Virtua Tennis 4
|Virtua Tennis 4|
European cover art
|Release||PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360|
Multiplayer (2 to 4)
Virtua Tennis 4 (Sega Professional Tennis: Power Smash 4 in Japan) is the third sequel to Sega's tennis game franchise, Virtua Tennis. It was released on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Wii and PlayStation Vita. Virtua Tennis 4 is also being produced for a four player stick based arcade.
The game supports the PlayStation Move controller on the PlayStation 3, the Kinect on the Xbox 360, and the Wii MotionPlus on the Wii. All previously mentioned devices are optional, although the Wii MotionPlus is required for actual motion-controlled gameplay in the Wii version, which is controlled with the Wii Remote held sideways if the accessory is unavailable. Virtua Tennis 4 allows the player to step into the shoes of some of the world's best tennis pros. The game supports stereoscopic 3D on the PlayStation 3. When the PlayStation Move is used, the character's left and right movement is automatic but each swing of the racquet must be performed by the player and one can drop back or rush to the net by physically stepping back or forward. There is a dynamic camera system in place, so when the ball is in the other half of the court, the camera pans out so that one can see one's position.
When the ball is coming towards the player, it glides into a first person viewpoint where the player can see their racquet in front of him and time their swing accordingly. The player can twist the racquet to adjust its face when it connects with the ball, allowing skilled players to apply spin.
On 1 January 2011, a trailer was released on the YouTube channel of Sega America with a partial list of players that were confirmed for the game. On their blog entry published the same day, it is announced that there will be seven new inclusions to the game.
Six days later, on the Facebook page of the game, the full list of players was released. On 31 March, on the same media, it was announced that 3 legends were included to the game. However, these will be exclusive for PlayStation 3 (along with 2 new mini-games).
As well as these players included in the game, the user has the option to create up to eight of their own players in the World Tour mode.
This is the first game to be developed by the original Virtua Tennis team Sega AM3 since 2006.
World Tour Edition
An updated Vita port, entitled "Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition" was announced on June 7, 2011, and was to simultaneously launch with the PlayStation Vita, along with being exclusive to Sony's new handheld.
The World Tour addition included many exclusive features. More mini-games were added, along with touch controllers. You can also play in first person mode, and control the game using the Vita's gyroscope. Players may use the handheld's front camera to take a photo of their face, and have the game construct a character based on the photo (Similar to the mechanics of the game Reality Fighters). After the game downloads your image, you may edit your player in a light character customization screen. Different game templates were also added, allowing the user to play in various time periods, ranging from the early 20th century to one-hundred years in the future.
Two players may now play using the same system, by turning it sideways in the style of Pong, with each participant using a combination of touch control and buttons or analog to play. Augmented reality can be used to bring tennis players featured in the game to life on your system. Simply select a player, and have them brought into onto your screen, with the background being whatever is facing the second camera on the system.
Online play had also been touched up on, allowing players to share stats, and allowing users to share comments on the other's game home screen.
The game itself was enjoyed by players, critics, and actual tennis players alike (See Reception for more on the reviews). Tennis star Andy Murray stated that he enjoyed the game while playing against a representative from Sega, stating that he found it and entertaining, praised the graphics, and said his in game character was an accurate representation of him.
As of July 2017, Virtua Tennis 4 is the only tennis simulation game available for the PlayStation Vita.
GameZone gave the game a 6/10, stating "By and large, Virtua Tennis 4 does adhere strongly to its roots, bringing enough excitement to lure a wider audience. However, it would be useful for a study to be conducted of similar titles, so that these updated features could find their way into the beloved franchise." GameSpot had reviewed the Xbox 360 version and gave it 5.5 out of 10. It stated that "In almost every respect, Virtua Tennis 4 is outclassed by its rival Top Spin 4" because Virtua Tennis 4 have annoying music, too simple controls and unrealistic sound effects.
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