|System: Wii, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Release: May 10, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Comic Mischief|
The controls for the Wii version are particularly frustrating, since you're asked to hold the Wii Remote sideways instead of using it in conjunction with the Nunchuck. The button placement makes for awkward play. You have four shots to choose from, but the buttons that correspond with these shots are randomly spread out across the controller. There are two buttons on the right, the A button beside the control pad, and the trigger button underneath. Also, not having an analog stick for movement makes it more difficult to shift around the court.
As frustrating as the conventional controls may be, they aren't as bad as the ghastly motion controls. Before launch, Sega was touting the full motion compatibility with all systems, which their competitor, Top Spin 4, failed to achieve. With such hype, it's incredibly disappointing that the controls were actually given such little attention. You can only use the motion controls in the exhibition game and one of the party games. In both, you shift in and out of first and third-person perspectives, forcing you to constantly adjust your focus. You also don't control your character's movements, and simply need to swing at the appropriate time. Serves and ball placement are also out of your control, making any strategy while playing in this mode null and void. At best, you'll get a little workout for your arm, but you'll probably get bored long before your arm ever gets tired.
The graphics in the Wii version are noticeably worse than its console competitors. In order to accommodate the same features and game modes available on the Xbox 360 and the PS3, blocky textures and poor shadowing, as well as dated character models are what the Wii version must suffer with. The animations are still as smooth, but the camera movement shows all the graphical exceptions made in order to keep a decent frame rate.
The music is an odd, genre-bending blend that lacks any type of coherence. Surprisingly, the music played during the matches fits the arcade style Sega was going for and does nothing to detract the gameplay. The sound effects, however, may be the worst I have heard in any game. The limited grunts and other tennis sounds seem like something a monkey could have found on the internet. The audience is audibly disjointed as well. A good example is when you're playing in a qualifying court where the screen clearly shows just a few spectators, but applause seems to come from an invisible audience of about fifty.
Since tennis games don't receive an annual upgrade like other sports games do, you would think developers would have more time to deliver a polished product. Virtua Tennis 4, however, seems to take about a dozen steps backward, with few redeeming features able to keep your interest. Hopefully, they take a long hard look at their flaws and serve up a better product the next time around. Until then, where's my Wii Sports?
CCC Contributing Writer