Tennis Masters Series 2003
Tennis Masters Series 2003 is a welcome release to the sparse collection of tennis games for the XBOX. It has over 60 players to choose from, categorized under their respective strengths; baseline, net rusher, overall etc on many different courts types from around the world. You can play up to 4 players in doubles matches or take on a season by yourself.
The main menu of this game has Options, Tennis Masters Series and Exhibition. The Series has you making your way up in ranks through a series of ladder based tournaments. Beginning a new season in the Series gives you the option of a short or normal series and your choice of player and any customizing you want to do to him.
Player control is very easy to pick up on. You control with either the left analog stick or the directional pad and the a,b,x and y buttons each provide a different way of hitting the ball. The AI in this game will work you out, with each challenger presenting a different style of play. During play the AI will change up on you; you play the from the base-line, your challenger picks up on it and has you running to the net to return only to have the ball lobbed over your head. Your player also has an energy meter, run all over the court chasing balls and your energy goes down and you don't run quite as fast or hit the ball as hard. Conserving your energy is yet another challenge to winning and becoming the best. Once completing a tournament you move to a new location and court. You canít stop play in the middle of a match, but you can save your progress without completing the tournament.
Multi-player offers support for up to 4 players in doubles or 2 players single in exhibition games. Action is intense when you have a friend worthy of competition as your player puts on a dazzling show at your controls. The key to winning is continuously changing your style and keeping your opponent moving.
Players will spontaneously make diving saves and behind the back lobs that will have you cheering in superiority. Graphics are great. During a match as you progress through the day, the sun changes and shadows begin covering up the court adding even more realism. Courts vary in location and type and include asphalt, grass and clay.
Control is pretty straightforward as mentioned earlier. I seem to get the player more responsive using the directional pad. Placing the ball is a rather simple combination of setting up on the ball and pressing and holding the a,b,x or y button and then pressing in the direction you want to return. For example, if you are about to return and are set up to return a ball with a back hand hit, press and hold the button once you are set up and press towards the opposite direction of your opponent. If you want the ball to land close to the net, press down and what ever direction you want the ball to go. Microids has done a great job with blending the player control and shot aim and they are very easy to pick up on in little time.
I'm not a big fan of tennis and don't recognize any of the players presented in this game, but it sure is fun. Compared to the only other tennis game I've played, Slam Tennis (Infogrames), the single player is much more realistic and enjoyable. Multi-player is what this game gets used for mostly around here though, due to ease of being able to and be competitive in no time and support for 4 players is definitely good for the folks that hate having to wait to get in on the action. Pong was never this fun, definitely worth trying.