse and decided to play a sweet 2-player game. It was here that the game pointedly refused to recognize my second wiimote since apparently, all players need the nunchuck attachment. Something which I had only one of. "That seems reasonable", I thought to myself and decided a single player game would do ( something the game seems to have been hinting to me all this while).

Into the single player, I went to the character selection screen, silently promising myself not to play with anyone other than Federer. As my opponent, I picked the other player I wanted most to see play, Sharapova. I was hit by the expected shallow graphics, with Fed's face having a weridly familiar but slightly creepy smile, which stays static.

"Whatever, let's roll with it", I figured. What I did not expect however, was horribly hard gameplay, and an unnecessarily steep learning curve for things like drop-shots, lob-shots, head-shots, top-spins, slices, smashes, aim - combos, volleys, hit-yourself with the racquet and three-button-plus-swing serves amongst other things. Obviously, expecting a jump-in wiisports type gameplay, Sharapova promptly proceeded in wiping the court with my sorry arse. Thank God for the bad graphics, or I might have actually seen Roger cry all over again.

First Impressions and my little tirade aside, once you get a little more practice, the gameplay becomes oddly satisfying. Even more satisfying, was to see my opponent Murray curse and throw his racquet on the floor in his frustration on not getting a single point off me. My glee seemed to catch on, and Federer began doing stuff like hitting the ball backwards. (!)

Overall, the game seems largely unfinished, and could have been so much better, limitations aside. This game is best left to the pro tennis fanboys who have it in them to forgive the bad graphics and the restrictive gameplay modes.

images courtesy Gamespot



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