EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis 2 is the brand new tennis simulation sports title from EA Canada. The game brings in analogue stick controls seen in other EA Sports’ titles under the moniker of “total racket control” to rival the control system in Top Spin 4. The title also allows players to use the PlayStation Move. However will this sequel be able to smash above its other tennis rivals?
Let’s find out and kick of the HOTs and NOTs.
While the graphics won’t be winning any awards, the graphical presentation is decent enough to make the title look respectable. All the players look impressively like their real-life counterparts as well as having unique animations for each separate player. This carries over into the create-a-player section resulting in even created characters looking and acting like real tennis professionals.
Apart from a few hiccups, overall the commentary makes every game, set and match sound like the real thing. The conversations between the commentary team seemed to flow throughout a match, yet they also manage to react to impressive shots including drop shots, lob shots and crosscourt volleys. All in all, it adds to the realism that makes it like you’re watching a real-life match.
While it sounds like a small attribute of the overall games presentation the crowd has often fallen short in other EA sports titles. The crowd doesn’t look amazing but it does seem a lot better than the cardboard cut-out like crowd seen in FIFA 12. This means when there is a close-up camera angle of a winning shot and the crowd is visible, the crowd doesn’t detract from the atmosphere like in other titles.
The gameplay doesn’t stray too far from the standard tennis title experience. Both single and double matches and the training modes are on offer here. Nothing in the game majorly tries to break the mould; instead EA has clearly focused on making the basic game of tennis smooth and enjoyable. The gameplay is kept simple and effectively handles slow paced and fast passed rallies between players.
The gameplay does vary slightly between doubles and singles like in the real game, the pace of the game is faster and the positions the player must take are much more limited to successfully win points. It’s this slight variation which makes the game enjoyable in both modes and feel like a separate experience whilst not varying excessively.
Grand Slam Tennis 2 offers two standard controller control schemes, on top of that it also offers a PlayStation Move control scheme on top of this. The new control system called “total racket control” introduces analogue control systems but is has some issues when it comes to learning how to pull off shots. But given enough time, players are able to pull off shots with better precision. Alas it does take time to master the analogue control. The second controller based scheme uses the usual controller face buttons to hit the ball and is simple and easy to pick up; yet it doesn’t offer as much precision.
Captures Tennis Well
The game manages to capture the life of tennis with the unpredictable shots from opponents making the game flow naturally and keeping the player on their toes. Which direction to go is a massive part of tennis, as being out of position will see you easily dropping points. It is this uncertainly of positioning coupled with the unpredictability of the opponents next shot that keeps the gameplay interesting: much like the real game. It’s the nailing of the nature and the atmosphere of tennis that truly means EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis 2 captures the life of tennis faultlessly.
Grand Slam Tennis 2 has a few small features and touches that make the game great. This can range from the difference courts can make, to simply to navigate menus. Take the different courts for example, not only will the commentary team comment that it’s a grass or a clay court but the way the match pans out can also be due to the difference in court. Players will actually skid across a clay court when quickly trying to change direction.
The simplicity of the menus is also a nice touch. It allows you to jump straight into an online or off-line match with only a few button presses and offer a rematch to an opponent online even quicker. Other developers should take note. The simple menus mean more time is spent in game, than trying to get into a game.
Alas there are a few minor issues which draw from the experience. A couple of examples of these are the ball boys never actually move location; in a real match between points the ball boys often change sides, however they are always located on the same side. Another issue is that the balls don’t seem to bounce fully off of the back wall. But neither of these are game breaking issues they just draw from the overall atmosphere and pull the player out of the game’s immersion.
The other issue comes from the slight hiccups in the commentary. Tennis is a very fast paced game and the commentary team sometimes is behind by only a split second but this is all it takes to fall behind play. Another hiccup is that it occasionally refers to the female players as male: saying that ‘he did’ this or ‘he should’ have done that. Again this doesn’t break the game but they don’t help immerse the players further into the title.
While I’m not trying to brag, for most games my connection is flawless will little to no lag present and no server connection problems to mention. Unfortunately it seems EA once again has designed a game that dislikes my and many other peoples internet. A couple of times I was losing online, when my opponent was disconnected, which makes it hard for me to believe they all left on their own accord.
Overall, EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis 2 offers a realistic and fun tennis experience. Apart from the new total racket control system the game rarely tries anything innovative; however it makes up for this by perfecting the basics any tennis title needs to excel. EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis 2 does excel in this area offering all the excitement of a real life tennis game and most importantly it can even be played when it’s raining.
[Editor’s Note: EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis 2 was reviewed on the PlayStation 3 hardware. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis 2 Review,