TITLE: Top Spin
DEVELOPER: Power and Magic
DATE RELEASED: October 28, 2003
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 1-4
XBOX SYSTEM LINK: Yes
XBOX LIVE COMPATABLE: Yes
HDTV Support: 480p
5.1 Surround Sound: yes
Retail Price: $49.99
Do this ...think about how fun Virtual Tennis was on the Dreamcast, add tons more poly's to it, polish the controls up a bit and add more depth "online play" to the game and you have Top Spin brought to you by the one and only...MS Empires.
Top Spin is one of those games you either love or hate, people either love tennis videogames or hate them. I happen to love them along with just about any other sport and anyone a fan of tennis is gonna love Top Spin. I didnt have my hopes set too high for this title simply because there just hasnt been many top notch tennis videogames besides Virtual Tennis as far back as i can remember and im 29 years old...well gladly my hopes were reassured when i played my first game of Top Spin..offline and online that is.
As i started my first game i was hoping for the best and turns out not only does Top Spin control well but it controls very smooth and precise. I found that MS & Gang did a ton of research of recreating the feel of tennis in a videogame controller. It feels like the real thing, yeah sounds weird but you'll see what i mean once you give it few matches. Sliding left and right to snag hard hit balls towards the outter lines feels good even the "standing up" foot slide animations/sounds just gives the controls a better feeling as well.
The controls are very responsive and accurate which is critical in a game such as tennis. You got your lob ,curve and of course your power hit returns that all have its own results when used corrently in certain situations which actually really does make a diffrence in this game unlike many past tennis videogames.
Top Spin has its exhibition mode,single player career and the sweet online mode where you can compete with other tennis players from around the world via xbox live. I must say that online play in Top Spin is some of the most exciting videogaming i've done in recent times. Very good opponents and cheating so far seems null.
Career Mode is very good, tons of tournaments to enter and sweet gear to buy. You can even achieve real life sponsors if your good enough and that brings the Career Mode to life, not only that but you can enter tournaments in diffrent regions of the world and make your way up the ranks.
Competition is easy at first. I thought the game was gonna be flawed for easy AI seeing how i couldnt find an option to play on a harder level but it seems MS thought of a more logical way to make the game hard by making you play it more to move up in rank. Instead of giving you the options of diffrent difficulty levels they decided to play it like the real thing, you start off ranked very very low and of course competition isnt that hard at low ranks so the first 5 or so tournaments i won with a breeze but little did i know that the AI would get tough and very challenging the more i moved up in rank. Right now im ranked around 30th in the world and competition is stiff and reluctant which i feel is about right for my rank and current skills. MS did a great job with this kind of system by not giving you the option to raise or lower the difficulty and this gives you a better sense of the real game by having to keep improving skills to make it to the number one spot rather then just putting the game on easy and getting the #1 rank in matter of a few days.
Top Spin features real tennis players from Pete Sampras to the hot & sexy Anna Kournikova but suprisinly neither of the William sisters are present in Top Spin which is kinda a big let down.
Create a Player mode is amazing..i couldnt believe the create a player system MS came up with. Its so tweakable that you can almost make a identical replica of yourself and im not exaggerating when i say that. This is a great thing for online play as its nice to always play against other live opponents that always look diffrent.
I have one grip MS..wheres our classic players like John Mcenroe and Martina Navratilova to unlock? No biggy but it would of been cool to unlock and play with some classic tennis players of old.
Leave it to MS to utilize the power thats in their big black box and with no doubt...they deliver another sweet looking title. Top Spin is a pretty game..the graphics look photo realistic in alot of situations. Pete Sampras looks so real its sorta scary knowing this is a videogame and not a real tennis game on the tv. Some other well known tennis look like a spitting image of the real deal as well. The crowds do look good but have a sorta weird look to them but overall the crowds look great and animate well.
Animation is a big part of making a game look good and animation here is rock solid and impressive. Tons of diffrent animations to see and everything looks silky smooth giving the game a spectacular look.
Stadiums are well crafted and look impressive..they must of pumped alot of poly's into the stadiums because they look solid like any big foundation should.
Overall i cant claim Top Spin is the most graphically intense videogame on the xbox...its a tennis game so how graphically intense can a tennis videogame be? After all said and done..Top Spin is a very impressive looking xbox game and a fun xbox game to play at that.
Sound is sweet as honey..if you have surround sound on your tv "which every xbox owner should have" then you will be in for a treat with tons of sounds coming from all over ...nothing bad here, infact the sound is so nice and well balanced it gives you a senstion of being right on the court with the players. No play by play commentary but thats ok in a tennis game but you do got your line judges calling out your in's/out's,faults,etc.
To say Top Spin is a must have for everyone would be wrong but that dont make it an average game. Some people dig tennis and some dont..its as simple as that but one thing i will say is that Top Spin is the best tennis game ever created, yes i feel its a notch better then that steller Virtual Tennis we all grew to love on the Dreamcast. Online play is one reason but the overall polish of top spin and exciting career mode makes it King of Tennis videogames.
If you like tennis or even just a casual fan of the sport then dont miss out and go grab you a copy of Top Spin at your local store and enjoy a top notch tennis game that will give you much replay value online and offline.
Score: 9.5 out of 10
- Sweet visuals
- silky smooth controls
- Great offline and online modes
- No William sisters
- Only two camera angles
- No Classic players to unlock
Review by TGD
Edited by DuDeR MaN, 24 January 2004 - 03:17 AM.