Jahanzeb Khan
22 Apr, 2011

Virtua Tennis 4 Preview Event

PS3 Feature | We take it to the court and go one on one with Anna.
Last week, the PALGN staff were invited by Sega of Australia for a very special look at its upcoming sports title Virtua Tennis 4. Virtua Tennis has long become one of Sega’s leading franchises, one that offers a tennis video game experience unlike any other. We’ve seen tennis simulators like Top Spin and more cartoonish and arcade style tennis games like Mario Tennis and Sega All Stars, but no other tennis franchise merges aspects of simulation with arcade quite like Virtua Tennis. We had some decent hands on time with the game at the event and were also greeted with a few surprises.

Mie Kumagai had arrived all the way from Japan to grace us misfit Australian game journalists with her presence. In case you missed it, Mie Kumagai has been the lead producer of the Virtua Tennis franchise since its inception and is also known for developing two niche Sega Saturn titles, Winter Heat and Athlete Kings. The event started off with her thanking Australia for showing their support during the recent crisis that has struck Japan. She then talked about her career background and the Virtua Tennis series, before proceeding to walk us through the main new features in Virtual Tennis 4 - with a lengthy amount of time being spent explaining and demonstrating the unique PlayStation Move support for the game.

We were shown the PlayStation 3 build of the game, and it became clear from the start that the PlayStation 3 version of Virtua Tennis 4 was going to be the definitive version of the game. We were shown several unique features of the PlayStation 3 version, mainly the intuitive PlayStation Move support and other content such as exclusive players and several interesting bonus modes (such as the very popular tennis bowling mini game). While Virtua Tennis 4 experience will be largely retained in other versions, the PlayStation 3 edition seems to be the most complete package.

PlayStation Move support is a major focus of the game, and playing it this way seems virtually differently when compared to the classic control scheme. For one thing, player movement is almost automatic as the focus of Move gameplays shifts to being concentrated entirely on executing shots properly. This was actually quite interesting as the Move controller behaved almost naturally like a tennis racket and the cool vibration effect really added to realism. The shots executed in game were quite accurate based on our movements and the game switched to a first person camera angle to make shots easier to pull off. We quite enjoyed the PlayStation Move support and see it as a worthy addition to the title.

We were also able to play using the traditional controller, which felt as nice and comfortable as any of the past Virtua Tennis games. Some 3D televisions were set up and we have to say that the 3D effect really enhances the gameplay experience by making the tennis ball more visible and easier to strike.

Our attention was also focused on the fleshed out career mode where playing tennis is only just a part of the experience. The career mode essentially allows players to design their own character and literally explore the world to become the greatest tennis player. The interesting thing about this mode is that it isn’t just about winning matches, as it also requires players to build their skills using training programs as well as focus on their image with media appearances and such. From what we've seen, it's apparent that the development team have really put a lot more focus in creating a realistic tennis career mode this time around. Furthermore, the online play is also getting some major enhancements with better ranking system and such.

We quite enjoyed our hands on with Virtua Tennis 4, but we should probably stop our rambling for now because by next Tuesday, PALGN godfather Jeremy will be offering a full review of the game. So stay tuned!

Related Content

Virtua Tennis 2009 Review
06 Jun, 2009 Contains absolutely no puns about balls.
Virtua Tennis 3 Review
08 Apr, 2007 McEnroe tantrums not included.
Virtua Tennis 3 Preview
01 Sep, 2006 We go hands on with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version.
1 Comment
2 years ago
Do you have any thoughts in regards to this opposed to top spin 4?

I had virtua tennis 3 (old I know), and have recently bought top spin 4. Loving top spin 4 at the moment but would also like to check this out.
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