I’ve always liked the Wii. This doesn’t actually translate into playing with it that much as it turns out, but I still like the device itself. My favourite game on it has always been the Wii Sports Tennis, because it feels a bit like playing the actual game. Nintendo have just released a controller upgrade for the Wii remote which is supposed to add even better motion detection (it contains a rotation detector so that the games can when you are twisting the controller). At the same time (and rather cleverly bundled with it) they have released a new tennis game.
Of course I got one. The tennis game itself is very good, and the improvements to the control over the way you swing the racket and direct the ball really make a difference.
Of course I can’t do it. I think I may have to unlearn a whole lifetime of tennis, squash and badminton. In Grand Slam Tennis you can use the control to direct the ball after you’ve hit it (something I always wanted to do in my tennis days, but never quite managed). Unfortunately for me this means that I direct the ball out of the court nearly every time, but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it at some point.
The game doesn’t try to make the characters lifelike, setting instead for cartoony representations of all the big tennis names. This actually works a treat, and looks a lot better than some other tennis games where the players get stuck in the middle of the “uncanny valley” with zombie flesh and strangely glowing teeth. The fact that the Wii can’t actually render to the standard of the other two platforms must have driven that decision, but I think the game looks better for it.
I’ve yet to try multi-player, I have hopes that will be fun too. Until Microsoft come out with Project Natal this will do for me.