A tennis game with the detail of FIFA? It’s unheard of, but that’s exactly what Grand Slam Tennis 2 is. You can play as legends like Pete Sampras, Stefan Edberg or John McEnroe, or the current generation like Nadal, Federer and Sharapova. This is a complete tennis game as the controls are perfect and even the Move aspect has been done very well. Unlike other tennis games this actually feels like a tennis game when your playing it.
So, as I said, there are a hell of a lot of players, both legends and current stars. They look perfectly like their real life models and play as such. The character animations are spot on as the way each player takes their shots is accurately portrayed. The controls are very easy to perform. You can use the wireless controller or the Move controller. The wireless offers you two ways to play, either using the left analogue for movement and the right for shots or by using the conventional buttons to perform shots. I found the sticks to be easier and very responsive. It’s very easy to hit a flat shot or topspin shot.
Using the Move controller is as easy as having a racquet in your hand. To serve you swing the controller up and then down to hit the ball. An advantage to using the Move controller is that the game moves your character into place and all you do is take the shot. It’s good, but sometimes the player is slower to move but this is a minor issue and you always make it in time for the the shot. The main menu has a lot of options, it’s in the same style as FIFA, so it’s easy to navigate. The Play Now mode offers exhibition matches for singles and doubles, while the game modes include Career mode and ESPN Grand Slam Movements. This is where you can play in epic matches and at crucial points like the Wimbledon final between the Williams sisters or the US Open with Murray and Nadal. The tournament mode offers the chance to play in all 4 Grand Slams and a few of the minor tournaments. Since this is an EA game everything is legit, perfectly licensed and immaculately presented. It’s great that you can play in all 4 slams and experience the effects the different surfaces have on the ball.
The Training mode is just that, you can go to the tennis school and be taught all the various shots then go to the practise court and hit a few balls against the machine and put theory into practise. The online mode is a welcome addition as you can play against the worlds best, get news on the slams, participate in tournaments and view leaderboards. This mode is very enjoyable, but sometimes you get your ass kicked very quickly. I love the versus mode as its so much damn fun. The balls physics, the movement of the players and even the sounds just feel right. It’s really easy to play with the wireless or the Move controllers.
The Career mode is very detailed as you would expect from an EA title. First, you must create a player or choose one you have created before. Then you are told you can change the roster of competing players by creating them or downloading ones from the community. Another nice touch! In the Career mode you have 10 years to become the number one player in the world and win as many slams as you can. Before each slam there are two smaller events as well. You start at rank 100 and you can view you objectives via the main menu of the Career mode. These objectives include beating certain players at certain events, win X amount of matches etc.
These larger targets are then broken down into yearly objectives and there’s loads of them. This mode will keep you busy for a very long time. Once you start, you can choose to enter a pure tournament event, go training, play an exhibition or skip the event completely. Over the 10 seasons your growth is noted for each event and you can see the improvement. It’s a great system as it’s very in-depth and adds a lot to the game. As usual, EA have really thought about this mode and you can see it as everything is perfectly balanced between stats and gameplay. The customisation tool is very easy to use and in no time you can create a player that looks like whatever you want them to. You can change your appearance via the way your head, hair, nose, mouth, size of body and facial hair looks. Then you enter your player details: name, birthday, nationality and you preferred hand. Next you assign your abilities and then choose which accessories to wear.
There is an extensive list to pick, tops, bottoms, shoes, racquets, head wear, eye wear, wristbands and socks. The final part of the customisation is my favourite as you pick the DNA of the top players to assign for a certain move. For example you can choose to serve like Peter Sampras, serve return like Djokovic and have a shot style like Federer. It’s a nice touch and the movements are done perfectly to match the players you’re imitating. The graphics are very clear and bright. They are fully HD and they do the job very well. The way EA have presented everything is very pleasing to see. The courts looks lush and the colour palette is just right. The spectators look good and even shout out if your taking too long. The music is fine in the menus, although the techno can get a bit annoying. There is a lot of replay value as the Career mode needs a lot of playing to finish and there is lots of unlock.
Overall, Grand Slam Tennis 2 is the FIFA of tennis games. Simply put, the game physics are lovely. The graphics are vibrant and present tennis as it should be. The player movements and AI are very good and the wealth of options is staggering. The various modes offer a lot and the mammoth Career mode allows for a lot of fun. Versus mode with a friend is just fun and so is the online mode. Tennis fans, this is a must as, in my humble opinion I think this is the best of the three current tennis games.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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