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Nintendo Wii Review: Top Spin 3

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I had it all planned out. By Friday night at the latest, Andy Murray was to have won Wimbledon before the tournament has even begun; and Roger Federer was to win the French Open. I even had my tagline prepared. Alas it was not to be. Finally, my near-perfect tennis game has arrived. In Top Spin 3 I am able to make Andy Murray hit the ball into the open court rather than yelling pointlessly at the television as the real Andy Murray does a volley which can easily be picked up by an opponent.

So why is it only near-perfect? I had hoped there would be an option where the Nunchuck would be immaterial; however it is needed to manoeuvre the players around the court, unlike the pure simplicity of Wii Sports tennis. I understand TS3 is meant to be more accurate and responsive, but surely for the energetic gamers amongst us the Wiimote could pick up and mimic our movements on its own.

However I had known about this previously, so was prepared. What I was not prepared for was to find that there is no Wimbledon tournament on it; which given the timing of its release seems like a bigger disappointment than Tim Henman’s 2001 semi-final defeat at SW19. Instead, the greatest, most prestigious Grand Slam Tournament in the tennis world has been given to… Dublin. Now I’ve got nothing against Ireland. The manager of my football team is Irish, and he’s doing a better job than his predecessors; but as a Brit, to have Wimbledon left out feels like a national insult. Are we really that unpopular? As for the rest of the Grand Slams, they have to be unlocked before you are even allowed to set foot on the hallowed hard courts of Flushing Meadows or the dirt of Roland Garros.

On the upside, the developer, 2K, has created the best likenesses of the players outside of PS3’s Virtua Tennis. With Andy Murray they have done a better job than Madame Tussaud’s. He may be maturing into a rather handsome young man, but he’s not that pretty (no offence to Andy or Mme Tussaud intended). I can also now understand why he likes the size of his calves on his video-game persona.

The controls are difficult to get to grips with at first: the Nunchuck is used both to move your player and to direct your shot, and the two can seem to blend into one another until you get the hang of it. A word of warning, though, to cut your fingernails as short as possible before playing, as your hands are rather close together and so can lead to some painful scratches.

Playing the game is as infuriating as watching the real thing on television, especially at deuces when advantage goes back and forth. Never have I felt the perspiration as much while sitting down moving just my right arm at the varying number of match points I accumulated. The frustration can be amusing as well as exasperating, as are the players’ reactions. I’m sure Gaël Monfils would have had a fair number of warnings for racket abuse by the time I had finished with him. The selection of players is good, I was even introduced to two British players I had never heard of before.

I do however, feel sorry for PS3 owners. They are paying an extra £20 simply for a player who grunts unnecessarily loudly, dresses like an extra in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, takes a siesta between each point and has a smaller range of shots than the tennis on Wii Sports. The best part about TS3 on all the other formats is that there is no Rafael Nadal in sight or within hearing distance. If only all tennis tournaments could be like that.

 

As I was deprived of watching Andy raise the Wimbledon trophy through the video-game, I’m afraid it’s up to him to do it for real.

Pros:

  • Good player and venue likeness
  • Good control over movement and shot selection
  • No Nadal

Cons:

  • No option for play without the Nunchuck
  • No means of muting Maria Sharapova’s shrieks
  • No Wimbledon

Top Spin 3 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on the PS3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo DS.


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  • Nightwing

    The mere fact that Nadal is not in this game is a big enough turn off (and insult) to tennis fans everywhere. But it’s just not Nadal…when the roster was released a few months back several, several important tennis stars were excluded from the game. and that’s lame. really lame.

  • towelie

    not sure why you are digging into nadal, plenty of players grunt and dress like that, and to say he has a small range of shots but is number two in the world and consistnetly beating the number 1 and 3 is a joke.

    anyways are you suggesting you would have preffered this game without the nunchuk IE without the player controling movements, just merly swinging the remote, that would just make it a glamourised wii sports tennis,and although there is nothing wrong with that game it is very simple and a pick up and play for dummys whereas top spin is for the more serious fan, its still pick up and play and easy to get use to though, so whats wrong with that.

    i must say you miss some key points out and dont really sell the game, or tell us its bad, you simply tell us some ofYOUR dissapointments and dont build on the good or bad.

    not a bad review you just need to focus on the game a little more

  • Catherine

    Yes, but Nadal is undoubtedly the loudest grunter out of the men, yet from his build one would think he’d be among the quietest.
    As to his shot selection he simply does not have the repertoire or subtlety of players like Federer, Djokovic, Murray and Hewitt. What he does have is energy, and lots of it; it’s like he comes with Duracell batteries included. He wears his opponents out while he still has the stamina to win the match.
    Anyway he shouldn’t feel too left out, he is on the PS3 version (the console regarded as being the most superior), and his name is splashed across a tennis game on the DS, which is something none of the other players can lay claim to.
    Regarding the Nunchuck issue, I merely hoped that the Wiimote would have been sophisticated enough on its own to a) sense where a player is in the room in relation to the sensor bar/court and react to their movements, and b) to be as close to mimicking real shots as the technology would allow, and therefore there would still be a greater control over where the player/ball goes. For the amount of buttons being pressed I might as well have been playing it on another console.

  • Ricardo

    Simply: You are stupid…

    I don’t buy this game, just because Rafa Nadal is not in the game…

    Without Rafa Nadal, this game sucks.

    definitely you are stupid.

  • Catherine

    That’s your opinion, I don’t have to agree with you, and I don’t. If you don’t want to buy it, fair enough, that’s your decision. Get the PS3 version. I gave my honest opinion on the Wii version, and I like it without Nadal. That does not make me “stupid” for having that view.
    Incidentally, doesn’t calling me “stupid” count as a personal attack?

  • Ricardo

    It is not a personal attack… If you don’t like Nadal voice mute your TV.

    Actually Rafa Nadal is probably the best Tennis Player of the world…So without him, this game don’t count.

    No only Sharapova and Nadal louds in Tennis world… So saying “The best part about TS3 on all the other formats is that there is no Rafael Nadal in sight or within hearing distance…” you become stupid (at least).

  • Catherine

    I don’t mute the television, I change the channel. All I can say is, if I’m stupid for having an opinion theoretically that makes everyone in the world stupid, including you. Nothing is unanimous. Because we don’t agree doesn’t make either of us wrong. If you feel so strongly write your own review of TS3 decrying how lame it is without Nadal, I won’t lampoon you for it, demean you and call you stupid. I also won’t dignify any more of your responses with an answer.

  • Ben

    I’ll be the umpire: “simply: you are stupid” is definitely a personal attack. *blows umpire’s whistle*

    Thanks for the review Catherine. Personally, I don’t give a rats about the roster, I just want good gameplay, on a par with Wii Sports Tennis! Might read a few more reviews before I decide.

  • Joe

    Sounds interesting, and nice review… do you at least swing the wiimote for shots like in Wii Tennis (and swing it backwards for backhand, something annoyingly out of Wii Tennis)? The reviews I’m reading don’t seem to clearly show this.

    It seems to me it should be simple to have the Wiimote by itself do everything by motion – lobs, drop shots, slice, backhand, serve. How much of this does the Wiimote itself do?

  • Catherine

    Thank you, Ben and Joe:)
    Joe, the Wiimote does not strictly respond to a backhand/forehand motion. You can swing for a forehand but if your character is in postition for a backhand then a backhand is what will emerge. To do dropshots and lobs a button on the Nunchuck is held while you do a specific movement with the Wiimote.

    Ricardo, can we please agree to call a truce and end this pointless bickering? Agree to disagree?

  • http://thedon.com The Don

    Ricardo it sounds like you would like to here nadal grunting in your bedroom.
    get over yourself [personal attack deleted]

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’m getting my wife a Wii for her birthday (Okay, I’m getting myself a Wii for my wife’s birthday!) and this is going to be the first game I buy with it.

    Cool review.

  • Catherine

    By the way, does anyone know how to do a forehand with spin in Wii Sports tennis? I can do a backhand with spin, and I’ve tried all kinds of different moves and can’t do a forehand! My brother managed it once but that was from sheer luck, so I know it can be done!
    Any ideas? Any help would be greatly appreciated:)

  • Nadal Fan

    To be honest Rafael Nadal is the man and will kick Federer’s ass in the final of Wimbledon if they play each other. also you did not mention anything about anyone else like how James Blake has a really annoying grunt. so I think you are just sayin this because you don’t like Rafael Nadal which I think is stupid and you should not be reviewing this game.

  • Dave

    I would have like to see a more detailed review about the game, besides personal attacks on Nadal which have nothing to do with a good game review. Anyhow, since I’m not doing a review… Congrats to Nadal by beating Murray on 3 easy sets!
    The Nadal – Federer matches have been a joy for tennis enthusiast and I can’t wait to see another Nadal vs Federee final this year.

  • Hayds

    My sister just bought this game, and after trying to operate this I got rather frustrated – but I am sure it just takes time and practice to get right.

    On another note, just because someone does not like another person does not make them stupid. If that is true, then you liking a person that others don’t is stupid… stop the double standards, the blind opinions and insults with claiming someone is stupid for posting their own opinion on a public medium is ignorant.

    The internet is a wonderful thing, you have many choices on it – namely, if you don’t like it, don’t read it.

    You like Rafael, she doesn’t – who cares?

    People that buy a game based on the roster and not the game play just kind of confuse me. Would you buy a sub par game if he was in it?

    Also, Catherine, great review – and I to was surprised you have to use the Nunchuck with this game – there are other ways to make it a challenge without having to use the nunchuck (and i must say this game seems to have implemented Inertia in a weird way, but thats from one gaming session) such as making it faster (seems almost a little too slow to me really)

  • Reg

    Not only does Rafa have an annoying grunt he looks like a chipmunk and is very sweaty.

  • Brian

    So i’ve had this game a few days, and I can’t figure out how to do the power serve. It just doesn’t work. I hit the C button, move the wii remote, but the power bar doesn’t move at all. What am I doing wrong? Luckily there is the ‘safe’ serve, cause i can still win with that.

  • Brian

    So, turns out Wii remotes can break. The motion sensitivity in one of mine stopped working, hence the serving not working. Once I figured that out, everything was fine. oops.

  • Ricardo

    After Roland Garros and Wimbledon, saying “Pros: No Nadal” is stupid.

    It’s Sad very sad.

  • J

    This is rediculous.
    -That game was almost as bad as your review.

    Since you were so “un-biased” as a reviewer, i feel the need to say, a) Andy Murray SUCKS, and b) there is NO exscuse for the (soon to be #1 ranked tennis player in the world) not to be in this game on 2/3 consoles.

  • C’mon!

    Would you say “Pros: No Cristiano Ronaldo” when reviewing PES or FIFA? I don’t think so. So, why not having Rafa is a “pro”? Because, like it or not, he’s the best player in the world this year. It would be great to have the opportunity to play Top Spin with a friend, acting like Roger and Rafa (and their impressive games, like Wimbledon’s final) You know what I mean, Rafa celebrating and winning, Roger losing and almost crying :-P

    Anyway, I think this is a good review. An informal one, but fair enough. It’s not very easy to find personal views about the game on the Internet, so this review is really helpful for me in my decission about buying this game or not (even my English is poor, at best, hehe). Thank you!

  • Sammy

    Yes, Rafa prevailed in probably the greatest match of all time. Like him or not, he is a formidable opponent. He’s worked hard and deserves to be where he is. He should have definitely been included in the game. It’s a shame contractual reasons left him out. I’m sure Roger may have a little dislike for Rafa. But, he sure respects him. You may diss on the player or not like the way he grunts, but respect his game.

  • zack

    THE GAME IS GREAT BYUT NO NADAL IS SO DUMB, I WILL NEVER BY A TENNIS GAME WITH NO NADAL. HE MAKES THE SPORT FUN.

  • jabir

    nadal is the best in the world and best in all nof the games

  • Miguel Estrada

    Hi, thanks for the review…
    I have rented this game before deciding buying it, my frustration is that there is no way to tell the game that I am left handed!!
    I se movements of the players as right handed and any movement I try to do is not recognized because I try to play as left handed.
    Do you know if there is something I can do to play ??
    Thanks…

  • alex

    shut the hell up

  • Alias Huwer

    You guys are a bunch of nerds that probably dont even know how to play tennis. You care more about Nadal and being a fan than the actual game.

    “Nerds” – personal attack or not, I dont care. I only wanted a bloody review on the game…not the history of who screams louder on the court. You should hear my girlfriend in bed – she’s louder than everyone!

  • Jordan Richardson

    Sounds like a lucky lady…

  • frozensage

    Man what’s wrong with you ppl, I came here to read a game review and all I got was a bunch of kids arguing over I love and hate Nadal? Ok it was disappointing Nadal wasn’t in it, as much as I love Federer, but ffs I play the game for how accurate it is to the real game not cause I don’t see someone’s name on the scoreboard. Get a life!

  • chris

    how do u unlock nadal in top spin 3 wii

  • Chazza

    nadal…not being in this game? i thought no tennis gme in the world could exclude rafa. i thought you could soon unlock him. man…im taken this game back to the shops. without rafa…this game is nothing

  • maumau

    you are all hot for nadal, it is about the sport, not which dumn gay caracter you can virtually be

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