Version tested: Nintendo Wii
While on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 the latest incarnation of Top Spin proves to be excellent for technical realization, depth, quantity of content and multiplayer mode, the Wii version reaffirms the limits already encountered in the third episode, offering a mediocre experience from all points of view. The crux of the matter starts, as it should be, from the controls: with a quality product like Grand Slam Tennis to effectively exploit the greater precision of Motion Plus and a Virtua Tennis that does not equal these results but at least tries, the developers of 2K Czech have decided to "abandon the race" right away, implementing a system that is not based on the detection of the player's movement in relation to the character on the screen, but on a series of "gestures" that go to replace at the push of a button.
Do we want to make a cut shot? Well, we need to move the Wii-mote down. Do we want to perform a "top spin"? Then the movement must be done upwards. The forehand is achieved by moving the controller from right to left; the reverse, on the contrary, moving it from left to right. But be careful: the gesture does not change, whatever the position of the body of our tennis player. In short, as mentioned above, there has not been the slightest attempt to implement a motion detection control with 1: 1 mapping. And there's more: to play, you have to hold the Wii-mote "sideways", pressing the trigger B with the right index finger and the button A with no one knows what, since we will hardly be able to reach it with the thumb. The Wii controller is comfortable enough to hold because, clearly, ergonomics studies were done at the time the Nintendo designers designed it. Holding it like this is like taking an Xbox 360 controller sideways - what's the point? However, there is a precise reason why the developers have adopted such an impractical solution: the lateral movement of the Wii-mote actually produces a precise response in exchange for a limited range of movement, while the vertical movement (which in this case becomes lateral) needs a wider arc to return the same results.
We will be able to realize this when our tennis player does not make a forehand or a backhand in response to a nod from the controller only sketchy. The picture is completed with the role of the Nunchuk, whose analog stick not only serves to move our character on the screen, but also to determine the aim of the shots, with a circle that becomes more or less large depending on the timing with which we react. to the vibration that suggests the ideal moment for impact with the ball. In summary, therefore: the control system of Top Spin 4 it works via Wii-mote gestures, which replace the push of a button and have nothing to do with the position of the tennis player. And if we wanted to, at this point, would it be possible to use the Classic Controller to get gameplay in line with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions? Nisba, it can't be done. And let's add a footnote: we saw the game in action on the Sony console with the Move controller, and in this situation it seemed instead that the movements were faithfully replicated on the screen. Everyone draw their own conclusions.
Right, left ... left, right ...
The Wii version of the game has also undergone numerous cuts in terms of game modes and, above all, multiplayer. The latter is present only and exclusively locally, for a maximum of four players, where the aforementioned Grand Slam Tennis (released two years ago) implemented excellent quality online modes. You can challenge your friends in the "King of the Field" mode, a tournament governed by particular dynamics, or in the "Tournament" mode.
The latter consists of six different variants: "Tie-Break", with the classic rules; "Paint the Field", in which each shot throws paint on the field and whoever smears it the most wins; "Marathon", where longer rallies produce more points; "Tennis Polare", with the court divided into blocks that can be shattered by the impact with the ball, becoming an "out" zone; "Zone Bonus", with portions of the field that, if hit, multiply the score; "Enemy Hole", in which each impact of the ball creates an "out" area to be avoided. Finally, there is a "Minigame" mode for two players only, in which you can try your hand at the variants just described. As for the single player, only the "quick match" is available, to be played using one of the twenty-five real players on twelve different playing fields, and the "career". The latter constitutes the fulcrum of 2K Sports production, and sees us create our tennis player from scratch, choose a coach from those available (each of them provides us with a bonus point for one or more characteristics) and then divide ourselves between challenges and tournaments, with the aim of starting from the bottom and then establishing ourselves on the international scene. Our character has a series of peculiar skills (forehand, backhand, serve, volley, speed) that can be improved by spending the points earned thanks to victories, a fundamental operation to face the most advanced opponents. Unfortunately the technical realization of Top Spin 4 it goes hand in hand with the limits of its gameplay: the tennis players are all equipped with the same animations, not at all fluid (the comparison with the first Virtua Tennis for Dreamcast appears merciless), and even the scenarios turn out to be poor in detail and definition. Fortunately, the public, when present, is rarely framed. The sound accompaniment seemed mediocre to us: the voices are few and are not reproduced when they should (the tennis players rejoice in silence, in fact), the soundtrack is partly "signed" and partly not, and the interlude music is not they made a big impression on us (there is a song obviously copied from a Coldplay song, by the way).
While on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 the 2K Sports series has made great strides over the years, becoming a reference point for tennis fans and more, on Wii the opposite path has been taken. Top Spin 4 reiterates the limits of a development that has little to do with the assumptions of the Nintendo console, which uses the Wii-mote to obtain gestures instead of precise motion detection, which renounces online multiplayer from the start and presents itself with a disappointing technical sector from all points of view. Despite the unusual position in which you have to hold the controller and the scarce amount of modes available, after a while you can also become familiar with the game, but that by no means means that the experience becomes somewhat fun.
- Fairly long career mode
- A good number of tennis players and courts
- Control system questionable
- Mediocre technical realization
- There is no online multiplayer