Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: Electronic Arts Inc.
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360], Playstation 3
Rated: E for Everyone
EA Sports have always held their ground in the realms of sports titles. NCAA, NFL, FIFA and even NHL are proof of the franchise maintaining their definitive slogan, “It’s in the Game.” Now, tennis is the new embark for EA Sports as Grand Slam Tennis 2 makes its way from the Wii to the big leagues, XBOX 360 and PlayStation 3.
Most gamers will immediately think of Virtua Tennis or Top Spin when tennis comes to mind. However, Grand Slam Tennis is a true force to be reckoned with. EA has captured the realism that is tennis and added a few extra key elements to create this headliner. The word that defines this game is presentation.
Grand Slam Tennis 2 has amazing graphics and texture. Top that off with ESPN supporting the title for a very realistic, television-like broadcast, and you have authenticity. EA has even implemented their Game Face feature, allowing you to play as your own likeness rather than one of the other pros.
Menus kick off with Exhibition, giving you the option to play a quick singles or doubles match. Once you dive into a session, you’ll immediately grasp the understanding of why Grand Slam Tennis 2 is the best tennis game to date. It all begins with an exclusive feature called Total Racquet Control.
Total Racquet Control is the breakdown of every swing with the use of one button, the right analogue. Not only does the stick perform the swing, your pace and movement determines the power and accuracy of the swing.
Tennis School with John McEnroe will teach you step by step how to perform all the swings when using Total Racquet Control. Be forewarned that John can be bit frustrating when failing to successfully complete his task. However, learning the ropes will help you in the long run, especially when attempting the career session objectives.
Ten long years makes up the career mode. They start you in a pre-tournament as you begin your journey to lay claim to Grand Slam Tournaments and of course the exclusive to any tennis game, Wimbledon. Build rivalries and climb the ranks. Along the way, you can earn boosters and unlockables to improve your player’s gaming experience. Once again, training and exhibition options appear here.
In honesty, I expected a bit more realism here. I literally had a default character dominate in the first pre-tournament with a lot of names, one including Venus Williams. With my ranking and skill set so low, I was expecting to lose, becoming the queue where my player’s career kicked off.
EPSN Grand Slam Classics allows you to step into memory lane and repeat or rewrite history in tennis greatest moments. EA has handpicked some great matches, including the 2003 Venus vs. Serena matchup. Once you successfully complete a scenario presented, you unlock the option to play the full game rather than the final moments.
When playing with or against the A.I, you’ll notice the authentic play styles of the players with their signature swings and stances to the teeth. This isn’t the best part though. The Pro A.I. is similar to Madden’s A.I, but in Grand Slam Tennis 2 the A.I. adapts to your playing style. So if you’re feeling comfortable with a particular swinging technique make sure you are ready to make changes as your opponent will begin to read your plays and make the duration a bit more challenging.
Though Grand Slam Tennis 2 has an edge, it still has a few weaknesses. First, McEnroe talks a lot about himself. Pat Cash and John McEnroe was probably one of the most notable features other than the Racquet Control. Unfortunately, too much commentary felt to be missing. Other than player names, I expected to hear specifics like stats and more, instead of what old coaches told McEnroe. More commentary was dreadfully needed.
In regards to presentation, I expected a lot more from EA. When you think of Madden or other sport titles they’ve released, think of how much was put into the game. True, tennis isn’t exactly as highly anticipated as football, but think about Top Spin 4 for a second. Graphics weren’t close to what EA is generating, but 2K had a bit more presentation to its game. Specifically the opening with players under the bleachers, and camera angles between serves; I definitely expected that from EA.
While the downside is dearly noted, this is EA’s first installment of Grand Slam Tennis to the major consoles. The rough patches needing to be tweaked will for sure make Grand Slam Tennis 3 another dominate title to add onto the list of sport titles.
Replay Value: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5