Virtual Tennis 4 is one of the best tennis games available today. Mix the love of the sport with role-playing elements and you have Virtual Tennis in a nutshell. There are multiple game types to choose from, ranging from your run-of-the mill arcade-style match ups to online battles. There is also a career mode for an expansive offline experience; it is a must-play for tennis fans.
During career mode, you travel from event to event via a mapping system that is setup in a turn-based fashion. You move about using tickets that allow you to do everything from moving to recuperating; they will also allow you to move further or shorter on the map. The map is laid out with varies events (such as pitfalls) that can land you in trouble. You can end up with condition loss, money loss, and you can even lose time (and that you can’t afford to lose).
Besides the pitfalls, there are a slew of practice events to partake in that will straighten out your character’s overall performance. There are also management offices and motels/hotels that will allow your tennis player to rest and recuperate.
The Manger’s office sells a couple of different tickets that can be used on the world map. When traveling on the world map, there are four tickets that will change randomly. These tickets will allow you to make decisions regarding the events scattered across the map.
It’s important to visit practice and training events to increase your character’s stats, improving you in different fields depending on the training event. There are a number of training events you can compete in, including wind matches where you battle against big fans blowing wind in a certain direction. The object is to keep a rally going between you and your opponent. The longer you keep the rally going, the more points you will earn.
Other forms of training include clay shooting. In this event, you must score a certain amount of points while being timed. The object is to break clay disc targets that cycle from side-to-side.
Another training event is egg collector. There are hens on either side of the tennis court; you must run up to the chicken eggs to make them hatch. After they hatch, you must return the babies to the mother hen while dodging flying tennis balls. The longer the line of baby chicks that you have following you, the higher the chain bonus will be once delivered.
Later on, other training events like Royal Poker, Coin Match and Bomb Match will be made available. Royal Poker I found rather fun to play. You are given a set of cards (or a hand) like in a standard poker game. The object is to make a suit/pair or make a royal flush. If you’re a Poker fan like me, you will really like these training exercises.
Bomb match has you playing against the clock as you hit a ticking bomb back between you and another opponent. Coin match is a lot like the egg collector training, but instead of collecting eggs, you collect coins while playing a game of tennis against an opponent.
Plus, there are single and double tournaments that you can participate in or bypass for other events as you make your way to the main event. There is plenty to do and a lot to partake in, but keep in mind that there is only so many days for each event. It’s important to mange your time wisely if you are going to make it in time for the main challenge.
Along your travels on the map, there will be publicity work to participate in. This includes media interviews, giving tennis lessons, and signing autographs for your fans. Just like the training events and the tournaments, you will use up your condition points when entering any event, no matter what it is.
Every time you do an event, win a game, or just participate in just about anything, you will earn something called SPT.
SPT are gold stars that indicate status and ranking. The higher your ranking, the more items you will unlock. Throughout the course of Virtua Tennis 4, you will unlock numerous clothing items such as shirts, trousers, eyewear, hats, rackets and more. These clothing items can be mixed and matched together to create the overall look you are wanting to achieve. Full player outfits can also be unlocked to dress your tennis player.
The clothing is selectable from the kit catalogue, which can be found in the My Club option on the map or from the main menu. Also found in the My Club feature is a play style lesson option; this will let you purchase skills that will help you perform better. These skills include – but are not limited to – stroke, defensive, tactical and other various skills from the play style lesson feature.
Virtua Tennis is a very technical game where the rules apply. If you are not familiar with the game of tennis, I strongly advise some practice rounds along with an easier difficultly level. The competition will not be very forgiving; not at all.
This is a very hardcore game of tennis; it feels like you’re fighting for your life rather than playing a friendly game. With every smack of the ball, you can hear your character react to every serve and counter. Even during long matches, you can see the sweat pouring off your character as he plays and rests. This really adds to the game’s overall realism.
Each court has it’s own unique look and feel. Whether you’re in Egypt or France, there is no mistaking the location. You can tell that countless hours of development and planning was spent polishing Virtua Tennis 4 and it shows.
The online aspect of Virtua Tennis 4 is just as heart-pounding as the offline matches. When playing online, you can choose to play quick ranked matches or standard player matches. Additionally, there is an option to pick from a roster of pro tennis players before attempting online play. You can use your offline campaign character for online matches, but you better be well trained before attempting it. I suggest building your offline character before going online. If you end up playing against a pro gamer, the chances of winning are slim.
The good news is, the online community is overwhelmingly massive no matter what time of day it is. And instead of sitting inside a boring lobby waiting for your turn, you are placed in arcade mode to warm up.
Virtua Tennis 4 is a great game that’s worth adding to your collection (whether you’re a fan of tennis or not). Once you try it, you will find it hard to put down.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 3 (Playstation Move Compatible)
ESRB: E (Everyone)
|Absolutely awesome; so realistic, you can even watch the players sweat.|
|Spot on; the nicest sound effects heard in a sports title.|
|The best tennis game on the market with plenty of features|
|I wasn’t a tennis fan until I played Virtua Tennis 4.|