Top Spin 4 Review
I was pleasantly surprised when offered the chance to review Top Spin 4. I’m not a gamer, and I’ve never written a game review in my life (until now), but I guess Top Spin 4 are also looking to appeal to the tennis community. After all, most of us will delight in checking out our favourites and exacting some revenge on those we don’t like so much.
Exhibition mode allows us to do just that, and it is here I first gave the game a go. The creators have done a great job of analysing professional players’ shots, and as a result Federer’s forehand really does look like his. Their mannerisms have also been included – win a tight point with Nadal and that famous fist pump will show itself, same with Djokovic and the chest thump. Physically, the players look great from a distance, but up close they look a little odd. Same with the clothing; last time I checked no dress of Wozniacki’s was down to her knees. I was also disappointed that Sharapova and del Potro don’t feature in the game, but that may not be the creators’ fault. Still, they’ve put in commendable effort and looking at the players alone will keep you entertained a while.
Career mode is where the real game begins. Designing your player is a fantastically intricate process. You can spend an hour or ten minutes tweaking their lips, eyes, and even cheekbones. In this way the game appeals to those of us who like to play dress ups, and I unashamedly spent much time picking clothes, accessories, and make up for my player. Creating isn’t just aesthetic either; shot styles and personality can also be picked.
Once you’ve designed a player, career mode offers surprising depth and hours of game play. Starting out playing minor tournaments like Auckland and working your way up to the Slams, the game is rewarding and fun. It isn’t easy, though. I spend much time getting frustrated with my lack of natural ability. Timing is tricky, and aces hard to come by, but this makes the game rewarding. Some much-needed lessons over in the Top Spin Academy sorted me out, and thankfully I made progress sooner rather than later. It’s great to track your player’s career from newbie through to legend, and makes Top Spin 4 more than just a tennis game. A variety of difficulty levels will appeal to those with more talent than myself.
Top Spin 4 will be loved by any mad tennis fan as well as those with a passion for games. I’ve spent more hours playing it than I ever intended. For those of you wondering why this review is so delayed, ask the US postal service. Top Spin 4 took three months to arrive on my door. I’m happy to say it was worth the wait.