On the face of it Virtua Tennis 2 may seem like any ordinary tennis game. However load this baby up and your welcomed to a world of fast paced non stop enjoyment!
Since this game is now around 10 years old (where does time go!) the players are a little outdated with the women consisting of the Williams sisters, Lindsay Davenport and five other top females. The men consisting of Tim Henmen (Come on Tim!!) Pat Rafter, Carlos Moya and other superstars of the time.
The graphics are solid although maybe a little blockey at times. The characters closely resemble their real life counterparts and it deserves credit for that. The sound track is fast paced tunes that fit well in context of the game.
On start up there are 2 main modes to choose from, exhibition or world tour. The exhibition mode gives the player the option to customize a match from single to doubles and choose one of many locations and surfaces to compete on. This mode is there for those players who want a quick fix of tennis action without working toward a particular goal.
The World tour mode is where the vast majority of this games appeal lies. This mode is enormous and will take a player lots of time to complete the ultimate objective of becoming the number one player in the world! You start off by creating a custom character selecting everything to do with their appearance (hair clothes etc) and then its off into the action. You Start off by competing in various minor events across all surfaces and locations. Your players attributes start very low so at first shots as slow and accuracy is therefore a must. However these poor stats wont hinder you in the beginning as the AI is set low so the first few tournaments should be easy. In the event that you get knocked out of a tournament (happened to me a few times!) you have to wait until the next season to get your chance of revenge in that particular event. This adds a great realistic dimension to the game, there are no second chances here.
However as you win games your players stats will improve and your prize money will increase. This allows you to by new equipment (Better racquets, clothes etc) and improve your chances of getting your ranking up.
In addition to earning stats increases through matches, there is an extensive training mode which is quite simply brilliant.
The training is just so much fun and is indicative of how this game is more focused to enjoyment rather than an all out simulator. You can improve all aspects of your characters game with fun mini games and challenges which get harder as you master them. For example to improve serving one of the games involves hitting objects off a conveyer belt and to improve volleying hitting target areas marked out on the court. There are lots of training variations so it never get boring.
All of this play in World tour mode leads to ultimately unlocking all of the locations across the world and even the kings court which is played on a luxury cruise ship. Be warned however the computer in very very hard as you near the number one rank and the final battle on the cruise ship is one of the hardest things i have ever overcome!
The fast paced nature of the action has lead to many a night spent with up to 4 friends playing doubles matches that have contained some of the most ridiculous rally's known to man. This for me is what makes not just this game but many older games more enjoyable the fact that you can have friends over to play this rather than over an internet connection. Its more personal and interactive in that regard.
Whilst the technical shot making of the players may not be as accurate as more recent incarnations, its the easy to pick up fast arcade feel to Virtua tennis 2 that make it a winner in my books.
Best price at time of review £15 brand new
After playing the original on the now retired Dreamcast, I was very interested to see how this would stand up when a second game came out on the playstation 2.
This was something of a mega hit on the dreamcast and it's appeal was worldwide, being one of the bigger titles on the Dreamcast. Therefore when I saw it fall to a very affordable 10.00 I snapped it up on the ps2.
There are a number of big tennis players on this game including Pete Sampras, Tim Henman, Kafelnikov and Patrick Rafter. All of the tennis stars a reflection of the real life counterparts, with Henman for instance having a great serve and volley game, while his backcourt strokes are a little more suspect, while Sampras just has a terrific all round game.
In addition there is a create a player option which allows you to customise every aspect of a player from his or her appearance, to their attire, to their strengths and weaknesses. As you earn more prize money you can then buy better rackets, more skills, and change your attire.
You have two modes of play, either exhibition or world play mode. You can of course pit yourself against another player in either singles or doubles. If you opt for world play mode you will be presented with a number of accessible tournaments but to progress onto further stages you will first need to prove that you are a capable player by passing a number of skill tests. These entail exercises like hitting a series of static and moving targets. These become increasingly more demanding as the targets move faster and the time limit before reaching your objective becomes tighter.
You can hit a range of ground strokes, serve, volley but also apply swerve and spin on the ball to confuse and wrong foot your opponent. The trick to the game is to master the timing of the strokes, if you get this right, you can hit ferocious, crisp unerring shots past your helpless opponent, but time it wrong and you will leave yourself vulnerable to passing shots or indeed lobs.
Graphically and considering the time when it was made, the graphics are quite admirable, motion is good, the detail of the players has been paid convincing attention to and the graphics are sharp.
There is a great array of shots available at your disposal but this is going to be dependent on your ability to pull them off. The controls are very responsive though and you certainly can't blame the controller when a shot sails past you, even though i inevitably do.
There is a decent difficulty curve and you should find that when you have got the basics the initial opponents can be comfortably overcome. It is only when you encounter the more recognised names that things will change.
What I don't like about this game though is the timing of shots does take some getting used and can be something of a deterrent for perseverance. Furthermore the requirement to pass all of the skill tests before getting complete access to all tournaments seems a little annoying and some of these tests get annoying.
This is not perfect by any means but is the best tennis play game i have played so far
Virtua Tennis 2 is a great knockabout tennis game for the PS2. Although a little dated now and much better tennis sims being available, this is an excellent cheap alternative.
The gameplay takes a little getting used to as you have to get the player into position early and swing early to hit the shot with maximum power but once you've realised this then the game is great fun.
The World tour mode is a good single player feature as it encompases loads of different tournaments as well as a series of different mini games designed to improve your players skills, ranging from volleys, groundstrokes, serving, footwork and power.
As a multiplayer game, it is good fun but can sometimes be a little frustrating in actually killing off a point. However Im guessing this is like real tennis!
There is no commentary but this doesnt really detract from the game and the range of players is limited. However still good fun!
Virtua Tennis is a game franchise you may have come across at the arcades, and thankfully over the years various console editions have gone on sale. Today we will be reviewing the PlayStation 2 version of the game known as Virtua Tennis 2 (VT2) in Europe, released November 2002. In North America the game is called Sega Sports Tennis. VT2 is a game you can choose to play by yourself, or with 3 other people. It is game created by Sega, and it will be fully explained why this is such a quality title.
In this arcade-style tennis game you can play as one of 16 professional male and female tennis players, including the likes of Venus and Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, and Tommy Haas. This ensures that there is a great variety in the type of players you can control. For example some are strong backhand players (Thomas Enqvist), others are serve and volley specialists (Tim Henman), whilst several are powerful shot makers (Carlos Moya). Whoever you play against will determine the correct tactics to make use of. Lets say you face a strong forehand player; it is advisable to hit him/her to their backhand side. Alternatively versus a serve and volley specialist you should try and keep them at the baseline so they cannot use their strengths at the net.
As with the professional tennis tour, there are numerous surfaces to play on (grass, clay, hard and carpet). Just as in real life the ball responds differently according to the surface. For instance on grass the ball travels fast having hit the surface, but bounces low. The control system is ever so simple and responsive to use. Either lob with the square button, slice using circle, or do topspin shots by pressing X. Use the analogue stick or D-pad to direct the ball and choose the length of shots. One can hit the ball harder so long as your player is near the ball at the point of contact. As you improve you should be able to achieve drop shots as well as smashes.
The World Tour mode is where the bulk of the single player experience is to be had. At the start of this you create a male and a female player. One will customise these players - choosing their name, height, weight, hair colour and such like. Each player starts 300th in the world rankings with novice tennis ability. The objective of the World Tour is to play mini-games to improve your skills to enter progressively harder tournaments around the world to become world number 1 with both players. There are four main types of skills to be improved: (a) serve, (b) footwork, (c) volley, and (d) stroke. The total of eight training mini-games include dodging red balls whilst collecting flags (footwork), serving to knock down pins like in tenpin bowling (serve), and hitting powerful shots back at firing tanks to defeat them (stroke). After participating in a mini-game a screen with numerous player stats is shown, which increase greatly or marginally according to how successfully you executed the training. The RPG levelling up elements of VT2 are exceptionally well implemented since one can really feel how the players begin to improve. For example by choosing to play only footwork mini games, the player will become a fast runner, speeding around the court with ease. Having successfully levelled up one should enter some tournaments. Winning tournaments in World Tour improves your players rankings and bank balance. Money earned provides the opportunity to modernise your players equipment and clothing, buy new courts, and pay a professional to team with you in a doubles tournament.
To fully complete this game will take you quite a while anything up to 30 hours. In addition to World Tour there are Tournament and Exhibition modes to enjoy. Tournament mode is very much what you may have seen at the arcade. In single player mode players have to win five stages in a Tournament earning prize money after vanquishing progressively harder opponents, or alternatively play a doubles Tournament with three stages to contest. Exhibition matches allow you to challenge the computer, or your friends to a single match of tennis. Doubles matches can prove to be fast and frantic affairs, which can provide a great laugh especially when human opponents are playing. Additionally VT2 includes a very welcome mixed double option to participate in.
--------Graphics, Sound and Music--------
The graphics are for the most part fairly decent. Some of the professional players facially look like they do in real life. In addition courts and players look colourful throughout, and the animation is slick.
There are some rather neat sound effects to enjoy in VT2. Trainers squeak on court adding a little authenticity to the game. Furthermore the match crowd respectfully clap after a point is won. Whats more the sound of racquet hitting ball sounds precisely like it would do on TV or whilst playing a match at your local sport centre. Players even grunt when striking the ball ultra hard. The techno background music fits VT2s arcade style well, although it is not really my cup of tea.
Can be described as rather out of date since some of the players are long retired, such as Patrick Rafter, Monica Seles to name a few. Some may be upset to hear that tournaments and stadiums do not have official names. One can still accurately guess which tournament and/or stadium is being represented though. The English Championship competed on a grass surface clearly corresponds to Wimbledon for example.
The last few tournaments of the World Tour can be a bit of a nightmare to beat. However if you persevere for many hours and level up enough in the mini games you will prevail. Although once you have fully levelled up all stats and become world number 1 there is little more to accomplish in the World Tour.
When you play against the computer sometimes the opponent stops in their tracks and does not even attempt to hit or get the ball back. To avoid this it is best to play on the harder settings. Another significant reason to play on harder settings is that you can have some long, tense but satisfying rallies that provide a great sense of achievement when you win the point.
There are a couple of graphical issues which must be mentioned. Crowds can look a little ridiculous when shown after a point is won because they are essentially cardboard cutouts. Unfortunately the courts and players do not always look smooth, they suffer from jaggy edges. For me this does not ruin the great gameplay offered in VT2, but the graphical complaints are very obvious and will annoy many people.
Such is the quality of this title; people do not even need to be a tennis fan to appreciate it. Despite being over four years old, VT2 is undoubtedly the best tennis game available on the PlayStation 2, and ranks very highly against all sport titles. Ebay appears to be the best online way to purchase VT2 nowadays, with anything up to £7 needed for a successful bid. In my opinion due to the sheer amount of hours you could play this game by yourself as well as with friends on a multi-tap, £7 definitely rates as great value for money. After all, still to this day VT2 is a game that is sometimes played in my household.
- Gameplay: 9/10 - is very addictive from the get go ensuring a desire to play more and improve. It is a game that anyone should be able to pick up and play, and most importantly have a great time doing so.
- Graphics: 7.5/10 - not the best in all fairness, and beginning to show signs of old age now. Due to some aliasing issues VT2 can sadly be a bit of an eye sore.
- Longevity: 8.5/10 playing against friends should provide many hours of fun. Additionally the World Tour has great depth, and should prove a real challenge to master even for hardcore gamers.
- Sound: 8/10 all things considered this is very good, adding some atmosphere to the matches because the sounds used are like that of a real match. On the downside, VT2 suffers from some rather ordinary techno music.
Final Score: 8.4 out of ten
--------The Future of Virtua Tennis--------
The sequel, Virtua Tennis 3, is due in 2007 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, and PlayStation Portable. This will go some way to addressing some of the problems with VT2, namely a more up to date set of players, including arguably the greatest tennis player of all time Roger Federer, in addition to high resolution graphics. The future of the franchise looks very positive indeed.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed.
PS2 sequel to the worldwide arcade and Dreamcast hit, Virtua Tennis. Singles, doubles, and mixed doubles matches for up to four players.