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Virtua Tennis 3 - updated hands-on

World Tour career mode now features a new Tennis Academy location, to help sharpen up your tactics and in-game skills through a series of action lessons. And, finally, you can now team up with other pros for doubles events without having to spend your earnings 'renting' them from the shop.

There're also yet more mentalist minigames - our personal fave seeing you protecting meat chops from three cartoonified crocodiles. Finally, Sega has put a heavier emphasis on keeping your player fighting fit. You can stave off stamina drain with energy drinks, but push it too hard and you'll end up exhausted and in need of a vacation to recover from your injury.



Above: The more ridiculous the minigame, the more enjoyable it is - especially in multiplayer

If we've any complaints, it's that the usually pinpoint-accurate controls seem just slightly skewed. This is most obvious in the minigames, when it can seem impossible to give your shot the hard angle you need to ping a target at the extreme edges of the court. We're not too worried though, as there's enough time left in development to iron out little kinks like this before release.

Everywhere else, though, Virtua Tennis 3 promises to be the perfect sequel. And PS3 gamers might be interested to know that we glimpsed the 360 version which looked (whisper it) slightly grainer and less polished. Still, we're convinced that whichever version you opt for, Virtua Tennis 3 is set to deliver thrills, spills and chomping crocodiles in abundance.

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