I am a huge tennis buff, and have been that for as long as I can remember. I am not only a fan of playing the sport but also a huge fan of watching tennis on television. Well one thing that tennis has also been great about is being a great sport to make into a video game and thus was the case with both the Virtua Tennis series and Top Spin series, which have got extremely high marks in the past. Well now the original great in the video game tennis world is back, but this time is on the PSP - Virtua Tennis: World Tour. So is this the same great tennis game on the handheld? Read our full review to find out!
First and foremost, what made Virtua Tennis (also known as Sega Sports Tennis on the PS2) great was that the game truly combined great fast paced arcade style tennis with some of the most addictive gameplay ever seen in a tennis game. In fact, the original Virtua Tennis game for the Dreamcast was such a huge hit that people who never regarded tennis as a fun sport started to play and love it. Well now Virtua Tennis has shifted its focus from the consoles onto the handhelds.
One of the things I should just come out straight and say is that Virtua Tennis: World Tour is not all that different from the previous Virtua Tennis games. In fact, besides the new players that can be found in World Tour, the majority of the game has stayed intact. The game however does include new players like Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, and for all those guys who only watch women’s tennis, Sharapova is in there as well. The game itself has a few modes to choose from, which include Exhibition, Tournament, World Tour and Multiplayer. Getting the first few out of the way, the exhibition is of course your standard mode. Just setup a match and go play it, while you can setup your own tournament in the aptly named tournament mode.
The World Tour mode is the core of the game, and it is here that I was kind of surprised to find that it has really been unchanged from what it was on the console version. Basically you start out by creating both a male and female player, and then are given a world map to travel around. From there you will be able to enter tournaments that accept your ranking or train your player. The whole trick of it is to decide which of the players you want to train, and if you want to balance it out or focus on one player. This is honestly identical to what we saw in the previous Virtua Tennis games, and unfortunately inheres the same problems as well. The mode just feels sort of plain and doesn’t get you all that involved. The training modes are interesting, but once again the problem rises that if you played the previous games then nothing in this mode is new.
Virtua Tennis: World Tour does include the Ad-Hoc capabilities, which is good so you can play up to four players. But if you’re looking to play against other players online, you’re out of luck since they’ve left the feature out of this PSP version. I did get a chance to try the Ad-Hoc and found that it worked quite well, with no lag issues to really speak of. I can’t say it ran perfectly, but for the most part it was good enough though that no one will raise any big fuss about it.
The overall gameplay in Virtua Tennis: World Tour is solid, similar to what made the series popular in the past. The game controls extremely well on the PSP, and the tennis action is really flawless. The game is a great experience, but it is not one that I would say is all that different from previous games. If you haven’t played the previous Virtua Tennis titles, then you will be extremely fortunate to play this game. But for those that have played it, you’ll feel right at home with this one.
One of the more impressive parts of World Tour was actually the presentation, which seemed like a cause for concern during the early stages of the development process. One of the things I wondered was how they (the developers) were going to get the whole court to fit on such a small screen. Well in the end, the developers did a fantastic job with making World Tour a great looking game with fantastic looking character models.
The environments are also fantastic in the game, and they really give a great sense of the game of tennis. I just have to say the whole game of tennis has never looked so great on the handheld, and you have to commend the developers for a job well done.
One thing that really upset me more then anything in Virtua Tennis: World Tour was that this is the same exact game from a few years ago. I mean they really only added some new players to the mix and left anything else the same, which is somewhat disappointing. Sure there are still people who haven’t played the series, but for those that have and are fans, I was hoping that more then a player update would have been in store for the game. With that being said the experience is still very enjoyable and one that I am sure many will remember.
Virtua Tennis: World Tour is a solid tennis title that ports what was great about the PS2 version and leaves it at that. To me they needed to add some more content in order to make it to the highest standard. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Virtua Tennis series, then now is a great chance to do that, and if you have, don’t expect all that new of an experience here. With all of this being said, World Tour is a great game that is definitely one of the brighter points to the PSP’s rough start.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.