Virtua Tennis 2 Review

Virtua Tennis 2 Review

Since Virtua Tennis was released on the Dreamcast, several publishers have been trying to create a better tennis game while Sega has been working away on the PS2 conversion. Out of all the wannabes Sony's Smash Court Tennis has come closest, but Virtua Tennis 2 is better looking, has more modes and features some fantastic deep absorbing game play.

The main problem with sports games is that you need to have some sort of interest in the sport to get anything out of them. This is not the case with Sega's tennis game. The controls are pretty much straight forward and it's easy for novices to pick up and play, but the game play is never compromised. Virtua Tennis 2 is the definition of acrcade style game play. It's fast and forgiving, but it's also a skill based game that will punish you for bad and sloppy play. The X, square and circle buttons are used for top spin, lob and slice shots, you have complete control over the balls speed and height and when used in conjunction with the D Pad skilled players will be able to play the ball anywhere on the court.

The three game modes in Virtua Tennis 2 are as follows, tournament, exhibition and world tour. The tournament mode is the most basic arcade style mode in the game, putting you up against a series of real world tennis pros. There are a total of 16 different pros to choose from, eight male and eight female.

Virtua Tennis 2 Review  @
Virtua Tennis 2 Review  @
Exhibition lets you customise and play any variety of singles or doubles matches, either against the computer or with up to three other players. Multiplayer games are the best and most exciting part of the game, although the AI puts up a good fair challenge. The AI also does a great job of recognising and exploiting players weaknesses without seeming overpowering. Virtua Tennis 2's AI is smart, so smart you will learn from your mistakes and the AI will find another weakness to your game, it trains you in a sense. Even when playing in a doubles game with the computer it knows when to take charge and when to back off and let you do your stuff.

The World Tour is the deepest of the three modes and it's also the one you will probably spend most of your time on. After creating your own custom male and female players, you'll travel around the world playing a variety of mini games that will let you add the finishing touches to your player's skills and compete in tournaments. When you win tournaments you will receive cash prizes which can be used to buy new clothes and gear for the players, unlock new courts in exhibition mode and hire tennis pros to play along side in doubles matches. The world tour mode is also great for beginners as the mini games will teach you the main points of the game while the difficulty level constantly increases for both the mini games and the tournaments. World Tour mode is still challenging enough for experienced players, you'll be kept on you toes.

Graphically Virtua Tennis 2 doesn't look any different to the Dreamcast games at first glance. The clarity and the colour depth of the textures have been improved slightly and the players are definitely sharper. You will also notice small marks on the court as the game progresses. Lighting is also good with each player casting a nice sharp shadow with the occasional passing cloud being seen on the court. The games animation is superb, the players movement is completely natural. Virtua Tennis is definitely a graphical improvement on the Dreamcast version.

Sound wise Virtua Tennis has good quality sound effects, from the smack of the ball on the racket to the groaning players as they stretch for a long ball. There are other nice touches like the squeaky shoes on the tennis court and the mellow applause from the crowd. Unfortunately the sound track features Sega's typical electronic guitar whaling that can get on your nerves now and again.

The differences between the Dreamcast version and the PS2 versions of Virtua Tennis 2 are pretty minor really and don't really amount to much so if you own a Dreamcast with Virtua Tennis 2 and a PS2 there is no need to shell out anymore cash for this. But for those of you who don't have a Dreamcast this is an essential purchase, you won't stop playing for an eternity, it's that good. It gets even better when you mates come round for a few matches.

8.5 out of 10