After nearly a decade of success with their Everybody's Golf franchise (particularly popular in Japan), Sony decided to expand their sports range by giving developers Clap Hanz the reigns on a tennis game tailored in a similar spirit. The same principles have been applied; bright presentation, the prospect of a strong multiplayer and easy to learn controls that cater for less experienced gamers. Without wishing to make unnecessary clichés though, tennis proves a whole different ball game to golf.
Everybody's Tennis gets the bits you'd expect right; visually it's attractive, with a range of snazzy courts that include locations such as streets, beaches and jungles before finally treating you to a very-Wimbledon-esque stadium in the closing stages to add a dash of grandiose to proceedings. All are nicely fleshed-out, awash with bright colours and in sharp definition. The characters follow suit in their super-deformed cartoony goodness, showcasing some enjoyably exaggerated movements, even if the personalities performing them are often mismatched and not especially interesting. The presentation mimics Namco's classic Smash Court Tennis (at its peak during the mid and late nineties), but ultimately proves less adept at emulating its arcade-perfect gameplay.
The prospect of competitive computer opponents in tennis games is a slim one, as usually it's a case of finding their weaknesses and continually exploiting them until you win. This is generally made possible by A.I. that doesn't adapt to your style as you play, or mix up their game effectively enough to keep the player guessing, an age old problem that is all too apparent in Everybody's Tennis. There are numerous ways to win points this way, the old favourite being to serve out wide, move into the net and hit the return ball into the open court, a tactic that works with monotonous regularity. So the only sure way of getting a competitive match is to choose a character with less power and agility than your opponent.
Another problem is the simplicity of the playing mechanics. Of course, it's difficult to recreate a lung-busting five-setter in the mould of a Nadal-Federer encounter with just a joypad, but Top Spin did at least challenge you to take risks and vary your tactics. Everybody's Tennis represents very few of the sports challenges, focusing its rewards almost solely on getting you to time your swing right, meaning there's no real buzz or excitement.
It's also absurdly easy to complete. Whilst Everybody's Golf typically requires weeks of practice to prise out all of its hidden goodies, you'll likely reach the end credits of Everybody's Tennis in two or three sittings. It was around twenty matches before I even lost a single game, and as you fly up the ranks, you'll be longing for some kind of challenge to remind you it's based on a competitive sport. You'll notice the introduction of some truly bizarre serve tactics in the latter stages as your opponents produce some outlandish curve effects, whilst occasionally the bounce of the ball will be akin to it hitting a pothole, which isn't especially fair as it's impossible to predict. Still, it's only after you reach the tier of 'Tennis God' will you feel like you're really being given a match, but even this additional class feels like a desperate attempt to squeeze longevity out of the game, as the rather tenuous rewards for beating the fourteen characters are simply a black version of already-acquired costumes.
The stroke-timing system is a positive addition, with what are presumably images of a tortoise and a hare appearing if you are too late or too early on the shot. Learning to time the ball sweetly yields its rewards, though working it from baseline to baseline does get quite dull. The slice and drop shot ideas are implemented well and can get you out of trouble, though the players seem a bit suspect around the net and lobs seem largely ineffectual, as players run rather too fast in relation to the ball. Doubles matches are quite weak, as your partner proves erratic and indecisive; sometimes they'll go for every ball in sight whilst occasionally they'll leave one coming more or less right at them.
Unlockables include additional players, umpires and outfits, as well as some attractive-looking courts. It's nothing to write home about in all honesty as the umpire's participation is understandably limited and the characters themselves are largely faceless. It's more disappointing that some additional game modes weren't introduced along the way, or at least some new racquets. The lack of attention to detail in many regards is strange given the developers pedigree - you can enter men against women in singles allowing you to choose someone with a significantly more powerful serve and groundstrokes than your opponent, and there aren't even any specialist left-handed players in the game, as you have the peculiar decision to choose this with each character.
All this leaves the game feeling less than what its high quality presentation and solid design should have amounted to. Winning is a chore and short, easy rallies offer little satisfaction as even the most inexperienced of players will be able to coast through the game on auto-pilot. Challenging tennis in video game form is clearly something of a difficult art, and one that Clap Hanz sadly hasn't been able to master.
i am often a fan of tennis games, however i find this game very dissapointing. this is the first 'cartooney' game i have bought and i thought it was quite boring, offering little variety in the game compared to other tennis games. perhaps the game is not aimed at tennis fans such as myself, however i still think the game is not worth the low price! i can see how many users would find it fun... especially the younger generations! however i think anyone would grow bored of the game after playing it for too long, which is a real shame. i think games of this kind can work well, and i am a great fan of other cartoon sports games such as 'wii tennis' however this game does not meet the criteria for me! overall, very dissapointing and probably not worth the money in my opinion, you are much better off going for a more conventional tennis game.
So how many times can you play a tennis game without getting bored, afterall it's just the same thing back a forth. Well not long but with Virtua Tennis there was enough little mini games plus a ratehr engageing career mode to carry you through and give the game a longer lifespan.
How does Everybody's Tennis compare? For a start much like Everybody's Golf, they take a different route by leaving realism aside and taking a more cartoonish yet still fun route to Tennis.
The game kinda reminds me of a tennis game I played on the PSX years ago, I think it was called Smash Court Tennis, as some shots have big aftertouch and theres actually not that much realistic Tennis-wise.
It's a nice alternative to Virtua Tennis although I think you'd really need to be an avid tennis fan to even want an alternative. The graphics are ok though not great, the gameplay is pretty rugged and hard to get used to and there aren't much to keep you coming back as anytihng that is unlockable isn't really worth it.
I can't really recommend it, but it is an ok attempt.
The Everybody's Golf series has won many fans over the 10 years of its releases and unsurprisingly so with its addictive cartoon style of Gameplay mixing simplicity with replayability. Yet I'm surprised that a spin off has never emerged until now. In the slow demise of the Playstation 2, does Everybody's Tennis have something special to capture people's attention with? Will it execute the same addictive mixes that its sister series holds so close to perfection?
Released in April 2007, Everybody's Tennis (Hot Shots Tennis in the US) does try ever so hard to reintroduce the simple style that games such as Anna Kournikova's Smash Court Tennis used to make itself a hit. Realism is the not the focus here and to be honest it shows but not necessarily in a bad way.
With Virtua Tennis leading the path on the PS3 in terms of graphics and aesthetics, Tennis games of late have tried to make the game more appealing to a new generation of players using realism and gimmicks that playing 'Tennis Games' has never been so much like the real thing. Everybody's Tennis goes back to the early days using simple cartoon animations fully rendered in 3D to capture the players' attention. Taking the character engine from the Golfing series, ET (Everybody's Tennis) does nothing spectacular but then again it's not meant to.
Its really captures the atmosphere of fun with its colourful array of characters and cleanly designed courts. Players, though stereotypes, look great placed amongst the colourful courts and their faces react wonderfully in replays when striking the balls. Combine this with a whole array of costumes to unlock; your players will never look the same in each match whether it's the colour of your outfit or the differing hair styles available.
Another nice touch, though not really advanced, is the mix of 2D backgrounds. This may sound rather dated nowadays, but whether it's a nice sunset emanating onto your beach style court or the gentle flow of a waterfall, these backgrounds never seem to falter with the games unique style.
Animation is top notch just like the golfing series with comical misses and precise hittings that add to the flavour of the Everybody's series. Dashing from side to side though not exactly realistic again is just part of what the game has to offer with comic strip like dash lines appearing from behind your player as they rush to the ball.
The only really bad thing graphically that Everybody's Tennis has is that many critics will see this child like cartoon to be dated and perhaps not fully using the capacity of the PS2. Though I can see their point, this game looks and feels the part. Another glitch however is that sometimes in the replays the game engine slows down and flickers slightly ruining the smooth flow that the game mostly has. Though not huge it is there and noticeable.
Everybody's Tennis may appeal more to beginners with regards to Tennis Gamers out there simply because of the straightforward nature of the controls. The three shot types available, Slice, Top Spin and Lob are all assigned to a button on the controller and though this is like most tennis games this one merely is basic. Apart from the directional buttons to not only control your character but also the direction of the hit, no extra detail has been included such as dash or flats. Though disappointing, I think the controls it does have works in the games favour simply because it is an uncomplicated game meant more for a fun value rather than something extremely competitive.
This however does add a disadvantage to the games appeal because no challenge really is seen in the game. In the Challenge mode, as you rise through the classes though the matches get harder you still will find it hard to loose if you are use to playing tennis games often. With 6 different classes you would expect to face a really tight match but though your opponents uses a range of shots and mixes, plus the rally's get longer you will eventually find each characters weakness and expose them to it.
This adds repetitiveness to the bag and a whole load of it too. Challenge mode requires winning a certain amount of matches to progress up a class and to win these matches you must play a whole range of characters either to unlock new ones, new costumes, new courts or umpires. The novelty soon wears off at unlocking these new things simply because the matches play out very similar with one set and four games to win. Certain matches have special requirements such as playing only as a beginner but again this doesn't add any sense of challenge. The whole Gameplay is fun for a while but to be honest you can't play this for a long period of time maybe an hour tops.
With the lack of a create your own style option means you can only play as the games characters and though there are 14 to choose from (12 of them you unlock) they range quite nicely but again in reality still play the same. So playing as a baseliner supposedly means their volleying skills are a little off but in the game the shot all pan out the same.
However, Everybody's Tennis does have its ups and precise timing being one of them. In order to play at match correctly each ball requires a correct level of awareness and timing otherwise your shot maybe too early, too late or just plain wrong and results either being hit out, hitting the net or simply not where you wanted the ball to go. This works quite well for the game because beginners can adapt to it nicely and easy enough and advanced players still have to concentrate in order to win the match.
A nice feature is the weather system meaning if it suddenly rains on court the balls become much slower and the bounce is limited meaning you have to be extra aware of your opponents shot type. Added with each courts individual surface, speed and bounce attributes you potentially have a different match every time you play.
Only two other modes are available, Tennis with Everybody is exactly the same as an exhibition match where you can choose who, where and with what rules to play with. So multiplayer comes in here allowing you to play doubles matches with up to four people via a multi tap. In retrospect the game does play out fairly in multiplayer as to begin with the game is quite fun meaning you and your friends will probably have a laugh whilst playing.
The other mode, training simple is just that teaching you how to perform each shot and teach you about the timing aspect of the game. Quite boring really but supposedly a necessity. The lack of other modes such as tournament and online means the replayability is limited to whether or not you fancy a quick match when you have spare time. It really is disappointing because the Everybody's Golf series has many other added depths such as the ability to save your replays or online mode so you can play against other hopefuls.
The sound effect in the game are to be expected taken from the golfing series, a whole load of corny cheers and claps, plus the stereotypical groans and moans from each player. A nice little touch is that your character will shout out during the game also especially after hitting a nice shot. Not only is this sometimes funny but also unique to a tennis game. Little funky tunes play in the background as well which to be honest is to expected from this style of game. They do fit in quite well with the ET style and caricature appeal.
Another disadvantage this game has however is how short it is. With 12 players, 4 umpires and 9 courts all to unlock that simply means in 25 matches you have completed the game and with each match lasting on average 4 minutes well you get the picture. A few days of play at most means the £29.99 RRP really isn't worth it and is best bought at less than half price.
Overall, Everybody's Tennis is quite an entertaining game offering a few hours of play and mix that with multiplayer options the game isn't that bad. With a unique style compared to most tennis games today Everybody's Tennis can be played by absolutely anybody meaning it can appeal to loads of different gamers out there. However with its lack of differing modes and short playing time, it really isn't worth a competitive edge compared to greater games. Whilst fun for a while, it rapidly becomes repetitive and should be played by beginners only or at least gamers looking for a few hours to waste away with friends.
** Information **
Players 1 - 4
255 KB minimum memory needed
No Online Play
** If You Like This You May Like **
Anna Kournikova's Smash Court Tennis (PSOne)
WTA Tour Tennis (PS2)
** Price **
(as of 04/10/07)
Tennis is one of the most exciting sports you can play, and now it's for Everybody! Everybody's Tennis is a fun, accessible sports game that's easy to pick up and play but very hard to put down.Taking the popular characters and ethos of the Everybody's Golf series, Everybody's Tennis crams extra fun into every corner with a variety of gameplay modes for all occasions. Comprehensive training options allow you to get the very best out of your character, but it's possible to head straight onto the court and get some brilliant rallies going if that's what you want.