Review by party_boy_UK
Good fun, can be incredibly stressfull however...
The third series of the Virtua Tennis series brings us Virtua Tennis 3. With 20 different tennis stars to use, and a variety of tasks and tournaments in World Tour, fun Xbox Live experience, it sounds like a fun game for those who follow Tennis and for those who don't. Sounds good? It surprisingly is. A few flaws however...
Graphics - 9/10
The characters, the effects, the venue's, are all very very impressive. The clothes free flowingly move around as your tennis star runs around the court, shoes squeaking on the turf, slipping over if turns are made too quickly, Sega have really impressed me with the graphics. However, their are one or two minor issues that surround this. All of the characters look relatively similar (if they're of the same gender obviously!) and even though the skin textures look good, they look hurried and the shading doesn't look too fantastic, almost as if they have multiple tones in the skin.
No doubt however, everything looks great in the game. It's really easy on the eye, a joy to watch and play an intense game on.
Sound - 6/10
While the grunts and groans of players putting massive amounts of effort into winning, there is a very good reason this review gets only 6/10 for the sound. The music when you're playing the tennis matches. It's annoying, it's repetitive, and as it may not sound bad at first, it'll soon become incredibly annoying after you hear it 4 or 5 times, and you'll soon be able to recognise how the song goes throughout, which obviously isn't a good thing.
While this is annoying, there is still positives. Little tweaks such as the referee's speaking in the respective country's language which you're playing in, the shoes squeaking when you quickly turn on the turf, the sound the racket makes when you hit the ball sounds great, just little tweaks make the sound a whole lot more bearable than it should be.
Game play - 6/10
At first, the game play feels fantastic. It's quick, it's powerful, and you do have to try relatively hard. However, as it will probably be mentioned a few times in this section, it's awfully repetitive. After a good few matches, it will feel the same, and this will begin to affect motivation to get to your goal; being ranked Number 1 in the Tennis world. However, the game play certainly gets raised a few bars with some of the fun mini-games you can play in order to raise your stat levels to make your character better. However, these mini-games another major reason as to why game play is only a 6/10.
The mini-games in World Tour can be very, very annoying. The Tennis Academy (where you can carry out in-game practices in order to improve) prove more challenging to do in the practice than in the proper match. Some of the mini-games can prove challenging and at one point, seemingly impossible. Mainly why the game play gets a 6/10, as there is no other proper way of increasing your characters stats. The characters can also out of no where decide to become god-like in practice modes, which can also be very annoying.
Online - 7/10
The online for this game is relatively fun. With friends, it can be quite easily a 10/10, because it's good fun challenging friends to a singles match or doubles match, and it's all good fun. However, when you get mixed with other people in different countries, the lag can really let you down, and as timing is important in Tennis games, it can become rather annoying. Getting the online-related achievements did prove most difficult, mainly because I couldn't bring myself to play through a stuttering annoying onslaught of Tennis games.
Things to do - 5/10
There is however, a major lack of things to do in the game. However, being a Tennis game, you can come to expect this. Hardcore Tennis fans (unlike myself) could bring themselves to play it over and over again but me, I couldn't do it. You can get bored very quickly, the online is annoying, the massively varying difficulty curve, you can go from destroying players easily to getting destroyed in straight sets. There's also a lack of personal gain when you play, because when you win your 50th match, there just doesn't feel like there's any gain to it.
Rent or Buy?
I'd say Buy. The World Tour will take you more than a designated rent time to get to Number 1, and you'll be able to have a load of fun playing friends and meeting new people playing Online. You can get it quite cheap now, so why not pop down to your local game store and buy it? It can be very good fun with friends, and is a definite for hardcore Tennis fans.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Virtua Tennis 3 (EU, 03/23/07)
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