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Review Content

Video games have stayed in the market for years but most of them become successful because of continuous upgrades and innovation. But, for over ten years of being in the gaming world, Virtua Tennis has hardly changed and their latest version Virtua Tennis 2009 is no different. Like other VTs, the series still comes with its three basic shots - the top spin, slice and the lob.

Virtua Tennis 2009 is not without improvement though. A tiny advancement is made on the players' movement where they don't dive for shots directed on the baseline; and you do need to practice a lot to be able to do powerful returns. But aside from that, the rest is basically the same, which is truly disappointing.

There are times when the AI doesn't work. Even though Sumo digital has done away with the diving that has damaged the playing in the past, players in this new game still have to charge for the balls, sometimes going down on one knee just to hit back. This is fine except that sometimes during matches, the AI would blast off, running right after serving; taking away the challenge of the game. It feels like when you move to a direction before the opponent serves, they take that same direction after returning the shot. All of this could be a form of guessing and anticipating where you're going to hit, based on the direction of your last hit. In any case, everything just doesn't seem to add up.

Animation is also an issue, especially when you are about to hit a ball. Sometimes players make sudden jerks when doing their moves. Interestingly enough, this only happens when games are played on a Melbourne court or online. The new sequel does not shout creativity when it comes to innovation. It could have been more exciting if they tried to develop new controls instead of doing nothing at all to expand the gameplay.

Most of the plays are done in World Tour mode where you get to create a player. Here the feature interface is a far cry from satisfactory as players often end up scaring gamers instead of creating tennis stars. This mode has not even changed a bit just like the gameplay. You still travel throughout the world in handpicked destinations. Everything from the home, to training in the academy to doing things with your partner or playing their mini-games; everything has stagnated into boring sameness.

The audio is even more of a let-down. They have this tennis music going in the background during each game that pervades like annoying little mosquitoes and their striking ball sound effects is pitiable to put it mildly. You bet gamers would rather opt for total silence while playing.

The one significant change that can probably save the day from a total rain check is the added feature of bringing your customized player online to improve career ranking by competing in multiplayer games. I'm sure you won't be surprised to know that even that has a hitch, too. There is an awful lag in every match you play, which can really drive you to the edge of annoyance.

Virtua Tennis 2009 is just like any VT available on the market. Nothing is new that would excite gamers about this new installment. There is no innovation that would pique up your interests. Although some would undoubtedly love its consistency, those who are looking for something new will most likely feel even more frustrated than before.