Grand Slam Tennis Wii Review
It’s hard to remember another game in recent years that makes as bad a first impression as EA’s Grand Slam Tennis. Don’t let the clean visuals and endearing caricatures of famous tennis legends fool you – it drops players off in an empty grass court with just a racket, a ball machine and all but tells players to figure it out for themselves. Ten or so minutes and several swings-and-a-misses later and it can be almost impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel for this relationship.
But persist through gritted teeth and finding the light will become more of a comforting inevitably as time goes on. More a difficulty mountain than it is a curve, this rough introduction is a result of the much talked about MotionPlus attachment that is supposed to give a 1:1 tennis experience; as if players were holding an actual racket in their hand (or ‘hands’ for those unconventional double-backhanders). That once tried and true, patented tactic of waggling the Wii controller in any-which-way to get the ball to go over the net (as seen in Wii Sports), gets you nowhere fast in Grand Slam Tennis. Getting the ball up over the net and in between the lines requires full, almost exaggerated strokes of the arms and/or flicks of the wrist from different angles and heights to produce varying shots.
For instance, swinging from low to high and following through with the shoulder will create a cross court, topspin forehand, whereas striking from high to low generates a low bouncing slice to get yourself back in position. While not entirely 1:1 like had been promised, hitting a ball in the racket’s ‘sweet spot’ produces satisfying feedback making long, near fatigue inducing rallies as engaging as anything the genre has seen. And once players have put the hours of necessary practice into their game, winning a point for example, with a violent forehand down the line as the other player stands rooted to the ground – or just winning a point in general – will have you making Nadal-esque fist pumps in front of the TV.
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