In the virtual world of tennis, Top Spin has always been presented as a serious alternative and realistic, while others focused on the accessibility and fun factor. Despite the recent success of mini-tennis games, 2K Czech does not change the course of action, as the first playable version of Top Spin 4 shows us.
Flirting with the lines
“Consider the game of tennis as a fighting game.” Thus, Stephane Dupas, its producer, began the presentation of Top Spin 4, the fourth incarnation of a series that still serves as a figure of reference for simulation. Hardly discouraged by the casual approach of Wii Sports Co. towards tennis, teams of 2K Games have donned the thinking cap to re-propose a simulation which will be fun to play but sharp enough in any case to reflect the complexity of tennis. Top Spin 4 hence has a little more accessibility, with plenty of visual indicators to provide better feedback to the player.
In a game where timing is also crucial is probably the best way to correct errors of assessment. Accuracy: in Top Spin 4, there are two variants of blows. Note, you do not mention the usual array of games of tennis, hitting flat, slice, lob and smash, but the distinction between accurate shots and powerful shots. In the first case, just a quick tap, the second a charge longer, then the timing will make the difference. And all be clear between a well angled shot and cashew in the middle of the court.
Having had the opportunity to squat at some length the game in higher difficulty (Difficult and Pro) can tell you that there really meet and depth, in Top Spin 4. Fully understand the timings and choose the shot that best suits the situation requires a good reading of the game and clockwork precision, even more perhaps than in other simulation tennis. Also note inertia is quite demanding but realistic for the management of foot-cons. A step too far in relocating, and you will not have a chance to return. A ball a little too soft, and your opponent will only have to adjust yourself without even needing to slip a missile.
Unsettling at first, the inertia may frustrate players followers of windshield wipers. Again, the precise management of fatigue limits and crazy flights back cannon. As the game advances, the more it is difficult to recover, another asset for players like Nadal or enduring Chang, who will gradually grip on the game if he comes at last. Conversely, a player out of breath could see his ball spinning off the court at the slightest deviation of timing. A very good point there too.
Players will be happily taken in hand from the start with a Top Spin Academy, to better introduce newcomers to tennis by 2K Czech with practical workshops. Classic, indeed, even if the tutorial tries to go further by teaching a game logic in categorizing three styles of play, “Attack of the baseline,” “Defensive Player” and “Operation / fly”, the tutorial covers about the basics for those interested closer to the tactical aspect, with some good advice on how to optimize every shot. Despite all these compromises simulation, Top Spin 4 does not forget the spectacular dimension of tennis.
The game looks much more dynamic than its predecessor, with more punch in the exchanges. And especially as a completely new level in terms of animation and photo-realism, with a naturalness and violence in certain attitudes that commands respect. The lift of Nadal, the lapels of Federer, Roddick of the service are clearly reproduced with a fidelity disconcerting, but we also appreciate the work done in the most discreet racing replacement or things like that. All is not perfect today – we can often come to see players leave spinning balls that seemed yet playable. And more broadly, it sometimes seems too difficult to reach a point that seemed acquired, either because the player does not cross enough, either because it is in fact difficult to touch the line, even with a metronome like Federer. The game has finally stolen seemed very picky, but nothing prevents us to choose rather than Sampras or Roddick Nadal.
Matter content, precisely, Top Spin 4 seems pretty well armed with short enough (every Grand Slam except Wimbledon, which some Masters Series BNP Paribas), and the usual career mode shape for his avatar. Again, players will distribute packs of points in several categories, focusing on certain areas of play or seeking versatility. Once the point source dried up, it will be possible to add a specific coach, more or less listed on the market, which will apply some bonus in certain stats at the expense of other skills. A priori a good way to modulate the characteristics of a mature player, to avoid seeing the same patterns of tennis on servers proliferate once online.
The only disappointment here comes from the shelf together for this new version. While the older players have grown up with Agassi, Sampras or Lendl, but we would have liked the veterans come here to complement a more modern cast at least Tsonga or Monfils. Same side of women, where one is deprived of some headliners and true legends. As the facial modeling is far from being on top for most of them is still a small inconvenience that we would like to see improved by the final version. Top Spin 4 nevertheless serious arguments make, and all those who are close to virtual tennis have reason to remain attentive.
Tech5 Score : A medium 7.0.