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Virtua Tennis 3 Review

Virtua Tennis 3 is just shy of being a great title. It is very approachable and a lot of fun, but there are some misses that really get under you skin and detract from the experience…most aren’t even gameplay related, but they still detract from what could be a AAA title.

Gameplay: 9/10
Pros: The ‘tennis’ games are fast and furious and are simple to play, but deep to master. If you get bored of matches there are a TON of challenging and deep minigames. Stay away from Fusion Frenzy 2 and let Virtua Tennis satisfy your minigame craving.
Cons: In world tour mode, you play the same pros over and over again. Before you reach rank 200, they are awful…Federer can’t even get to a ball and hits it right back to you! He’s #1 in the world and would certainly cream #300 in the world…why not use custom created characters to fill the lower ranks? Playing against pros all the time severely detracts from the realism and allure of playing the recognizable stars of tennis. The game is a little easy until you reach rank 200 or so and then picks up significantly. I won all the games without losing a point up until the Advantage series (rank 204+).

Graphics: 8.5/10
Pros: Very crisp visuals and excellent animation. The court remembers where each shot hits and where you stand and run the most (white lines wear off, grass shows wear etc.) which is really cool. Create-a-character is always a plus.
Cons: Digital Sharapova doesn’t look at all like her real-life counterpart, and while this is the most glaring there are a couple other pros that just look a little off. Textures are almost nonexistent in the game…clothing is completely smooth…and just make some of the graphics bland.

Sound/Music: 8/10
Pros: Decent announcer, nice music, with perfect tennis swat and bounce sound effects. The music and chimes of world tour are soothing. A nice tone down or real world grunts.
Cons: No voice work for the pros and a lack of variety for sound effects in the minigames.

Lasting Appeal: 7.5/10
Pros: The world tour mode is long with a lot of different minigames to master, the tennis action is great and fun. Multiplayer both locally and online works well and offers a lot of replay value and pick-up-and play appeal.
Cons: The missed beats in the world tour mode detract from the feel of the game and really get under my skin…mostly because they are easily remedied. The Virtua Tennis framework has remained relatively unchanged since the original and its time for Sega to take us to the next level and give us something new. They are resting on their laurels.

Average: 82.50%
Tilt: -1.50%
This game is simply not worth $60 in my book. If it was priced at $40 it would be perfect and an absolute must buy, but it’s just not ‘next-gen’ enough to warrant the $60 price tag. Is the core Virtua Tennis gameplay great?..yes…but VT3 doesn’t offer much that’s new or innovative, and while offering competition on Xbox Live is fabulous, I can’t help feel that this title was a couple changes shy of greatness.

Verdict: 81%


gnome said...

It's so refreshing seeing such a classic franchise keeping its class. Lovely really. Great review too!

Ahh... Dreamcast, where are thee?

MarkB said...

I got the game and was quite disappointed to see there was no multiplayer function... Yet here you talk of one?

Where is this feature? Is there some trick to activating it?