Virtua Tennis vs. Grand Slam Tennis

by Kevin on

Yesterday, I wrote about the glory and majesty of EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis.

I went back and played it again, and it’s still awesome. You can unhook the nunchuck and surprise, it plays like Wii Sports Tennis, but with the added ability to move around a little with the control pad. Well, the flip side was Sega’s own offering: Virtua Tennis. Back in “the day,” Virtua Tennis on the Dreamcast was pretty good, right? I stopped by the demo unit for the Wii offering in the Nintendo booth this morning with Cory, and we both came away unimpressed. It may have been because the wii remotes didn’t have nunchucks, but, that aside, the game just didn’t feel as good. It sure looked nice, what with the more realistic graphics, but in terms of pick-up-and-playability, Cory and I were annoyed with the fact that a) you have to click a little circle before each and every serve to indicate that you’re ready, and b) it was annoyingly hard to Not Fault on a serve. Cory double-faulted three times, once to end the match, which is about as anticlimactic as Minority Report. Or A.I.. Or Schindler’s List. (too soon?) It used Motion Plus, but it never felt like it did. It was incredibly too forgiving, and so the game felt disconnected from the input. You would swing, but you never felt like you were really playing, but rather watching a jaggy CGI tennis match.

Two ladies were playing the game when I first showed up, and they were having a blast, but they were PR reps, and I think they’d be smiling and giggling if I were just punching them in the face and shouting state capitals. BOISE. (whack) CHEYENNE. (boof) HELENA. (thwomp) Imagine as I make my way through the American northwest!

The character models were good, and they had realistic reactions, but so did the Grand Slam Tennis models, and their cartooney look was actually a little more recognizable. After shaking our heads and walking away from Virtua Tennis, Cory and I went over and played a match of Grand Slam Tennis, and he came away as pumped as I was. This is how I am going to be getting a Wii Motion Plus remote-buttplug for sure. “Bottom-line” (har har harrr): If you like tennis – skip Virtua Tennis, buy Grand Slam Tennis.