Grand Slam wins: 7 reasons EA’s inaugural tennis game bests no. 2 Virtua Tennis on Wii


Grand Slam Tennis

After spending equal time with both this week, one thing is clear: Virtua Tennis 2009 is a good game; Grand Slam Tennis is a great game—the best tennis game ever made in fact. Here’s why:

  1. No guided shots. Before Grand Slam Tennis, tennis games were more about hitting winners than staying between lines. Virtually everything you hit would stay in. That being the case, unforced errors used to be hard to come by. In Grand Slam, though, timing is everything. If you’re a fraction of a second off your swing, you’ll miss the line or dump the ball into the net. In doing so, Grand Slam makes you stay on your toes at all times—just like real tennis—resulting in the most intense matches I’ve ever played in a game.
  2. Unparalleled control. Virtua Tennis 2009 will let you work the sides, but Grand Slam will let you work the corners. While both games control almost flawlessly with MotionPlus, you’ll feel more in control in Grand Slam after 30 minutes to an hour of practice. Just make sure to immobilize your Wii Remote for two seconds every few points to calibrate (something many reviewers haven’t been doing before dinging the game in their reviews). Suffice it to say, MotionPlus is the true revolution. What’s more, Grand Slam even lets you guide your players by pointing the Wii remote from side to side, or pressing up or down on the D-Pad, similar to what I originally asked for. Sure beats swinging a racket with an umbilical cord (aka Nunchuck).
  3. Epic online play. Grand Slam Tennis is the funnest online Wii game I’ve every played. In pairing you up with a player of similar skill, you’ll typically trade points and play right down to the wire. Thanks to the “no guided shots” and “unparalleled control” you’ll be fist pumping and cursing yourself throughout, making for an exhilarating experience. What’s more, you can use either an EA Nation account or import friends from your Wii Roster (or both) to play with friends. No game-specific friend codes here.
  4. Gorgeous presentation. Immediately upon booting the game, you’ll notice how developer EA Canada didn’t slouch on presentation. The arresting graphics, although cartoony, pop on the screen. The low angle perspective and camera panning place you in the middle of the action. The menus are slick. Everything here screams superlative development. For a console that sees far too many developers skimp on presentation, Grand Slam Tennis is a diamond in the rough.


  1. Thanks for the reviews! I’ll pick up Grand Slam For sure. Sorry SEGA. Thanks Blake!

  2. You forgot to mention the tennis elbow. Not only did you school me on the court last night, but you left me hurting in the morning. Thanks a lot Blake.

  3. I still might rent both of these before making a decision, but to be honest I’ve been leaning more toward Gland Slam, and after reading this review, I’m even more inclined in that direction. It really sounds like whichever game you go with, though, that you are getting a great game.

    I’m just glad that there are 2 such high quality 3RD PARTY games for the Wii.

  4. I have a question: does the game tell you to calibrate and the reviewers that are dinging it just aren’t listening or is that something you just have to learn.

    If it’s the former, that’s really frustrating as some reviewers are giving this game a 5.0 because they say the controls don’t work. Maybe they should pay better attention to the game. For some reason I’m picturing someone flailing their arms around aimlessly yelling repeatedly “the game’s not working, the game’s not working!”

  5. @El Hajjish: Grand Slam only tells you to calibrate once after starting up the game (so I could see how some players might forget during the heat of a match), whereas VT requires you to calibrate before every point. As a general rule, I calibrate every third point in Grand Slam (while waiting for serves), just to be safe.

  6. You have my interest but I just paid for VT and will not pay full price for an albeit awesome cartoon. I will wait for a price drop.

    My early Virtua Tennis thoughts are here…

  7. @ Blake

    That’s too bad, because it seems like people are forgetting this. Heading over to Metacritic, the game has a mediocre score, but in the individual reviews, you can see a clear split between very high and low scores depending on wether or not people know to calibrate.

    That being said, this seems like the classic score split that many Wii games take because some reviewers are hesitant to learn fundementally new control schemes and others are open to new ways to play.

  8. Thanks man, gotta head out and rent this Monster now, can’t wait!

  9. Well this article kinda… sucked.

    I prefer articles that actually present both sides of the story. This one merely lists of all the reasons that this person likes Grand Slam more than VT 09. It doesn’t mention VT 09’s features or strengths, just some ways that Grand Slam is supposedly “better”. Instead of presenting the facts for both sides and letting readers decide, it’s merely saying “get this one, it’s better, trust me. You don’t need to hear about the other.”

    That’s why the author called VT a bad game and didn’t link to his previous post which praises VT. What’s more, I was expecting scientific fact, not the opinion of a critic.

    I hope someone posts a rebuttal article saying “7 reasons Virtua Tennis 09 is better than grand slam” so that we can get both sides of the story. I might just have to skip both if I can’t get a solid comparison.

  10. oh and i’m pretty sure VT 09 has d-pad control as well.

  11. Yes VT has d-pad control.

    ps: I’m sorry for putting my VT review in the wrong place on the forum.

  12. @ goj or whatever…

    this are THE reason why it’s a better game, not a list of betters.
    In other words, this seven “Pros” are what makes GST a better game overall. Never did he said VT09 was bad… just not as good.

  13. Wow I’m not sure what to think of these two games. One place says one is better than, than just the reverse on another site. I’m pretty sure they are both good games, and so far the only distinguishable thing I can pick up on is VT has a more indepth main monde, which is big for me since I haven’t played VT before and like deep main modes.

    So torn, but everyone it sounds like should buy at least one of them.

  14. thank you very much. finally someone who’s played both games. i just wish you had some more info on virtua tennis. like what you thought was actually better or worse when compared to GTS. but thanks anyways. i bought GTS, and this pretty much assures me that i bought the better game, which i just wasn’t sure of since i haven’t played virtua tennis.

  15. Well I finally played VT 2009 with Wii Motion Plus and it resulted in me winning my very first match! I’ve updated my review.

  16. Don’t worry, I’ll add you when I get the game. You just convinced me to do so. I was so intent on ignoring this for Tiger, but I’ll have to get them both at the same time.

    I’ll make you pay for this Blake, you’re costing me money.

  17. first off, thanks to whoever decided to edit my post. real mature.

    second off, in that same VT 09 article it said “stay tuned for a comparison review”

    this is hardly a comparison review. We don’t get a side by side look at each games features and how the stack up to one another. This article seems very one sided. I was merely expecting something that said “this part of VT 09 was better then GST but this part of GST is better than VT 09 and ultimately, this is why GST is the better game.” It was a little too much “why GST is better” and not “why VT 09 is worse.” There wasn’t much contrasting.

    I’m not trying to defend one title over the other (I don’t have any loyalties or grudged to either SEGA or EA’s dev teams) I was just hoping that it would do more “comparing.” Sorry if you can’t take a bit of criticism yourself.

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