A Virtual World Tour With a Real Tennis Atmosphere
On March 15th, 2K Games will be releasing Top Spin 4, the latest entry in their series of Top Spin tennis games, for the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii. With its full-featured online gameplay modes, detailed character creation options options, and roster of both current and classic tennis pros, the game aims to please tennis loving gamers of all interests and skill levels.
Part of the way in which the game is attempting to reach out to fans is by reducing the learning curve featured in the notoriously difficult Top Spin 3. According to the game’s associate producer, Michael Kelly, and executive producer, François Giuntini, the last entry in the series focused on intense realism, which translated to what some players saw as restrictive lag and an unnecessarily long learning period. In order to combat this issue without having to compromise the game’s more realistic side, Top Spin 4 reduces the amount of time that players have to spend in Top Spin Academy, the game’s tutorial mode. Rather than being required to spend hours in virtual lessons, players will be able to get through them quickly or, if they want, skip them entirely. For players interested in learning advanced techniques, however, similar to what one might see in real tennis, a multitude of lessons are still available.
Another way in which Top Spin 4 is attempting to provide a tennis simulation with wide appeal, at least for gamers with XBox 360 or PS3 consoles, is within the game’s incredibly busy online multiplayer mode. The online elements of the game are divided into seasons, and within each season, each player with a custom character can participate in a seven events and tournaments which will help to determine their ranking against all of the world’s Top Spin 4 players. Once a player has depleted a season’s events, though, they will still be able to participate in the more basic Quick Matches. Though playing Quick Matches may not provide a player with as many rewards as a tournament would, it still guarantees that the game never runs out of online content in which a player can participate.
Top Spin 4’s executive producer, François Giuntini, said that the game had “a lot of options, looks and feels real, but, at the same time, is easy to pick up.” With piles of online gameplay for XBox 360 and PS3 owners, nuanced motion controls for the Wii and Playstation Move, and character development options capable of satisfying stat-crazed RPG level grinders, it sounds like his words may be true. However, skeptical gamers can see for themselves how it works by downloading the free demo currently available from the Playstation Store and XBox Live Marketplace.