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2K Sports’ Top Spin 4 for Wii is an Ace: A Sports Video Game Review
Tennis fans and players and any sports video game fan may want to look into Top Spin 4 from 2K Sports. Top Spin 4 is a realistic looking tennis game that features some of the most famous tennis stars from the past and present.
Top Spin 4 is available on X-Box 360, Playstation 3, and Nintendo Wii, and retails for $39.99. I played Top Spin 4 on Nintendo Wii and got quite a workout in addition to having fun and getting some exercise.
On the Nintendo Wii, Top Spin 4 uses the responsive Wii controls that allow players to simulate actual tennis movements from either a sitting or standing position. Players swing their arms in much the same way as they would if playing a real tennis match. The tricky part is using the nun chuck to move the character in one direction and then quickly repositioning the joystick to aim the shot all while preparing the arm swing. Slow-arm swings typically mean soft but more controllable shots. Fast-arm swings mean harder shots, but they are more difficult to control—just as if playing for real.
I played from both sitting and standing positions. My arm got a workout either way, but I felt much more into the game while standing. I even found myself shuffling my feet and moving myself side to side as if actually approaching the ball. This made the game more fun to play and allowed me to get some much-needed exercise. I even felt the need to ice down my arm when I finished playing.
Top Spin 4 is great for beginners and experts. It has easy, normal, hard, and very hard modes. I won on easy mode very quickly and moved on to normal within one day. I had trouble with hard, and in very hard mode, Roger Federer disposed of me as if I was not even there. It will take a lot of practice to work up to playing at this level. In any mode, I could choose between safe serve, which gets the serve in almost automatically but with little power, or advanced serve, which allows a harder serve but is tough to control. Safe serve helps to avoid double faults. I could select either at any time.
Exhibition and career modes
Players can compete in single exhibition games or create their own players and begin their amateur or professional careers. Unlike with many other games, though, they cannot make the most talented player with the best possible skills from scratch. Players must begin at very low ranks and work their way up to top levels by earning skill points through challenges and matches and assigning those points to various skills along the way. This makes career mode much more realistic and challenging.
Top Spin 4 contains tutorial and practice sessions for serving and volleying. With the Wii, a normal side-to-side swing will get the ball over the net. However, to make more skillful shots, players want to practice different swings in tutorial mode. For example, a hip-to-shoulder swing puts top spin on the ball, making it sink more quickly and bounce low. A shoulder-to-hip swing lofts the ball over the opponent's head for deeper shots. Players can also practice movement, net charges, and drop shots. Be careful, though, because swinging even a little bit late could mean missing the ball completely.
The game has no play-by-play, but players can hear the public address announcer very clearly announce the scores after each point. Crowd noise enhances the realism, and players can select the volume levels of background music and sound effects.
Advantage 2K Sports
Top Spin 4 for Wii is an easy game to learn, but it takes much practice to master. I am not a big tennis fan, but I will try nearly any type of sports video game. Top Spin 4 captured my interest as one of the best tennis video games I have tried to date.
2K Sports, Top Spin 4, 2ksports.com.
Raymond grew up in the days of Atari and witnessed the progression of home video game consoles. He has played sports games on most consoles and personal computers as they became available. He now owns multiple game systems and enjoys most professional sports games. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau
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