Top positive review
7 people found this helpful
Unhhh! Game, Set and Match. Pretty Ace.
on 24 May 2012
That's it for the cliches... promise.
Grand Slam Tennis 2 is a pretty remarkable bit of programming. While we are probably quite used to detailed graphics, great physics engines, high production-value cut scenes and realistic, mo-capped player movement in EA titles, GST2 still manages to impress with its fidelity to the game. Of course, the major tournaments and players are present and correct - i.e. you're playing Wimbledon rather than "London" and Federer rather than "Fedder" - and this does seem to make a difference to the impression the game leaves. However, I am only really interested in how much fun a game is to play and this is where GST2 starts to excel. I believe the main reason for this is that the control eschews the traditional buttons for right analogue control stick movements in terms of shot selection and placement. If you've ever played the EA Fight Night games, you'll understand. So, rather than moving your player with the left stick and picking shots with the four main buttons, you instead pick shots with the right stick for the main shots. You can also use the buttons if you wish/prefer, but I find that after some practice, the use of the two sticks is more, if not "realistic" (it's not, after all, Kinect-like full body movement), more natural in terms of gameplay. The control system feels more immersive. It does, of course, take some getting used to, but that's a good thing - the learning curve is part of the appeal.
Beyond that, EA maintain their usual high standards in terms of presentation. Typically, I get very bored of the commentary on sports titles - all titles. While GST2 suffers the usual repetition you must accept, the commentary is actually pretty good with John McEnroe providing his seemingly endless talents to the production. I find McEnroe's real commentary on the BBC to be incredibly insightful and somehow, even in the anonymous confines of a recording studio for a disembodied game, he manages to add a dimension of credibility to the proceedings. I felt like I was getting useful coaching in the game (real and video) from the commentary, which helped to improve my progress.
On the point of McEnroe, you can also play as some of the all-time greats, which is a nice touch. We are lucky to be in a golden period for mens' tennis, but it's still a thrill to play as Borg or McEnroe (for those of us in our 40s at least).
My only comparison to GST2 is some Mario titles on the Cube and Wii and Virtua Tennis 4 on the PS3. Mario Tennis is of course, an arcadey fun game rather than a sim-like game; Virtua Tennis 4 is, in my opinion, soundly beaten by GST2 in just about every department, and most importantly, in terms of playability. Virtua Tennis might have a more comprehensive career mode, but I prefer the shorter, pick-up-and-play of GST2. That may just be me, but I don't have the time to throw my whole life at video games.