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:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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