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Top Spin 2 review

Video tennis need no longer be your secret shame

For

  • Four-player party games
  • Jaunty music in matches and menus
  • Low price for great gameplay

Against

  • No mixed doubles online? Fault!
  • Frequent loading during training
  • What's up with the foliage-like hair?

You can shoot stuff; you can drive stuff; you can fight stuff. All acceptable video game fantasies. But volleying a yellow ball of felt back and forth? Profess your love for tennis video games and prepare to endure snickers. However, games like Top Spin 2 inspire a devout loyalty that you simply shouldn't feel ashamed to admit - not with a game this accessible, enjoyable and affordable.

The secret of Top Spin 2's appeal is its seductive simplicity. Elegant controls make smashing volleys and burying serves in the backcourt easy and intuitive. Dive into the friendly career mode and you'll learn one skill at a time with a series of coaches, each specializing in attributes like power, finesse and accuracy. You can have fun just knowing the basic shots, but when you start to add spins, risky lobs, and precision aiming, suddenly the game gains great depth - and you don't have to know how to play tennis to tap it. Whereas other sports games beg a deep understanding of their real-world counterparts, all you really need to know to enjoy Top Spin 2 is "get the ball over the net." Learning how to do that as you go turns out to be a lot of fun, especially if you can do it with friends.

The original Top Spin lacked a four-player mode on Xbox Live, and the sequel was supposed to address this, but online doubles matches were yanked at the last minute - a major disappointment. Party games like splattering the court with paint and a brick-busting variant on Breakout will give you and three friends plenty to brag about, but only if you're all on the same couch. You bring the beer.

More Info

GenreSports
DescriptionDon't knock the humble appeal of video tennis - get some friends together and this is a well-executed, sweet-playing bargain.
PlatformXbox 360, PC, DS
US censor ratingEveryone, Everyone, Everyone
UK censor rating, ,
Release date:11 April 2006 (US), 7 April 2006 (UK)
Available platforms:Xbox 360
Genre:Sports
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