Virtua Tennis World Tour PSP Review

Virtua Tennis has graced both home consoles and arcades and been a huge hit on both platforms. Sadly the game has never seen the same success on handhelds. Now in the hands of Sumo Digital (who recently brought us Outrun 2 on Xbox), can they succeed in shrinking the title but maximizing the gameplay to make it a hit on the PSP?

Gameplay

Let’s get straight to the point, VTWT is probably one of the best tennis games ever! It has all the playability of its console brothers, which alone means that it deserves any gamers attention, but it also brings extras to the table (or should I say court). It is basically a must buy if you don’t own the console incarnations, although maybe a little bit more is needed if you have already played Virtua Tennis to death in the past.

First of all, to make it stand out from the console counterparts it has an updated roster featuring Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Tim Henman, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Tommy Haas, Sebastien Grosjean, David Nalbandian, Daniela Hantuchova, Amelie Mauresmo, Nicole Vaidisova, Maria Sharapova, Lindsay Davenport, Sarah Bailey, Carolina Relandini and Venus Williams, all in pixel perfect form. This alone should be enough to get some VT fans watering at the mouth, but World Tour also tries to pack even more on the little UMD. This “little extra” includes the new game modes Blockbuster, Fruit Dash, Blocker and Balloon Smash which can be rather fun if you get bored during your run through the Championship mode or can even be used for a quick pick up and play if you are stuck on a bus or train!

The rest of the game plays and looks like a regular VT game with Quick Matches, Tournament and Exhibition Matches making an appearance. Then there’s the World Tour mode where you try to battle your way to the top of the tennis rankings whilst building your skill and buying items along the way. Controlling your players is as tight as it always has been in other VT games, with the PSP’s d-pad being my preferred choice as it seems to be slightly more accurate than the analog nub. While there are a lot of things in VT:PT to make it equal to its console incarnations there isn’t a great deal (other than the updated roster and the ability to play on the move) to make it worth a purchase if you already own the console counterpart(s).

Graphics

After as little as ten minutes of playing Virtua Tennis you can see it is utilizing the full power of the PSP (or at least the most they can get out of it at the moment) as it gives a spectacular performance that is a credit to the power of Sony’s handheld and would not look out of place on some of today’s current generation consoles. If I were to compare it to previous Virtua Tennis games on other consoles I could easily rate it up there with the Dreamcast version, but just not quite as clean looking in some places. The animations are also of a high quality, with everything looking as you would expect and flowing together nicely.

Sound

This is the one aspect of the game where I was disappointed; as it’s only a tennis game it was never going to be an audiophile’s dream but a little more work could have been done in my opinion. If I am not mistaken the music within the game is an exact rip of the tunes found on the console version and although some of the tunes are rather catchy at first they get very old after a while. As for sound effects, the umpire is there shouting his stuff and the crowd play their part too by rapturously applauding great points. All in all the sound is not great, but as it is a tennis game it does not need to be!

Lifespan

With heaps of different modes of play the game should last a considerable amount of time. World Tour mode is where most of the game time should be spent, and to get from beginning to end of that mode should take well over 12 hours of continuous play. When you add to this the selection of alternative modes that are playable through Wifi with up to four players there is a lot of game here for your money.

Overall

The only reason not to get this game would be if you absolutely hate tennis, and by hate I mean absolutely can’t stand to watch it even for five seconds. For those who have no interest in the sport Virtua Tennis can still be considered a great game and for those that love the game of tennis then Virtua Tennis is a real must buy. When all’s said and done Virtua Tennis really is one game to love (yes, pun intended!!).

8.9 out of 10

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