Virtua Tennis 3 - hands-on

How do you train? That's where the game's excellent minigames come in: bowling with tennis balls, hitting targets on the other side of the net or collecting an avalanche of fruit make for three of them. As you participate in these, your character's stats will go up - and you'll be able to compete on a higher level.

Of course, these minigames aren't just for enjoying alone. See our exclusive movie by hitting the Movies tab up above for proof positive that these games will rock your face in multiplayer. That's one of the key points of Virtua Tennis 3, and the Avalanche game you'll see - which looks dumb but plays great - is one of our favorites.

The main thing we took away from our hands-on time is how the game's simple controls are what makes it so good. The gameplay is just so smooth and appealing - it's simple, but there's depth hidden in there, and our dusty Dreamcast-era memories of daily doubles matches after work instantly rekindled.

With Live support in the box, the only thing separating us from that anymore is the game's release. Though there are some minor technical hurdles for the game to overcome - mainly graphical errors - everything's running smoothly. We need to check out the online performance before we can recommend it without any reservation, but VT3 is on the absolute right track right now.

And this hands-on isn't all. Find two exclusive movies (click the Movies tab above), exclusive screens (the Images tab, natch) and aninterview with Darren Mills, creative director for Sumo Digital, the developer making the Xbox 360 version of the game rock on Live. Look for the flicks tagged with "02-06-07."