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Top Spin 4 Preview

Blake_Morse By:
GENRE Sports 
E Contains No Descriptors

What do these ratings mean?

An Ace in the hole.

Ah Pong, the great digital game of skill and competitive pixel tossing. The rules are simple, yet elegant: get the pixel past the opponent's plank and you score. Even though it is truly the greatest of all sports, that does not mean there isn't room for improvement. What Pong really needs is a way to launch itself into the new millennium, and in fact, that's just what Top Spin 4 intends to do.

click to enlargeApparently there is a game called “tennis” that is like an analog version of Pong, only it's played using people and a less forgiving court. And while it lacks the minimalist perfection of its digital predecessor, it does appear to add more than it takes away. Truly now the cycle of life imitating art imitating life is now complete.

Top Spin 4 looks to offer up an subversively simple control scheme with an authenticity and attention to detail here yet unseen in the sports gaming genre. This is meant to be as close to real tennis as you can get without getting off your lazy ass, grabbing a racket and some balls and heading down to the court for some exercise.

Names like Sampras and Bjorn fill the roster along with normal names like Williams and great attention has been given to their individual playing styles to keep with the theme of authenticity. If you're chosen player is good at base line attacks or have a wicked killer serve, then that's what they'll have in the game as well. In other words, their stats reflect their real life abilities. Along with stats, over 4,000 new animations have been added to make characters seem more real than ever. They'll get sweaty and dirty and possibly pissed off if you're totally blowing a match.

click to enlargeAlong with actual players, there will be plenty of real world venues and events to chose from as well, such as the French Open or the Sony Ericsson Open. And every kind of surface you could imagine playing on is available, even carpet!

The risk shot system from Top Spin 3 has removed and replaced with more streamlined, timing based system that allows to charge your shots for a more powerful or accurate hit or you can give the button a light tap for less power and possibly more finesse.

If you've got the skills or just long to upgrade from the old, dusty 2600 days of computer Tennis, Top Spin 4 is shaping up to be the answer for you. Check it out when it launches March 15th on Xbox 360, PS3 and the Wii.
More GR previews for this game:
Top Spin 4 preview posted on 02/02/11.

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