|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Rockstar San Diego||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Rockstar||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 16, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
Table tennis has long been a popular pastime enjoyed by many people. Even in the early days of video games, there was a desire to play this sport virtually. Now that the industry has come a long way since the days of Pong, it is definitely a good time for an updated attempt to recapture the fun of this great sport. Although this game has already been released on the Xbox 360, the Wii version endeavors to make the experience seem even more realistic.
Since the Wii is graphically inferior to the Xbox 360, the Wii version of this game takes a noticeable downgrade in this department. That isn't to say that this game doesn't look good though, especially for a Wii game. The backgrounds in Table Tennis look great but are almost completely void of life. There are usually a few fans in the stands that you can't really see and absolutely nothing in the background moves. This isn't really a huge problem, but the static backgrounds do somewhat detract from the overall experience.
The characters look exceptional, but you can definitely tell that they had to make some compromises for this port. Each character has only a few expressions that get reused far too often, even in a relatively short period of time. All of the characters' clothes and hair, instead of moving around realistically, seem plastered onto the models and do not move. With these gripes aside though, Table Tennis has perhaps the best looking characters yet seen in a Wii title.
The animation in this game is also incredibly beautiful. No matter what kind of heated exchange you are involved in, your character moves fluidly from one shot to the next. These nearly seamless transitions in stance and swing are impressive to see and make this game feel incredibly authentic. Most of the game's characters also react differently, utilizing a wide variety of unique animations depending on their style of play. The smooth feel of the characters' animations, and even that of the ball, is certainly the highlight of this title.
Although this version of the game does an admirable job in the graphics department, the Wii controls are supposed to be what pulls gamers into this experience. Rockstar has taken a "Goldilocks and The Three Bears" approach to the controls in Table Tennis. Unfortunately, even though you are given three distinct control options to choose from, none of them are just right. You can play with just the Wii-mote using the standard control option, leaving the Wii to move your character around for you. To place shots appropriately, you will need to swing the Wii-mote diagonally in the direction that you would like to have the ball bounce. Aiming with this style of control is an interesting idea but the execution leaves much to be desired. Most of the time it seems like the ball ignores your instructions and just goes wherever it wants. This control method is too imprecise.