Thursday 6 April 2006
Warning: do not think. After two solid hours of 'out!' and 'net!', you'll finally nail Top Spin 2 - but it's a feel thing. Pause to work out what you're doing with your fingers, and you'll instantly lose it. It's like stopping to think about how you tie your shoelaces.
Getting to grips with Top Spin 2's surprising depth is the key to loving it. You can mix and match the beefy list of safe, not-so-safe and what-the-hell moves to play some bewitchingly authentic tennis - wearing your opponent down and finding chinks in their armour on every point.
As you improve, the believable fluidity - in terms of looks and play - hooks you hard. The Career mode's the icing on the cake here: it might have a badly-acted British trainer ("Cheery-bye!"), but working your way up through the world rankings is massively rewarding.
Customising your character is all the rage these days, but Top Spin 2's options are sadly limited. The player faces aren't bad, although some have the FIFA 06: RTWC plasticine-face curse. Still, at least you can recreate Henman's tantrums with optional 'emoting' after every point.
Surprisingly, the game lets you set up mixed singles matches, so you can see who would win if Lleyton Hewitt and Venus Williams clashed. Anything's possible in Top Spin 2.