Tennis games have come a long way since the days of Tennis for Two and Pong. 2k Sports has recently released their latest Tennis title Top Spin 4. Is it worth your money? Find out in our Review.
It’s tennis season time, well at least in the gaming world. 2k Sports is back with another sports title. This time it’s for Top Spin 4 and it’s been almost 3 years since the last one. Tennis games have come a long way since the days of Tennis for Two and Pong. Is the new Top Spin 4 any good? Is it the same as Top Spin 3? Find out below.
Top Spin 4 has an impressive career mode filled with plenty of things to keep you busy. In career you create a custom character and start from the bottom of the rankings as a newcomer. Before you can start taking on the world’s best you’ll have to participate in sparring matches, training camps, and minor tournaments to build your rank. Each month you’ll be competing in minor tournaments and sparring matches to gain xp for customizing your attributes. This is where Top Spin 4 does a great job with character building. There are 20 levels for your created character to obtain which are broken down into 3 specific classes, Serve and Volley, Offensive Baseline Play, and Defensive Baseline Play. Serve and Volley is putting the pressure on opponents with net coverage and volleys, and performing precise serves to set up approach-shot opportunities. Offensive Baseline Play is strong shots from the baseline, forcing opponents to return weak shots, and giving power to your serves. Defensive Baseline Play is tiring out your opponent, using all of the different spin types, and being fast with high stamina. Each time you level up you are able to pick from one of these 3 classes which automatically build the secondary skills such as forehand, backhand, serve, speed, power, etc. This makes for a quick and painless leveling experience, making it easier to customize your character the way you want. Career mode is well over 30 hours of play and will keep you going long after you’ve reached level 20 in your character development.
Aside from the great career mode, Top Spin 4 offers a good amount of game modes to play. Exhibition is the quick match option where you choose singles or doubles, any one of the 25 pro players, any venue, and customize the rules to your liking. King of the Court is the party game mode, where you’ll play short matches and the loser leaves the court and a new challenger steps up to take their place. Top Spin Academy is where you can play the tutorials and lessons to learn the ins and outs of Top Spin 4. Practice Ground is where you can have a machine shoots balls at you while you practice hitting them back in the various ways Top Spin 4 has to offer without the worry of an opponent. Top Spin 4 also has online play with a variety of modes to choose from. Player Match is the online equivalent of exhibition. World Tour is an online career mode where you create a character gain xp and participate in season matches against gamers from around the globe. 2K Open is where you choose from one of the 25 pro players and help them climb the ranks in an online leaderboard for the 2K Open season.
The gameplay in Top Spin 4 is what you’d expect in a Tennis game. You serve, you return, and you try to score the most points in the most games. What makes Top Spin 4 different from most tennis games is the way the game is played. You have 5 types of shots, flat, top spin, slice, drop, and lob each with their own strengths and weaknesses. There are also special shot types as well, control, normal, power, and inside out, which determines whether you score a winner, or cause an error. This time around Top Spin 4 brings the realism to tennis games, where you must time all of your shots correctly to play successfully. Press a shot button too soon, and you perform a normal shot, press it too late and you may hit the ball out and cause an error. To perform a controlled shot you have to press the shot button right before your swing, holding the button down does a power shot. There is normal, power, and precise serves also, which are performed by either pressing or holding the shot button. The realism is there and the game feels exactly as a tennis game should. Every shot, every reach, every serve and volley feel right. Top Spin 4 has great gameplay and great controls.
The visual side of Top Spin 4 is nice and clean; the pro players look and move like you’d expect them to. Its nice seeing pros such as Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Serena Williams or one of the other 25 pros come to life on screen. The courts look impressive, with subtle things like footprints leaving tracks on clay courts, the tearing up of grass, and the way the ball bounces on carpet. The crowd isn’t very life like, but too be honest it’s not about them. There are 40 courts each with distinct looks to them. The environments all look nice for a tennis title. All in all the game looks great, and is very easy on the eyes.
On the audio side of things Top Spin 4 does a decent job gathering all of what is to be expected in tennis. You’ll hear the PA system calling out the score, the crowd clapping at impressive plays, the grunts of the players and the sound of feet running around the court. The sounds of the balls hitting the courts, and rackets sound great. My only problem I have with the audio is the music; there are only about 5 or 6 songs in the game. Some fit with the feel, and others don’t. One song in particular easily gets stuck in your head, and isn’t something you want to be humming during a match. Overall the audio is great though.
Top Spin 4 has made a lot of great improvements over 3 and is quite honestly the best tennis game out right now. With Virtua Tennis 4 a few months from release, Top Spin 4 is the no brainer as the Tennis game to own. Great career, great gameplay, a good amount of game modes and an online component worth your time, Top Spin 4 is the most solid it’s ever been.
Bottom Line: Buy It