Four years since the last Virtua Tennis game, Sega has released the highly anticipated Virtua Tennis 4. Featuring spectacular graphics, gameplay, and a large roster of playable characters, Virtua Tennis 4 is an awesome third sequel to the franchise.
The Virtua Tennis games are known for their combination of arcade-style action with professional tennis simulation. Thankfully, Virtua Tennis 4 keeps this age-old tradition alive. Players will get to experience fast-paced tennis action that will keep them on their toes. The game relies heavily on quick reflexes and good hand-eye coordination, trying to mimic the feel of real life tennis as closely as possible minus the danger of getting hit in the face with a 65 mph flying tennis ball. Thanks to the game’s ability to connect with the Wii MotionPlus or Wii Remote Plus, players can accurately swing and serve the ball with gusto using the advanced motion sensing capabilities. This also allows expert gamers to add spin to the tennis ball or swing their racket in a variety of ways, adding to the realism. Furthermore, a first-person view is available in the exhibition mode in order to get players in the shoes of the character onscreen. The Wii MotionPlus or Wii Remote Plus is optional, but it serves as an excellent addon for a complete game experience.
Fans of professional tennis will get to play as or against their favorite tennis idols in the game. From jaw-dropping babe Maria Sharapova to ripped and rugged Rafael Nadal, Virtua Tennis 4 renders 19 of the best tennis players in the world into their virtual counterparts. Additionally, the tennis courts, cutscenes, and various game options are also breathtakingly designed, making Virtua Tennis 4 a feast for the senses.
The Wii Virtua Tennis 4 game is divided into Arcade and Exhibition Modes as well as the main campaign or World Tour. Players wishing to have a quick match with their buddies or against the computer will spend most of their time in the Arcade and Exhibition sections, but those who want the complete experience will prefer the World Tour. It’s undergone some changes since Virtua Tennis 3, and the campaign is now divided into various sections in a board game-like design where players march their “token” to a specific destination. In the World Tour, players can create their own customized tennis character if they wish and fight their way to the top of the tennis competition. The World Tour is pretty standard but still provides great entertainment value.
The audio is beautifully made. Onscreen players will shout or give off audible grunts and yelps as they strike the ball. The arena spectators also erupt into cheers at appropriate moments and stay quiet during the volley. Ball hits and rebounds are also heard well, and the official’s booming voice is a nice addition.
Finally, the camera is dynamic and zooms in or out accordingly. It doesn’t leave players wondering where their character went or let the ball fly out of sight. A clunky camera can ruin most games, and Virtua Tennis doesn’t allow this to happen.
Ultimately, Virtua Tennis 4 is a solid Wii release in almost every aspect.
As good as the game is, there are some drawbacks. The first is that it feels old and dated. Virtua Tennis 4 contains almost the same features as previous releases and has undergone limited development and growth except for a few minor adjustments. Virtua Tennis 4 is better than Virtua Tennis 3, but only slightly.
The Virtua Tennis 4 Wii game also recycles most animation sequences in the game. The individual characters don’t have any unique cutscenes or celebration poses, and the same repetitive sequences soon get old.
Finally, there are numerous “side quests” that are incorporated in the World Tour such as getting a sports massage in a spa and selling game tickets. They seem quite cute at first, but the World Tour design and the various extra activities make it confusing for fans who just want to play tennis. There are also eight Party Games including hitting card faces at the other end of the court or playing with a tennis ball that turns into a bomb. It adds variety, but you won’t be playing much with the Party Games when the main game modes have so much more to offer.
The Virtua Tennis 4 game can be played quite well with a standard Wii remote. Optional equipment are the Wii MotionPlus and Wii Remote Plus used for more accurate motion sensing capabilities that give players the full Virtua Tennis experience. Multiplayer mode can have up to four players at a time in a doubles match and is compatible with online play, ensuring that family and friends can join in on the fun without regard to geographical distance.
Virtua Tennis 4 is a solid, arcade tennis game packed with action and excitement. Unfortunately, the franchise hasn’t evolved much since its creation, and Virtua Tennis 4 feels like a rehash of previous releases. However, sports gamers and tennis fans will find a lot of quality content in the game. Despite the feelings of déjà vu, Virtua Tennis 4 provides the most complete tennis experience in the video game market to date.