Product Type: Rockstar Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... moving your player from side to side & selecting which shot you want to play by a differnent button. It's very easy. Right makes the ba... more
Smackin' some balls and eatin' some strawberries
Table Tennis (Xbox 360)
Member Name: Stunt 101
Table Tennis (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Very intense, accessible but also deep, great multiplayer, lots of unlockables.
Disadvantages: Sparse on modes especially if you don't have Xbox Live, music is a little lousy.
The game controls well. You move around the court with the left analog stick and either do spins with the face buttons or the right analog stick. You should probably use the face buttons because the right analog stick is kind of clunky. You can change the camera by pressing the select button, though the default camera is fine so you probably won't. If you hold the left bumper while hitting a spin you can perform a soft shot and if you hold the right bumper you can perform a focus shot, if you have focus that is. If you don't have the options set so they automatically turn it on, you can activate full focus by pressing the left or right trigger. The controls are responsive and easy to learn. The character moves fluidly, so the game feels smooth.
The gameplay in Table Tennis is fantastic. The game rules stick very closely to actual Table Tennis, where you must hit the ball so that the opponent misses it. You can't just hit it where ever you want; as the ball must touch the opponent's side of the table otherwise it will be out. If the ball hits the net, it will be a fault. If you're out or get a fault the opponent gets a point. At the beginning of each round, either you or the opponent serves. To serve, you press one of the hitting buttons, and then hold a hit button down. As soon as you let go then you'll serve. The cool thing about serving is that you can serve as hard as you want, meaning if you want to hit hard you should try and get into the green area, but if you want it to be soft then you should aim for the red/orange area, though don't go too low otherwise it will be out.
While hitting the ball, you'll notice that the game has a faint colour around it. If you pay more attention, you'll notice they represent the colours of the X, Y, B and A buttons. These represent the types of hits you or the opponent have just done. If you hit back with the same type of hit, then the hit back will be better. The four types of hits are Top Spin, Left Spin, Right Spin and Back Spin. You can also combine shots, for example you can mix the speed of a top spin shot with the curve of a left or right spin shot. But the coolest thing in Table Tennis is how the game uses the force feedback feature of the 360 controller. If you are getting close to an out, the control will start to vibrate, meaning you should aim away from where you are. If you're going to be out, the control will start to really vibrate. This means you can have a tactical advantage, as if you are going to be out, you can quickly aim away.
There are only two single player modes in Table Tennis. The first is the tournament mode, where you can participate in one of four tournaments to earn a medal. The first of the four is relatively easy, but as you go into the higher tourneys then the game can be actually quite challenging. Each tourney will have a set of matches in different locations. For example, in the second tournament there are three matches in two different locations, which does mean double work. Some tourneys can feel like they last forever, as you have to do eleven winning shots for two rounds, and having to do lots of matches can feel like they're taking forever. The other mode is a standard exhibition match where you can choose the characters playing and where you will play. Both modes succeed thanks to the great A.I. on offer, particularly in the harder tourneys. If you keep using the same technique to beat them, they'll get wise and stop you from doing that. There are some dumb moments though, like when the ball is right next to their paddle but they miss.
There are eleven characters available in Table Tennis, even if there's only three available at the beginning. Each character is different because of a number of things. They are all from different countries, like Egypt or USA. But they are also different because each of them are rated on Statistics. Each character is rated on four things-accuracy, power, serve and spin. Each character has different stats, for example Jesper has immense power, but a rubbish serve and is lacking in spin and accuracy. Liu Ping is an all around player with mostly even stats. Solayman has a good serve and is quite powerful, but isn't very accurate and doesn't have a good spin. You get the point-everyone is different. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, and in single player you must take advantage of these things.
Each character also has a set of unlockables. You can unlock five alternate outfits and one or two arenas. How to unlock them is a bit of a mystery, as if just gives you clues on what you could do to unlock them. While you can look at achievements to see how to unlock characters, the rest of them you'll have to discover for yourself. You can unlock things by playing in both the tournament mode and the exhibition mode. You'll have to do certain things like, say, win by using a soft shot or make a comeback after being down by a number of points. There are lots of different ways to unlock things, so if you can't unlock a character by winning the hardest tournament, you can always win a number of matches against the CPU. It's this accessibility that means anyone can play, yet if you want to go harder then you can.
There is also multiplayer, which can be done with either split-screen for two players or Xbox Live for up to eight people. When I say eight people, it only means that eight people can enter a tournament, as eight people can't play at once. Split-screen plays like a normal one-on-one match, but the camera changes so both people can watch the ball. Online play lets you compete in ranked or unranked matches in either standard play or eight player tournaments. You can also watch other people play, but there are only two reasons you'd do that. One, you can find people to play with online and two you want the achievement for watching your first match. It's not exactly fun watching a match drag on forever. There's also leaderboards so that you can track your progress. The online play is mostly stable, but whether you're online or offline, the multiplayer is great thanks to the fact that anyone can play. It's great for parties, as it can be picked up and played, and it can be as deep as you want it to be.
The game is rated 3+, which means there's no violence, language, sex or drug references or really anything that would offend. That might be a surprise considering Rockstar are one of the most controversial developers in gaming, but it's true. It's also great for youngers considering that it's very accessible. But older players who want depth will find it here too as they change how they play and other things and go out to unlock everything.
The graphics in Table Tennis are great, which is mostly due to the absolutely incredible character models. They are beautiful; in fact, I would say they are CG quality. Their clothes sway as the characters move, their eyes shine in the light and sweat glistens the skin and eventually seeps through the character's shirts. The characters also move incredibly fluidly, as animation is smooth throughout. Also, other details like how different characters hold their paddles differently really make the characters look incredible. Obviously, not everything in the game is going to have the same level of detail as the characters, but the rest of the game looks good. Environments look a little sparse as all you see is the two players, a table, a ball and the background. While the background is nicely detailed, the crowd isn't in view of the camera, and the only time you'll see them is in the very brief cutscenes during gameplay. But, the frame rate stays smooth throughout, which is what really matters.
The sound in Table Tennis is great. What really does stand out are the sounds the crowd will make. It actually changes depending on what character you are, as depending on what country you're from they will actually start to chant your national anthem. Other effects like when they start stamping their feet on the grandstands and when they chant and boo really do make the experience seem real. The other effects are good too, as the sounds of hitting a ping pong ball sound like, well, hitting a ping pong ball. The sounds of it bouncing off the table are spot on and when you hitting harder or softer the sound will change. It's just a shame everything else is forgettable. There's some voice clips after you've won or won/lost a tiring round, but these are both repetitive and unmemorable, as you mostly can't hear what they're saying. Also, some really lousy techno music plagues the menu and will pop in during gameplay when the rally number is increasing. It's out of place and isn't actually good in its own right. But the effects are so good all this doesn't really matter.
-(The Replay Value)-
Unfortunately, the game is relatively sparse on modes. Forget about a create-a-character mode, a doubles mode or even an actual career mode. The lack of these things is rather annoying, as playing in a career mode would have been awesome, as well being able to play doubles online or show off your created character online. That said, what's there will last you. The four tournaments will take your about ten hours to finish, depending on your skill level. There are lots of unlockables though, and finding out what unlocks these can be a challenge. Top that with Xbox Live play that still has plenty of competition online and you'll be spending a good twenty hours with Table Tennis. And on top of that, the game is actually one of the cheapest Xbox 360 games on the market, as the most expensive is £24.99, and the cheapest can be around £10. That said, if you don't have Xbox Live that could cut your gameplay time in half. The achievements consist of unlocking characters, unlocking every item in the game, winning tourney, getting winning streaks online and playing for a number of hours online or offline. They push you to get better, which is really great.
-(The Ending Comments)-
Table Tennis is one of the 360s best sports games, and there are plenty on the system. While it might be sparse on play options, there are so many items to unlock, as well as Xbox Live play to keep you busy, that you won't be done with this quickly. The game is so intense that some games may leave your hands shaking, and the fact that you can quickly jump into the game and have it be as deep as you want it to be means it's really accessible. On top of that, the graphics are phenomenal-character models don't get much better than this, and the sound is great with cool crowd sounds. You may want to skip it if you don't have online play, but anyone else should definitely give this a try, if only to get for parties and nights after you've been to the pub.
-(The Extra Info)-
This was published by Rockstar games and developed by Rockstar San Diego.
This was released on May 26th, 2006 and is also on Wii.
This is available from Amazon for £12.97
Thanks for reading. Stunt 101
Summary: Rockstar go away from their controversial roots and produce one of the 360s best sporting games.
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