|Reference added: 378|
"Mario Tennis and Tennis 2K2: really different styles of tennis games."
It took me some time to get a little used to the weird two-button control here, by which I mean having to press say B and then A to do a drop-shot, instead of just holding back on the d-pad when hitting the shot, as in Tennis 2K2 (see entry 378). The button-combo style seems a little less intuitive, and for no real good reason, as it just means that you have to press one more button when hitting the game, and that forward and back on the stick do nothing to affect the ball's trajectory.
Well, one makes due I suppose. I've tried playing multiplayer doubles with this a number of times but the fun seems to wear off surprisingly quickly. Once all the supers have been seen and the cutesy characters have done their cutesy things, the multiplayer just goes flat somehow. And the supers, by the way, get annoying.
There are crazy tennis minigames here in which in general you try to hit things with balls, but they pretty much all stink. No, really, they just aren't fun somehow. Target practice with tennis balls is not a real fun sport, it turns out.
A larger problem, and one that affects non-minigameplay, is that all the supers and gimmick courts can make it really hard to see the ball. Really really hard, so that sometimes you just have to go on feel and punch a button and hope that the ball is going the way you think it was through the cloud of glowy particles and sprites. It's kind of weak.
The strength of the game ("Power" tennis, what a silly name) are the characters with distinctly different ability sets and the large variety of tournaments to win and little thingies to unlock to make yourself feel special. Playing through to earn the "Star" version of each character could take quite some time, and then there's the further "Star" tournament for each character, etc. You could spend a lot of time just doing that.
Would you want to though? Well, I don't know, I haven't tried it yet I suppose. I've been kicking some butt with Daisy, which has been okay fun, but I can definitely see some characters who I don't think I'd bother playing. Others I might though, so there.
The gameplay itself doesn't quite have the effortlessly professional feeling of Tennis 2K2, it has more of a power-blasting back-and-forth slog-your-way feel. A lot of the time it comes down to wearing your opponent down with well-times A -> A power shots back and forth until they just crumble. The supers just prolong the matches, really, since if you've saved up you'll have your Defensive super available which pretty much saves you from losing the point once on any given volley. So in effect, much of the time to win a point you have to hit two winners, and sometimes more. Sigh.
Still, all the powering up and smashing can get a little addictive, and you just get into this sort of A -> A smashing zone where you just want to kill the heck out of every cute puffy Nintendo character that comes along, and you want to win that $@^%&@ next tournament that just appeared, and you're going to tear some people some new holes to do it. And that's not a really bad thing.
|Supports progressive scan. The game is quite a visual showpiece, with sparkly effects firing off everywhere and very nice character models. A few courts are incredibly garish though, and as mentioned all the layered effects and bright colors can make it hard to track the ball, especially in quick battles at the net.|| ||