Virtua Tennis 3
|a game by||Sega AM3 R&D Division|
|Platforms:||XBox 360, PC, Playstation 3|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 3 votes|
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|See also:||Tennis Games|
With The Kind of euphoria that's screeched by numerous middle-aged ladies from Henman Hill during Wimbledon fortnight we welcome back the third iteration to PC after Virtua Tennis 2 failed to show. Virtua Tennis is the Pro Evolution Soccer of the sport, providing the instant accessibility of an arcade game, with the hidden depths and secrets of a hardcore title - the classic 'easy to learn, difficult to master1 aesthetic that marks out true classics.
Virtua Tennis 3 gives you three types of shot - slice, top spin and lob - although the timing and the ability to 'charge up' shots allows you to pull off a huge array of different ones, which is where the skill of a master player is revealed. Like PES, Sega's sports game just feels right - you get real satisfaction when you hit a perfect return from a serve, or smash a crucial backhand into the corner to win a point, and the improved animation adds to the fluidity of the action.
In single-player, VT3 has tons of variety, with 20 male and female tennis pros (but no Andy Murray), singles and doubles games, tournaments and World Tour. Basically a hugely addictive RPG mode, in World Tour you can create your own tennis star and take part in compos and mini-games to build up your stats and buy better clothing, rackets and other gear.
Also, you have instant access to over half-a-dozen 'court games' that include the bowling extravaganza Pin Crusher and my personal favourite Avalanche, a hilarious mini-game where your chosen tennis pro has to collect fruit that rolls down towards him, while dodging giant tennis balls. It's what I imagine Tim Henman's recurring nightmare about winning Wimbledon looks like. All good, except for one very stupid omission - no online multiplayer. While you can gather friends around your PC with a couple of pads - which is ridiculous fun - there's no excuse for the lack of online when the ruddy Xbox 360 version has it. However, despite this balls-up, Virtua Tennis 3 remains 26.9 times more entertaining than actually playing or watching the real sport.