Grand Slam Tennis Review
Game: Grand Slam Tennis (with Wii MotionPlus)
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
Available on: Wii
GAMEPLAY: It might not seem like it but this is a rather big release for EA and Nintendo as this is the first game to use the new Wii MotionPlus attachment. The attachment comes bundled with the game and, to be honest, it is the best way to play Grand Slam Tennis. The game will work fine without MotionPlus but it is so much better with it. To deny your self a play of this game without MotionPlus is a crime against gaming and I will not stand for it! Yeah ok that was a bit over the top, but you get what I mean right?!
To begin with it will take you a while (maybe 30 minutes or so) to get familiar with the more realistic motion controls but once you do the game is just so much fun to play. I recommend hitting the practice court or having a few exhibition matches to get to grips with the controls. Once the controls click backhands, forehands, slice shots and topspin shots, everything will just feel so natural; MotionPlus makes this all possible. You can even finely tune your shots with a little wrist movement and add that extra bit of spin/swerve to your shots to confuse your opponents. The immense satisfaction gained after nailing an awesome shot is just unreal, you can’t help but get a let out a girlish cry (just me then?!) or pump your fists in the air. You can even pull off lobs and drop shots! You perform the lobs by holding A as you swing and the drop shots by holding B as you swing, they add a nice bit of variety to proceedings.
If you choose to use the MotionPlus there are two control schemes to play with, one with the nunchuck attached and one without it. The latter is the recommended scheme mainly because it allowed you to freely enjoy the game. Basically your character moves around automatically and you just have to the do the hitting. With a press of the d-pad you can move forwards and backwards but this is a bit difficult to execute while your trying to concentrate on your shot selection. The control scheme where you can attach the nunchuck gives full control over your characters movement but it is surprisingly difficult to get to grips with. This might sound a little strange but it just doesn’t feel natural as just using the MotionPlus. You end up focusing on your positioning more than your shot selection which results in your game just going all over the place. This scheme is not disposable by any means but I would recommend mastering the “simpler” control scheme first before you even think about using this.
I do have a couple of gripes though, the main one being that you don’t have much control over your serves. To serve you just flick the remote up and then swing forward as hard as you can. You would think you would have total control over the serve but this is not the case. You can’t really “aim” your serves, they just usually end up going straight to the the opponents racket. Hell you can’t even hit super hard serves, no matter hard you hit the ball. I think the fastest serve I managed to pull of was around the 80mph mark. The other gripe (more of a small annoyance really) is that the motion controls get out of sync ocassionally and this totally messes up any momentum you had built up. This is pretty easily solved though, you just hold the remote still for a couple of seconds and the controls are “reset”. Even better though, to stop the issue occuring you just have to make sure you don’t wave around the remote during replays or when accessing menus. So yeah none of that shot practicing during replays folks!
GRAPHICS: Not much to say here really apart from Grand Slam Tennis has some nice “cartoony” visuals. The majority of the players are all real (Nadal, Federer, Murray, McEnroe and so on) but they are all made to look like “cute” cartoon versions of themselves. Imagine a Team Fortress version of Tennis and you’re basically there. It is not the most visually stunning game on the Wii but it certainly has its own unique style and it works really well. All the courts looks great too, especially Wimbledon but I might be slightly biased there I suppose. 🙂
SOUND: The game includes commentary which is provided by the Mr Pat cash himself but it is rather limited. It actually might aswell not be there, it gets a bit annoying after a while as you hear the same phrases over and over again. I lost count how many times I heard “It’s almost like a videogame”. Saying that though, the sound from the crowd and rackets is spot on. The “ooohhh’s” and “aaahhh’s” coming from crowd during an epic rally really make you feel like it is you on-court, really well done. The sound of ball hitting the racket coming through the speaker of the Wii remote also conveys a similar a feeling.
LONGEVITY: This game could last you for a long time, there is loads to keep you busy. There are the standard practice and exhibition modes which ease you into the game as well being a nice way to give you a quick 10-20 minutes of on-court action. For a deeper experience there is also a Grand Slam mode where you create a player and try to win the major tournaments such as the US open and Wimbledon. There is also a Get Fit mode where you can set yourself goals and burn off those calories by doing certain tasks. Then finally you have the multiplayer which is where this game will get its legs. The game includes both online and offline multiplayer modes which can basically keep you going for however long you wish. The offline multiplayer includes many fun mini-games as well as the standard tennis matches. Online multiplayer has your usual ranked and unranked matches aswell as leaderboards to keep you in competitive mode! 🙂
VERDICT: While not perfect, Grand Slam Tennis is a fantastic introduction to the new Wii MotionPlus control scheme and it most certainly offers the deepest tennis experience on any platform. A must for tennis fans who own a Wii.