Sporting pinpoint 1:1 control, 'Virtua Tennis 4' hits the courts in great shape. Renewed with vigour and a few new tricks, we'll see if #4 is a contender or just a first-round knockout.

After a few years of being on hiatus, SEGA returns to take another swing at the 'Virtua Tennis' series, and while it's not going to revive the sport of tennis in gaming, it's a fun Tennis offering that takes advantage of some PS3 exclusive perks. So if you have grown bored of 'Top Spin' and are looking for a game with a little more speed, this is your answer. Although, the innovations are the peripherals, 'Virtua Tennis' sticks to the formula that has made the long running series a household name. Rooted in an arcade base, the gameplay still keeps its “pick-up-and-play” credence which goes a long way in making any first-timer feel like a pro. Sure, the nuances are there, but you will have to spend some time with the game to slide into that curve.

One nice addition to 'Virtua Tennis 4' is the “arcadie” super-shot, which sounds is exactly what it sounds like. This is paired with a new on-court 'Match Momentum' gauge that runs over the course of a match to give your player enhanced skills as their confidence grows. It's a functioning addition that only adds to the gameplay, although gamers looking for a more "sim-like" experience might be driven away, but you can't fault SEGA for sticking with and embellishing their roots. It's not quite 'Mario Tennis,' but SEGA AM3 knows how to introduce a little spice.

Even with a few new features the biggest plus for 'Virtua Tennis 4' is how sleek the game plays. Simply put, this game feels good; a must-have in a sports title. The animations are solid and the players have a certain amount of grace as they glide across the court. Featuring 19 of the worlds top players from Federer, Sharapova, Wozniancki and more. You will likely get into a grove and easily sink a few hours into the gameplay.

For the most part the A.I. complements the matches, but it doesn't always feel 100% natural. Understandable, it is still fun to see how the players react in different scenarios. At times some frustration might set in, if things seem too implausible. Although it's not so bad that you'll put down the controller, it is forgivable and usually seen in competitive sports games.

Continuing to spice things up are the “exclusive perks” I mentioned earlier. First is 'PS Move' support, which is obviously a natural fit. The 1:1 accuracy is pretty accurate for this arcadish slugger and will likely put a smile on your face as you can get some use out of your Move controller. 3D Support is also another bullet-point on the box that goes hand-in-hand with the motion controller. Using both combinations amp up the draw of playing the game and once you get used to it, its unlikely that you'll switch back to your normal Sixaxis. Sure, there is still room for improvement, but for a firsst run it's brilliantly adapted and perfect for the sport of tennis.

Sliding from the good to the bad; or better, the questionable is the odd RPG-esq board game career mode. This mode feels a little bit too old school and offsetting to the natural vibe of the game. In comparison it simply doesn't have the awareness of something like 'Top Spin.' This chips away at some of the feel, which is only accented by the lack of depth in the career mode. Players looking for something to really sink their teeth into will likely be disappointed in this regard.

Beyond the standard match-ups you can break free with several mini-games. These "alternatives" are the perfect diversion with a few Playstation 3 exclusives to sweeten the pot. Mini-games are a guilty pleasure and do exactly what they are designed to do, provide a short burst of fun based around the Tennis gameplay. Time bombs, hot potatoes, you know the drill. It's all perfect for some joyful abandonment. Beyond that online play is set-up to offer some simple tally-recorded matches. Additionally the PS3 also has a few unlockable tennis legends; Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Pat Rafter.

PS3 owners who want a fresh PS Move title, 'Virtua Tennis 4' will likely keep you busy for a while, as long as you're not expecting a 'Tiger Woods' simulation of the sport. 'Virtua Tennis 4' is arcade rooted slammer that is pure at heart and an enormous amount of fun. Sure, improvements can be made and beyond the gimmicks, not much has changed. But as it stands we are happy that SEGA still supports the series and with the help of some new tech, it seems like the series might be able to finally grow.

  • Makes good use of the PS Move and 3D tech
  • Very accessible for all ages
  • Fun mini-games
  • A few PS3 exclusives
  • Misdirected career mode
  • Not branded
  • A.I. Doesn't always seem natural
  • Beyond the gimmicks, not much has changed

Quote: "Virtua Tennis 4 is arcade rooted slammer that is pure at heart and an enormous amount of fun."

Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 05.20.11

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Virtua Tennis 4




US Release
May '11



Players 1-4
Online MP 2-4
HD 720-1080p
Dolby 5.1 / DTS
756KB HD Space
PS Move Enabled
3D Enabled