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Topic: Grand Slam Tennis Review

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pixelman

1. Posted:

Grand Slam Tennis Review

I wrote up a review for Grand Slam Tennis this morning, after playing the game for nearly two weeks. Enjoy! (And can someone please enable the size tag?)

Control (With MotionPlus) - 8/10:
Grand Slam Tennis has a very steep learning curve; When you first plug in MotionPlus, you'll more likely than not think you just wasted 50 smackers. However, after an hour or two of practice, things begin to click. You'll soon be able to aim (regardless of timing) your shots up the line and cross-court with ease. Note that there is a delay between your swing and the on-screen character, but it feels quite natural after practice.

Swinging in an upward motion will apply top-spin, while swinging in a downward motion will apply back-spin. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work. Occasionally I find myself hitting with backspin when I was trying to apply topspin - if you're aiming for the line, then this usually results in the ball flying out. Luckily, this is rare and does not hinder gameplay.

Control (Without MotionPlus) - 8/10:
Even without MotionPlus, Grand Slam Tennis has solid control. You aim your shots by timing them carefully, and apply topsin and backspin the same way you do with MotionPlus. The system works quite well. If you have trouble timing your shots, the practice mode is your friend - it projects where the ball will land while you're waiting to swing. With 10-15 minutes practice, you'll be at home with the controls.

Nunchuck Movement:
This game simply must be played with a nunchuck. So much depends on where you're positioned, that you need full control over your player's whereabouts. At first using the nunchuck can be confusing, but with practice it becomes quite natural.

Career Mode - 6/10:
Disappointing. Both the career mode and player creator are minimalistic at best. You'll essentially follow this pattern: Exhibition match, party game, pro-ability match (i.e., learn Pete Sampras' serve), tournament. If you win a match or event, two new items will be unlocked. (Shirts, shorts, rackets, etc.) Occasionally during or after a match your player will increase his star rating. The more stars you have, the more pro abilities you can equip, three being the maximum. It is rather addicting, and two weeks later I'm still playing it.

Online Mode - 7/10:
A tad disappointing. Matches are set up randomly, and the server tries to find players near your skill level. It also gives you the choice to play ranked and un-ranked matches. Sound OK? Yeah - so far. Unfortunately, playing in different countries can (but not always) be extremely laggy, to the point of you simply giving up the match and lowering yours and your country's rank. This would be acceptable, though, if you could set it to only pick players in certain regions - but you can't. Luckily, with the friend system, you can easily set up custom match-play, and completely bypass the random match system. That said, when you do find a lag-free match, and someone at your own skill level, you'll have a blast. It's incredibly fun learning other peoples' play-styles, and figuring out ways to take them down.

Oh, and you'll want to be playing every day, or you'll find your rank drop 100 spots or so. :)

Local Multiplayer - 10/10:
This is where the game really shines. The gameplay is fast and intense, and it's some of the most fun multiplayer I have ever played in any game. One minor issue is when the ball is near a net post; the camera will go to an awkward angle, completely hiding the ball from sight. Fortunately, this is a rarity.

There are some party games, such as King of the Court, Champs, and Aussie Doubles. They're decent fun, but not nearly as good as the exhibition matches.

Graphics - 7/10:
While a great concept, the execution is less than stellar. The crowd is a blurry 2D mess, and the line judges have no animation. On the other hand, most of the character models look like the real players, and are instantly recongizable.

Sound - 8/10:
Punchy, arcadey sound effects. Most of the players have their real-life grunts. The music is decent, if unmemorable. The crowd applause is spot-on. Commentary is best turned off.

Menus - 8/10:
Great, flashy menus. But wait - no analog stick support? WTF EA? Some long load times.

Summary:
While a good rookie effort from EA, Grand Slam Tennis is definitely lacking in features. The online and career modes have their fair share of issues, but the brilliant gameplay and multiplayer more than makes up for it. Overall, a solid buy for any tennis fan.

Pros:

  • Great controls, with or without MotionPlus
  • Easy to pickup and play without MotionPlus
  • Great roster of players
  • Brilliant local multiplayer
  • Hard level AI offers a good challenge to veterans
  • Created players can be taken online
  • Doesn't mess up your real-life tennis stroke

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve
  • Country-to-country online is often laggy
  • Lack of custom tournaments
  • Lackluster career mode and player creator

Overall: 8/10

Edited on by pixelman

I made Kid Tripp! PocketGamer gave it a 9 out of 10! You should totally buy it now!
[16:39] BadKitty: you trying to steal stuff from me? u_u
[16:41] kribs: don't worry Emmy, even if poix tried to steal something from you, he wouldn't finish stealing it

3DS Friend Code: 1123-6536-5321 | Nintendo Network ID: pixelpowa | Twitter: thatpixelguy

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KnucklesSonic8

2. Posted:

Nice review, Mr. Case Sensitive. :)
Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much. Once again, this is making my decisions very tough.

KnucklesSonic8

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pixelman

3. Posted:

KnucklesSonic8 wrote:

Nice review, Mr. Case Sensitive. :)
Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much. Once again, this is making my decisions very tough.

Glad you liked it, Knucklehead! :) I haven't played VT09 yet, so I can't really help you decide between them, other than saying GST is a very solid tennis game.

I made Kid Tripp! PocketGamer gave it a 9 out of 10! You should totally buy it now!
[16:39] BadKitty: you trying to steal stuff from me? u_u
[16:41] kribs: don't worry Emmy, even if poix tried to steal something from you, he wouldn't finish stealing it

3DS Friend Code: 1123-6536-5321 | Nintendo Network ID: pixelpowa | Twitter: thatpixelguy

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pixelman

4. Posted:

I gave online another go this afternoon. Lag is still an issue, though mainly while playing against players in Germany and Canada. I had a couple of solid matches against Brits, and a hella fun match against a fellow American.

I also made a few minor changes to the review.

I made Kid Tripp! PocketGamer gave it a 9 out of 10! You should totally buy it now!
[16:39] BadKitty: you trying to steal stuff from me? u_u
[16:41] kribs: don't worry Emmy, even if poix tried to steal something from you, he wouldn't finish stealing it

3DS Friend Code: 1123-6536-5321 | Nintendo Network ID: pixelpowa | Twitter: thatpixelguy

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y2josh

5. Posted:

After beating Starfy I've finally had time to give this game time. The controls do take some getting used to, but once you get them down it is very fun. I've not had any issues with lag myself.
P.S. Anyone have the wireless nunchuk by Nyko? I've heard bad things about it. I would like to buy it for this tennis game though.

The word "Gem" is overused.
PSN/gamertag: jcturtle
3DS Friend Code: 3179-6118-9371

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pixelman

6. Posted:

You don't need it, with time and practice the nunchuck cord won't get in your way.

I made Kid Tripp! PocketGamer gave it a 9 out of 10! You should totally buy it now!
[16:39] BadKitty: you trying to steal stuff from me? u_u
[16:41] kribs: don't worry Emmy, even if poix tried to steal something from you, he wouldn't finish stealing it

3DS Friend Code: 1123-6536-5321 | Nintendo Network ID: pixelpowa | Twitter: thatpixelguy

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luke17

7. Posted:

Is there any way to make sure your motion plus is working correctly? I can't tell a difference between playing with and without it, which makes me wonder if it is working.

luke17

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pixelman

8. Posted:

Yes, enter practice mode, hold the Wii remote still, then move your racket smoothly to the right or left. If your player does likewise, then it's working.

Edit: And make sure the nunchuck is plugged in.

Edited on by pixelman

I made Kid Tripp! PocketGamer gave it a 9 out of 10! You should totally buy it now!
[16:39] BadKitty: you trying to steal stuff from me? u_u
[16:41] kribs: don't worry Emmy, even if poix tried to steal something from you, he wouldn't finish stealing it

3DS Friend Code: 1123-6536-5321 | Nintendo Network ID: pixelpowa | Twitter: thatpixelguy