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Grand Slam Tennis Review

EA send down an ace with their Wii Sports challenger

We're used to a certain amount of fanfare when it comes to new EA Sports games. That's the power of its PR machine. Faced with the lung-busting force of EA Sports' marketing oomph, even the Walls of Jericho would be blown away like dust. And then they'd canvas opinion of those nearby to find out how to do it better next time.

This time EA Sports has more reason than usual to parp its own trumpet. One, most importantly, Grand Slam Tennis itself is worth shouting about. Two, a gaping hole in the tennis genre has been filled. Three, EA Sports, not Nintendo, is leading the Wii MotionPlus charge - significant in that Nintendo is entrusting the keys to its latest innovation to a third-party developer (at least for a while until Wii Sports Resort hits the shelves). That's sort of like lending your shiny new Ferrari to your mate.

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The timing is perfect. 22 June sees Wimbledon begin and Grand Slam Tennis is the first tennis game to feature an official version of the championship. Understandably that has generated quite a buzz in the run-up to its release. In other tennis games we've had to squint a bit to make the screen go fuzzy and appear Wimbledonish, so to have the proper purple and green crossed racquets seal appearing over a proper rendition of Centre Court with players in proper regulation Wimbledon whites makes a world of difference to the atmosphere.

Think about unlicensed football games next to EA Sports' FIFA series and you remember putting up with the Red Cauldron stadium and its renowned tenants, Merseyside Red. It's the same deal here. Having the most recognisable tournament accurately represented is a big plus.

Mullet Over

If Wimbledon looks the part, then it sounds the part too. Pat Cash, he of legendary mullet and 1987's Wimbledon winner's dish, provides familiar commentary while the "Oohs!" and "Ahhs!" are recorded from last year's Grand Slam events. And once you've got used to the silly big tennis balls (which aren't any easier to hit despite their size) and the caricatured players, Grand Slam Tennis is a visually attractive thing, in its own way, the light-hearted, balloon-headed player models neatly summing up the askew approach EA Sports has taken to the tennis genre.

Rather than take on the more established Virtua Tennis series directly with a slavishly realistic portrayal of the sport, Grand Slam Tennis presents an outwardly light hearted alternative, ditching the usual rhythm-based mechanic with one that, thanks to Wii MotionPlus, concentrates much more on shot selection and the positioning of your racquet than being in the right place at the right time. The fun cartoony presentation shouldn't obscure the fact that underneath lies a dynamic, exciting game. Even without the Wii MotionPlus adaptor attached, this is a satisfyingly subtle and strategic affair.

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Wii-motional

Click the attachment into place at the base of the Remote and the whole thing is shifted up a level. The game recognises it automatically and after a couple of seconds holding the Remote still for it to sync up, the effect is immediately obvious.

In fact, to start with it's a little off-putting as the increased sensitivity to what you're doing with the Wii Remote is totally disorientating. Suddenly your shots are thumping into the net and bouncing way over the tramlines, and to add to the confusion your player is often facing the wrong way thanks to the slightest flick of the Remote in the wrong direction. You serve too weakly, or too long, or miss the ball entirely.

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Comments

19 comments so far...
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  1. 02hollandj Thursday 11th Jun 2009 at 08:07

    How come you didnt mention the online mode,if its because you reviewed it too early then what do you think of it now,also what do you think of this compared to vc 2009

  2. ultra_slb Thursday 11th Jun 2009 at 09:14

    are ALL the main courts in th game? wimbledon, US, australia and roland garos?

  3. Barton Thursday 11th Jun 2009 at 11:51

    Think i'll pick this up as i loved wii sports tennis.....the graphics look shocking though!

  4. Icarus_Kid Thursday 11th Jun 2009 at 13:01

    :lol: You gave it 90%?
    You give any rubbish a gold ward eh...

  5. Jim Compton-Hall Thursday 11th Jun 2009 at 16:00

    Got this delivered today (good old Play.com :D)
    Its great fun although a little tricky at first.

    are ALL the main courts in th game? wimbledon, US, australia and roland garos?

    Yes.

  6. ChrisONM Friday 12th Jun 2009 at 14:55

    :lol: You gave it 90%?
    You give any rubbish a gold ward eh...


    You've played it then? :wink:

  7. wicksy Saturday 13th Jun 2009 at 11:57

    Is there left hand functionality?

  8. Gamma9 Saturday 13th Jun 2009 at 12:25

    You write the article as if Nintendo invented the Wii Motion Plus...I thought a third, or second party company did so.

  9. deadboy522 Saturday 13th Jun 2009 at 15:13

    Think i'll pick this up as i loved wii sports tennis.....the graphics look shocking though!


    It is an acquired taste

  10. CitizenWolf Saturday 13th Jun 2009 at 19:12

    I recently bought this and straight away i thought this game was given a too high score. Wii Motionplus doesnt seem to make any difference and it seems to operates in a "semi-automatic" way which means your very often fighting what the game wants you to do rather than what you want to do. A 70% seems more like it to me.

  11. bazmeistergen Sunday 14th Jun 2009 at 05:28

    That's funny because I can direct the ball left and right when I want to. You need to move your player into the correct position to hit the ball in a realistic manner. It's tough, but it works.

  12. dreadzrus Sunday 14th Jun 2009 at 07:33

    I'm not a fan of sports games but this looks pretty good..... :wink:

  13. Icarus_Kid Sunday 14th Jun 2009 at 13:49

    :lol: You gave it 90%?
    You give any rubbish a gold ward eh...


    You've played it then? :wink:

    Why yes I have, the difficulty is to high for the market it's aimed at and the grahics are horrid. about 80% would be better.

  14. markdean2012 Monday 15th Jun 2009 at 10:15

    :lol: You gave it 90%?
    You give any rubbish a gold ward eh...


    You've played it then? :wink:

    Why yes I have, the difficulty is to high for the market it's aimed at and the grahics are horrid. about 80% would be better.

    i think you mean graphics :wink: , and they are just graphics they don't effect the gameplay at all, so it shouldn't get marked down just for having strange or "horrid" graphics

  15. JSupremoJ Monday 15th Jun 2009 at 20:42

    How many characters are there? Are the likes of Tipsarevic and Bagdahtis included? An unhelpful review...

  16. Gediness Sunday 21st Jun 2009 at 16:49

    :lol: You gave it 90%?
    You give any rubbish a gold ward eh...


    You've played it then? :wink:

    Why yes I have, the difficulty is to high for the market it's aimed at and the grahics are horrid. about 80% would be better.

    i think you mean graphics :wink: , and they are just graphics they don't effect the gameplay at all, so it shouldn't get marked down just for having strange or "horrid" graphics

    Why not? Poor graphics indicate a lack of effort and cheapens the entire package. I don't mind the graphics for the characters but the environment and other things, such as the crowd (which is fully 3-D on VT '09), give me the impression that EA, as one of the world's largest gaming companies, hasnt put enough effort into this game. Not only that, but the claim spread throughout the game that "Motionplus is the closest thing to using a real racquet" may be true, in that a racquet would be as much use. As a tennis player, using motionplus with this game is NOTHING like playing tennis in real life, as much as it pains me to say it, as tennis is often defined in a slight deft touch that can so easily be misinterpreted by a computer that creating the game EA claims this to be is something VERY hard to accomplish. Whilst the game without the MotionPlus I find to be very good, and certainly extremely addictive, this can never make up for the dissapointment as well as the relative lack of players (if you think that FIFA Street 2 had over 350 actual, famous football players) that can be found. Whilst career mode provides a good variety, I much prefer the maddness of VT's career mode or even the simplicity of Top Spin's, as they at least make sense - whilst GST's career mode, as well as its seemingly random player improvement device (apart from the ability "snatching" from pros :P ) leaves a lot to be desired.
    Whilst I love playing Grand Slam Tennis, it is certainly not good enough as a package to be given a gold award, as it doesn't live up o its own standards. For that reason, I would find it hard to give it any more than 85%, because whilst it is much better than Wii Sports Tennis, it can't be considered an overall fantastic game.

    oh, and for JSupremoJ, the characters are: Roddick, Federer, Nadal, Murray, Djockovic, Hewitt, Sampras, Venus and Serena Williams, Stich, Borg, Becker, Mcenroe, Cash, Tsonga, Navratilova, Evert, Nishikori, Edberg, Sharapova, Davenport, Henin and Ivanovic - to varying degrees of reality.

  17. gazman_1874 Sunday 21st Jun 2009 at 22:50

    So is there not actaully like a serious version where you play with a realistic looking player and play a career, including lot's of tournaments, not just the Grand Slams?

    If not this is so disapointing - I may have to get Virtua Tennis instead!

  18. kishore4u Monday 29th Jun 2009 at 10:04

    Hi everyone, the Wimbledon Open Tennis 2009 starting from June 22nd to 5th July. For more information like schedules, dates, players list, rankings, draws, score etc visit “Altiusdirectory.com”.

    http://www.altiusdirectory.com/Sports/2 ... dules.html

  19. Nathan123 Sunday 1st Aug 2010 at 09:54

    A good game and good graphics with brilliant controls.

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