Latest Game Reviews
Grand Slam Tennis 2 Review - PS3
With contributions by Chris Scarcella
To consider Grand Slam Tennis 2 a sequel would only be possible had 2009's Grand Slam Tennis made it the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It didn't, having only graced the Wii. Thus, this game represents a 3 year effort from EA Sports to put out an HD tennis game. Whilst this tennis simulator aims for the heights of realism that franchises like FIFA and the NBA 2K series try to deliver year after year, it's the combination of the game's lacklustre Career Mode and its much larger AI issues that let it down.
Booting up the game and browsing the menus are highly reminiscent of EA's FIFA series; the same layouts and input tones seem to be taken directly out of FIFA 12. Whilst the design is mostly effective, it would have benefited from a fresher design overall, given it is a tennis sim debut for EA. Luckily, the in-game presentation offers much more. After some very quick opening cinematic, you'll find yourself starting the match and always serving (did EA forget the coin toss?). From the get go, you'll notice the PRO AI system in effect. Roddick serve, Federer's one handed backhand, Hewitt's double-handed backhand: they're all there, and more. This, combined with the ESPN branding and complete ATP & WTA licensing allows the game to shine. With the exception of some bizarre looking forehands when hitting the ball in certain positions, overall the game looks and feels realistic.
One of the significant problems in the game is the aspect of PRO AI which dictates the playing style of every computer player you face. For example, in Tournament mode and Career mode, you will encounter many generic, fictional tennis players who fill the roster. Attached to these players are tag lines which describe their playing style, such as Offensive/Defensive Baseliner, All Round, Net Player, Serve, Volleyer and so on. The problem inherent, especially when up against a net player for example, is that every point will have the AI running to the net and volleying until you can't chase the ball anymore. What's more, even if you find a solution to counteract this strategy, the AI will not adapt. In a real tennis game, a player will generally attempt to adapt to any of the tactics that the opponent throws at them. If net-play is not winning them points, the player might switch to offense on the baseline or simply hold out for an unforced error. The one dimensional tactics system in this game has been employed since the earliest tennis games and it appears that EA have done little, if anything to improve on it.
Equally disappointing is the game's career mode, which comprises of a 10 year marathon of Grand Slam tournaments, exhibition matches and training. EA's Game Face technology can be utilised to import your own face into the game, or you may start from scratch. The problems in this mode relate to the ease of taking all 4 grand slams in your first ...(continued next page)
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