With the Australian Open 2007 just finished - there is nothing more satisfying than grabbing ahold of a decent tennis game to quench your Tennis thirst.
Top Spin 2 on the DS was released at the end of 2005 and will set you back £25 brand new, but you'll find it on special offer usually in most gaming stores. I picked mine up for £13 brand new from HMV.
Graphically i wasn't impressed as i have seen much better DS games out there. Characters looks shabby and jagged around the edges and stadiums lack any real atmosphere. All the stadiums are built on the same format so many of the arena's only have minimal differences.
Unlike Virtua Tennis on the PSP, Top Spin 2 lacks any facial emotion and it leaves you looking at a very bland player.
Menu's are somewhat satisfying with animation scrolling in the background but all the blue scenery will often irritate you. When selecting characters a picture of the player will come up. These in game pictures resemble real life characters actually with Roger Federer's 'scrunched up' face and Ai Sugiyama's japanese persona.
The animation in the game however more than makes up for the lack of any graphical detail. Players move around the court with ease and striking the ball has never looked so real. Arguably a rival for Virtua Tennis (PSP) Top Spin 2 takes the animation straight from the first game and you can actually see the players lean into the ball to get more powerful shots. You see all the limbs move in the serve and see players struggle to reach ball far away. Its even better than some PS2 games i own not mentioning any names ...(perfect ace ....) and i would be surprised to see that animations and fluidity matches that of its Xbox 360 counterpart.
Guitar music blasts out at selection screens, but its just the same thing over and over and over again, and it can get quite boring and annoying at times. In game sounds consist of ball hitting, Comentator scores and female 'grunts'. It tries to add a little realism in the crowd by having applauses and commotions of 'come on!' but nothing mind blowing. But then again what would you expect from a tennis game?
Option include exibition for one player or a mulitplayer option. From here you can select one of the 16 pro players from real life tennis and go play on some recognised courts. Players consist of:
I was actually impressed here by the wide range of high ranked players. All the players are well known and each offer there strengths and weaknesses.
Career mode is where you will spend most of your time however, playing through each of the different level tournaments aiming for that number 1 spot.
You start off at rank 100 and work your way down to NO.1 playeing through over 25 tournaments. Some of these tournaments are real such as US Open and Indian Well but others are obviously a alternative ie. Paris Open (Roland Garros) and England Championships (Wimbledon).
For a portable game, Top Spin 2 is quite packed full in terms of tournaments rivalling other tennis games. This is fantastic as it keeps replayability alive.
In game, the full range of Tennis shots are available to pull off including flat shot, top spin, lob and drop shot. Its fantastic playing a character with good AI playing a flat shot down the line then changing to a slice then using a top spin backhand to keep you on the move. They are really easy to pull off as well. Maybe the risk shot and drop shot aren't but most of the others are.
The risk shot allows you to execute more powerful shots by holding down a shoulder button and aligning up the line inside a safe spot. This is quite challenging as you have to keep an eye out where your character is on the screen to hit ball to start with then time the risk perfectly and control the ball in the direction you want as well. No other game offers this meaning Top Spin 2 may be played by first time users and the more advanced.
Apart from the real players, another 84 exist that could resemble real players, for instance in the US open Semis i player Flaya Petrova (Nadia Petrova ....?). These players are great as well because they each have their own styles of play. One round you could be playing a hard hitting baseliner and then next a weak baseliner but superb at Vollying and net play. This means that you have to change your own style of play each match, meaning one match will never really be exactly the same.
Saying this i have loads and i mean loads of Tennis games for different consoles, and i found Top Spin 2 extremely easy. yeah different matches offer different challenges but soon enough you'll easily beat your opponent. Even the top players are easily brought down. You play one set consisting of three games for each match, which means you won't get a very challenging experience.
However saying that Top Spin 2 is extremely addictive, offering hours of replayability and realistic tennis. For a portable game, so much is crammed into it at the cost of its poor graphics perhaps, but the fluid controls means you'll never get frustrated at hitting the ball - unless you hit it out and of course it wasn't. All tennis fans should own this game!
One of the top Xbox sports games in both sales and popularity returns for another victory on Nintendo DS. Everything you loved about Top Spin is back and made even better. The peerless player-creator is reborn with the powerful digital identity that truly puts you in the game. Experience the pro tour in venues that are alive and dynamic with environmental elements that react to your play. Characters are even more stunning with the addition of HD technology and the inclusion of the top players in the world like Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt and Roger Federer. Put it all online and you once again have the greatest tennis game ever created. Features: Digital Identity: create realistic player models and customize them with the highest level of details. Hairstyles, shirts, shorts, shoes, etc. allow you to create a player with your look and your style. Breathtaking Visuals: silky smooth animations, vibrant colors, and shockingly high resolutions deliver illustrious depictions of players, stadiums, crowds, and tracksides. Top Spin 2 is assured to provide an unmatched tennis experience. Grand Slam Mode emulates all of the essential components of developing into a world-class tennis star. Over the span of multiple seasons, coach your player through training camps, junior championships, sponsored tournaments, and all four Grand Slam events. Take on, play as, or team up with 24 of the world's top ranked professionals, featuring tennis stars.