Wii Review: EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis

The first Wii MotionPlus game serves up a double fault

I’ve been looking forward to seeing how MotionPlus would change the likes of tennis in Wii games. It seems that I got my wish granted with Grand Slam Tennis, but then I think that I should have been more careful what I wished for…
It’s not a problem with MotionPlus itself; it’s more or less the game’s fault with some silly ideas involving the nunchuk to move around while swinging the remote. With the add-on, it feels unnatural and I found myself moving my player one way with the nunchuk only to naturally swing the opposite direction. It just doesn’t work. On the plus side, you can just play the game with the Wii Remote and MotionPlus and let your player move around by itself.

The problem is that it feels like a poor man’s Wii Sports version of tennis. MotionPlus definitely helps make the game more accurate when it comes to how much strength you put into your swing, but there are times I missed easy shots through no fault of my own. The add-on was definitely configured properly and having tested Wii Sports Resort this week, I can say that it’s definitely no fault of the device itself…more of the game’s problem to detect a decent shot.

The game itself has standard play modes as well as a career mode and a way to track your fitness, set yourself targets and so on. I don’t know exactly how they expect to detect if you have actually met your target since there is no Wii Balance Board support, and I seriously doubt that MotionPlus can detect how much you weigh, so it seems a silly option to me. On the plus side, there is online support…although it’s oddly not mentioned on the front of the box with a Nintendo WFC logo.
Grand Slam Tennis offers you the chance to play on Wimbledon and with 23 different tennis players, including the exclusive John McEnroe. I don’t know why he has decided to be an exclusive character for a Wii-only game, seems a bit weird to me. You can also play as some of the more current best players like Murray, Nadal and Federer. With Wimbledon about to commence, it seems a good time as any to get into the game. It’s just a shame that it feels so unnatural to play.

With Virtua Tennis 2009 coming out this week with full MotionPlus support, it seems that Grand Slam Tennis really has its work cut out. I can’t imagine a series like that to completely screw up the controls, in fact I expect them to nail them and make possibly the best tennis game to date. I wonder if I’m made to eat my words, but only time will tell with that. Grand Slam Tennis has a nice look to it, it looks typically cartoonish and it fits quite well. It won’t blow you away, but it does seem to work…which is perhaps the only good thing about it.

The Verdict

EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis is somewhat of a disappointment. The MotionPlus doesn’t really seem to add anything new to the game and overall it lacks the precision or fun that was expected of it. I can’t imagine Virtua Tennis to make the same mistake when it launches on Friday.


1 Comment

  1. Yeah you summed it up pretty good. And VirtuaTennis 2009 is only slightly better. I did get Grand Slam Tennis to be SLIGHTLY more playable if I made a point of standing in “ready” position between swings, with the remote held with the buttons pointing to my left (instead of straight up), and then when swinging, rotating my wrist so that the buttons were facing upwards. But I would still miss easy shots that I shouldn’t have missed.

    GST is really a neat game if you overlook the fact that it’s unplayable. The animations are excellent, the commentary is cool, and so on. But if you can’t play it, you can’t really appreciate it. It’d be nice if EA could fix the problems with a downloadable update.

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