24 Aug 2007
Rockstar Presents Table Tennis on the Xbox 360 was in many ways one of Rockstar's boldest offerings to date: it certainly raised eyebrows when it was revealed that the mega-publisher's first title for a next-gen console was going to be a sports game. Rockstar? Doing a sports game? You gotta be kidding...
The result, however, was for many the table tennis equivalent of Virtua Tennis. Simplistic, tactile controls that allowed players to express themselves at the table with ease, which, with practice, developed into lethal use of spin and focus mode. It might not have been to everyones taste. But then like darts, table tennis is a realtively niche sport - you either love it or sort of couldn't care less.
While the 360 version's strength was its analogue control system which allowed for subtle modulation of play with soft shots and spin, it could never offer the sensation of swinging bat at a ball. And then the Wii came along. Like Manhunt 2, with its physical stealth kills translating perfectly to Wii-mote action, holding the controller like a paddle is another no-brainer - it just works.
Graphically, Table Tennis on Wii is a low-res version of the 360 version (solid, colourful, great animation) which was to be expected given the Nintendo console's technincal prowess. But once again it's the method of player feedback which shines through. Usefully, Rockstar has included three different control methods so players can select which setup they feel most comfortable with. The standard default mode sees the COM taking responsibility of movement and players simply have to bat the ball in the direction they want with the same stroke motion you would use in a real game. It offers the most straightforward style and is most suited to beginners and anyone who found Wii Tennis 'challenging'.