It's the Tetris trouble. At times agame producer happens upon a flawless recipe on the 1st try, a formof flawlessness that would be settled if any of the ingredients wereappended to or brought away from. Thus it is with Sega AM3's VirtuaTennis, an arcade game that translated the stretch-and-dive drama ofprofessional tennis with such assured brilliance that, apart from aconspicuous lack of female players, forestalled a sequel.
But though perfection may be the aim ofevery game planner, it's the enemy of the businessmen that pay forthe game planner's computers, electricity and crunch-period pizzas.No, a launcher expects the recipe to be delicious, but somehow flawedor lacking. That way, it can be bettered and construct upon insequels and the starting investment recouped time and time again.It's the outstanding unspoken tension at the heart of thesequel-driven games industry and it's a tension that runs via VirtuaTennis 4's centre court.
Because the basics of Virtua Tenniscannot be bettered upon. Its breezy court play, with its arcadeinheritance, is as recently made and comfy now like it was 12 yearsago. Considered at the ground level of matches, it stays the bestvideo game estimation of the sport available. There have been tweaksmade to the core engine – with characters less probably to leapinto cross-court dives, and more balanced AI – but they are onlytweaks, and the game has everything of the delicate balance of itsearlier predecessors: simply to pick up and play, difficult tomaster.
Thus it falls to the gimmicks andframing of the package to try to introduce relevance in anincreasingly competitive niche. Virtua Tennis 4's innovations arrivenot in ground-level play, the way that lobs and volleys are managed,but in 3D television support, Kinect and Move control options and anabove hauled World Tour way. They're additions that afford theillusion of expansion without messing with the secret recipe thatmade Virtua Tennis its location in the canon.
Though playing Virtua Tennis 4 onMicrosoft's motion sensing camera is submitted to a bespoke MotionControl Mode particularly planned for the task, the execution is aresounding letdown. Reasoning that the average living room floor issubstantially smaller as compared to a tennis court, Segaauto-manages your character running for the ball in the Wii Sportsstyle, submitting the interactivity to swinging your empty hand aboutto set up strokes.
Still, these map badly to your motions,the racquet failing to change like you pivot your wrist, though lobsare read as gentle forehands. Inexplicably, the camera jumps fromfirst- to third-person in among every shot during play, a positionshift that will create also the most concentrated player feel likewhile they're playing with the deck of the Titanic minutes earlier itsank.