Virtua Tennis 3 ReviewJason Leyanna
Zoom back to 1999. The first game in the series came to arcades and was later ported to the Dreamcast. (Oh, the nostalgia…) This lead to a sequel that eventually landed on the PlayStation 2. Thanks to Sega, we now have this multiplatform game that has changed since its predecessors. This version of the game was developed by Sumo Digital.
You can choose from a few well-known players or create your own from scratch. The twenty selectable characters include: Andy Roddick, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Taylor Dent, and Nicole Vaidisova. There are tennis courts located from Paris to Los Angeles, Vancouver to Tokyo, and a handful of other localities. Singles and doubles matches are available depending on how you want to play. After a player makes a point there are slight replays, though it often just shows the back of a character. It doesn’t take up too much time, so it doesn’t delay gameplay. Your character gains prize money and rank as you play the game.
Most often when playing, the ball tends not to hit the net or go out of bounds. You won’t want to get this game just for solo gameplay (as that can get old), but it is a good party game. There are lob, slice, and top spin shots that you can make, depending on which button you press. Additionally, there are smash, drop, and running shots that you can alternate between. While the ball is in motion it has a yellow trail behind it allowing you to more easily see where the ball is going. It’s good to try to stay relatively in the middle so that you have an easier time to run to the ball, wherever it may end up going based on the hit of your opponent.
The mini-games are a little odd, but they do mix things up a bit when you’re tired of traditional tennis. In one, you hit tennis balls over to knock over bowling pins. Another, “Avalanche”, has you running between gigantic falling tennis balls while trying to pick up fruit. (Fruity, huh?) Bulls Eye and Alien Attack are also mini-games that are included with an Academy training section. This can aid in getting your skills up before taking on real opponents. You may practice groundstroke, serve/volley, and footwork.
The background music tends to be a low point of the game, unfortunately. Be ready to have your own songs playing in the background. The voice acting is decent, though you don’t really have a whole lot of it included in this type of game. The sound effects can seem a bit odd at times as well as repetitive. Thankfully, the gameplay overshadows the lacking in the background sound.
Being a tennis fan is not essential to be able to enjoy the features of Virtua Tennis 3. It is easy for anyone to pick up and play, making it a nice party game to play with some friends or with random people on Xbox Live. Just like the real game, it’s easy to catch on for the most part but becomes a challenge to attain pro status. I’m not usually a sports game fan, but I found Virtua Tennis 3 to be genuinely fun.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.