E3 06: Virtua Tennis 3 hands-on

In the Sony booth, Sega debuted a playable version of Virtua Tennis 3 for the PS3 (it's also due for the Xbox 360.) The game, which has arcade-style, simple-to-understand play, has been a favorite of gamers who like a realistic but fun game of tennis. It really shines in multiplayer.

Unfortunately, the demo was for one player only, and was limited to a simple single match. While we can't see the full list of tennis pros Sega plans to include, we were able to scope how detailed and realistic the players look in the replays: the graphics are, like most next-gen sports games, startlingly realistic.

As for the core gameplay, it remains pretty much unchanged from previous games. This is a good thing. The characters are extremely quick and responsive to your input. Each button on the face of the pad lets you perform a different type of shot, and figuring out the right one at the right time, as in the real game, is the key to victory. The big difference, at least based on this early demo, is that everything is now shiny and bright with hyper-detailed graphics.

Previous games have included career modes and plenty of minigames. We're eager to see if those make the transition to next-gen. As it stands, the core tennis game looks great and plays well, but we can't quite say yet if VT3 is going to live up to the standards of the series.

May 10, 2006