Virtua Tennis is back and if you’re expecting anything truly brand new with this 2009 rendition you’re going to be a bit disappointed I’m afraid. Yes we know that Virtua Tennis as an almost perfect arcade tennis game which is very easy to pick up and play but also possible to master if you play it enough, letting you beat all in your path. However, for me, the series hasn’t moved on enough since VT3 to be worthy of a purchase – that is unless you haven’t bought the last one, then maybe it’s worth a look.
The first thing you’re invited to do is make a player with some improved editing tools to change the facial features, body type and play style of your player. Then you’re presented with the globe that’s all too familiar where you can scroll to tournaments, rest at home or play mini games that improve your skills.
If you’re already a good VT player, unfortunately the tournament mode is going to bore you beyond belief as you smash your way through easy opponents until you eventually reach the star players such as Nedal, Federer, Sharapova and Murray. But then it just seems like they hit back everything you throw at them because of course, the console knows exactly where you’re hitting the ball when you play it. Also, the player models look good when not making expressions, but then look like they’ve been made by Skynet or something when they pull robotic celebration faces. Graphically, it’s a shame things haven’t moved on in 2 years when you see the level of detail games such as UFC have gone to.
Strangely, the mini games can actually be more fun than playing tennis. There are games where you have to sink pirate ships, games where you earn combos for smashing coloured bricks out of a wall and a pool game to play. There’s also a weird game where you have to run over piles of money whilst avoiding large tennis balls which doesn’t work so well. It’s a pity loading times slow things down between these short rounds too.
The most fun you’ll have with VT as always is multiplayer. You can play singles, doubles and of course take it online but do be warned, players who are already practised cab take their maxed out custom character online and will spank you into the middle of next week.
Oh, and it’s also not a good idea to have the charisma-deficient Tim Henman to tell you what to do. Let’s be honest, he was never that good in the first place.
This game’s still fun but you get the feeling Sega should mix things up more next time. Virtua Tennis 2009 gets a good 6 out of 10.