After playing this in our somewhat cramped games room, we know why the MotionPlus comes pre-fitted into one of those nasty silicon safety jackets. You can take it out if you want, and we did, but if you’ve got a nice TV, light fittings or double glazing that you’d like to keep intact, we’d recommend using it. And the strap, too – make sure that’s double tight – Grand Slam Tennis makes Wii Sports Bowling look tame as far as furniture-threatening motions go.
The perfectly tuned controls go hand in hand with a physical solidity that gives the whole game an impressive sensation of weight. The way the ball bounces, the way the players slide when changing direction, the speed and angles you can get on your shots.
It reminds us of the brilliant Super Tennis on SNES, where we could zing cross-court balls like missiles over the net, swerving shots that landed just inside the tramlines. We can do the same sort of thing in Grand Slam Tennis, and that’s definitely a first on Wii as far as we’re concerned.
Any negative points? Well, the character creation tool used in the career mode isn’t particularly good, featuring a miserly selection of parts. The career mode itself can be a bit tricky in the early stages, pitting your weakling player against difficult opponents right from the start. And it doesn’t have the great bonus modes that Virtua Tennis has. Not a huge problem when the main part of the game is so strong, but it’s one area where Sega’s game has a clear advantage.
If this is an indication of the future of tennis on Wii, MotionPlus is a godsend and EA have scored a coup by getting it bundled with their game rather than Sega’s. Next year’s versions of both may be even better, but right now it’s hard to look beyond Grand Slam if you’re searching for something that makes Wii Sports look like a toy.
Jun 8, 2009