Virtua Tennis 4 PS Vita User Review
Virtua Tennis has been a favorite of multiplayer fans ever since it launched on the Dreamcast more than a decade ago. Since then it has been ported, updated and released on multiple consoles under multiple names. However, despite attempts to freshen things up, this solid iteration of the game ends up being just that: a solid iteration of a game that we have all played before.
As SEGA's first PSVita title, Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour translates to the small screen admirably. While Virtua Tennis's main competitor, Top Spin, has always attempted to make a more realistic Tennis Sim, Virtua Tennis goes for a more arcade-y feel, allowing players to instantly pick up and play. This dynamic is still apparent in Virtua Tennis 4 and the game is better for it. Players are able to concentrate only on getting to the ball on time, hitting it and setting themselves up for the return volley. This is perfect for smaller screens and playing in small bursts, making it ideal for gaming on the go.
As always in the Virtua Tennis series the controls are quick and responsive. You will lose and it will be frustrating at times (as any good tennis game should be) but it will be because of your own failings and not because of any fault of the controls. The graphics are sharp and crisp and the animations look great on the Vita's screen. Additionally, each opponent feels completely unique, requiring different strategies to beat each one.
As has been tradition since Virtua Tennis 2, this game comes with wacky mini games and a career mode. The career mode is a little frustrating, in an attempt to improve the replay value SEGA decided to make the career mode a zany but more importantly random board game. The frustration factors in when a certain tournament or event is missed because you rolled over it. A more streamlined version with more player-choice would have been preferable. The mini-games are as crazy as ever and range from hitting targets, to hitting a soccer ball pass a goalie, to collecting and leading chicks to their hen house without getting hit by a red ball. Additionally some modes have been added exclusively for this Vita version. Players can take a picture of their own face with the PSVita camera and then convert that into their own created character for the World Tour mode. More interestingly two players can play on one screen using the touchscreen, although more of a novelty, it can be used to kill some time and is a nice addition. The real multiplayer is the online or Vita to Vita version and it works fine, although more variety and options for tournaments would have been nice. Players are also given a few new control schemes, the traditional control scheme, a touchscreen version and a hybrid version that utilizes one stick and touchscreen buttons.
A solid version of a solid series, this is probably the definitive version of Tennis available on any mobile platform. However, for veterans of the series the gameplay elements might be getting a tad stale.
Super Gamer Dude
I have to be glad that tennis video games do not come out year after year. Nothing against tennis games, but with the release of Virtua Tennis 4, I must admit that I am glad I dont have to make a review on tennis games every single year. I mean, yeah, Virtua Tennis 4 is good, but its just the same as the previous one, so nothing much to look forward to.
Between Top Spin and Virtua Tennis, I would have to say that it is the first of the two that has stuck true to the old formula. Top Spin was too traditional for a tennis sim game. Virtua Tennis 4 is wackier, more challenging and does not focus too much on boring statistics and other attributes. It is a bonus for everyone that this is a great game to play with.
The controls are really the key to the better gameplay. They are tight, the animation visuals are great and the difficulty progression is challenging. The opposing players are individually unique and they all involve different strategies to defeat. There is no generalized opponent here. The gamer actually has to study their opponent, read up on their stats and figure out a way to defeat them. What works for one opponent will NOT work with the next. I have to admit, I found myself standing, jumping and cursing the neighborhood down if the opponent got the better of me. So yeah, I must say it is a fun, fun, challenging and frustrating game rolled into one. I must say Iquite enjoyed myself.
Now, why am I griping? Well, the game feels too familiar and you know what over-familiarity means. To make a long story short, Virtua 4 is just like Virtua 3 down to the players and the mechanics of the game. Now, I am not saying that Virtua 3 needed to be improved on, it didnt and it does not, but I expected something new when I saw the number 4. There are fresh new features which I cannot deny exist, but they dont do much for the game or make it any more exciting.
To summarize, Virtua Tennis 4 is a great game to play but if you only have the previous game, stick with it. If you dont have the previous games, go with it. It is a solid arcade game and players will definitely get the excitement they want and they can even go online and play.
Presentation-wise, it is harder to navigate but that ups the challenge so its no big deal the graphics are excellent and the characters actually look good and gorgeous in some cases. The sound is limited, just like the real tennis world. The gameplay, well, you know how I reacted when playing it. For lasting appeal, I would have to say fair. The online mode is pretty basic and the career mode is very, very short. But on the whole I say go for it.