Some may raise an eyebrow at the prospect of tennis in videogame form due to its roots inherently tracing back to the age old classic, Pong. However, as with anything in this fair medium, playing the racquet sport with a Wireless Controller has a ton of advantages. Not being mercy to the weather, being one. Nor will you get too sweaty or suffer a crippling cramp from a six-set marathon. And with Top Spin 3, you get all the moves and style of a pro without the years of vigorous training essential for it. In fact, forget the real thing; this is where it’s at.
Top Spin 3 transports you to over 45 tennis venues across the globe such as Roland Garros in Paris and Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, where you can play with and against 20 world class players, including hotshots Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova, as well as up and comers such as Andy Murray.
As a nice extra there’s also the opportunity to dust off the likes of Boris Becker, Bjorn Borg and Monica Seles. As with their contemporaries, they’re given statistic values for forehand, service ability, speed, stamina and other traits, although Paris based studio PAM Development doesn’t go overboard in making these legends unbeatable super-people, keeping their stats within plausible realms.
Of course, while it’s a blast to play with the pros, the real fun rests within creating your own players and moulding them into champions…
What the deuce
Top Spin 3 offers a comprehensive range of player customisation options to recreate yourself (or anyone else) into the game with the ability to change minutiae such as eyebrows, freckles, hand bias and tattoos as well as the usuals of height and weight, to name but a few. There’s also the chance to tailor your player’s attitude, grunt style, flamboyancy and more.
The game’s real ace in the hole is its facial sculpting feature, which allows you to form your character’s visage like putty, offering a more accurate way of shaping and angling its form.
This all comes together nicely with some lovely animation and detail as the players spring to life. The crowd’s a little less active by comparison, but you’ll be too busy watching the graceful sportspeople to care. They even start sweating and tire as the game progresses – which actually affects the gameplay itself…
All you need is love
As a tennis title, Top Spin 3 brings with it a deep control system that presents a massive array of shots that its tutorial mode helps ease you into. What elevates it is the attention to detail, such as sweat and exhaustion. Each player has a heart rate monitor which gauges how close they are to tiring, with the stamina-lacking players performing less ably and more erratically under your control.
The same goes for your character’s ability to handle excitement. Key moments and long plays will increase their heart rate and nerves, making those big moments a tense affair if your star can’t handle it. With reaction and response time affected in the gameplay, this new dimension only serves to increase the depth of Top Spin 3.
Which is to say, there’s already a large amount to the game. Top Spin 3 isn’t just about choosing the right shot, as momentum, timing and direction all play an important part in whether your serve or return goes where you want, into the crowd or embarrassingly hitting you right in the face. It’s not just a matter of getting your player across to the ball; you need to make sure you’re facing the right way, not going too fast or slow, holding the racquet in the correct position for the shot you’re making, and more.
Never at fault
There’s a lot to take in with Top Spin 3, and it’s all in aid of creating an authentic tennis experience designed to give you all the thrills of the sport itself, complete with weather changes during matches, four player doubles mayhem and the sort of excitable reactions you’d expect from your shorts-wearing favourites. Give it a spin – and expect top results for your time.