Reviews// Top Spin 2 (360)

Fancy a shot at Tim 'nice but dim' Henman?

Posted 23 May 2006 12:29 by
Games: Top Spin 2
The life of a tennis player is tough. For one thing, too much cream on your strawberries doesn?t half pile on the pounds. But there?s also the expectation to do well. The dream to become the best. If a life of slamming your balls on a green is your idea of fun, then Top Spin 2 may be right up your street. Ahem.

Following from the last title that appeared on XBOX, PlayStation 2 and PC, this sequel?s dug its console roots firmly in the 360. Making it a console exclusive, of sorts (other versions include Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance). However this has given 2K Sports the ability to really add attention to detail ? the graphics are spot on with beautiful detail in the arena backdrops, and the players are very lifelike in terms of their models and their animation.

Having said that, there really isn?t a reason 2K couldn?t have downgraded the graphics and had a multi-platform tennis game that looked almost as good as this. There are over twenty top pros included that you can control or play against as well, including Tim ?Poor Boy? Henman and Maria ?Really Not Bad? Sharapova. Fancy giving Federer a slap? Play a quick match against the sucker. Or, you can play as Federer and slap yourself. The latter?s more realistic too.

The modes available are your standard Tennis fare, with an ?Exhibition? mode for a quick game with a mate, a career story, party minigames and the obligatory XBOX Live online multiplayer. It?s by no means extensive but to be fair there?s not really much you can add to the sport short of adding a ?Konquest? mode. The players are all well balanced with a strength in a particular area of the field, be it baseline attacker or a speedy defender, and there are a huge range of grounds to play on, from the Grand Slam big boys like Wimbledon to smaller grounds in Mexico.

The atmosphere in each arena is made well with nice sound effects, echoing in larger grounds and regional music playing lightly in the background as you?re about to ace some poor sucker. Alongside the special advantage each player has, each has a list of skill areas that have a varying amount of stars. However, if you think Haas is a little too boring and German for your liking, you can also create your own tennis star in the making.

The create-a-player mode is just about the most extensive character construction mode in the world. Maybe. You can tweak height, portliness and all the usual gubbins, but when it gets to opacity of skin features and the arch of your nose we lean on Frankenstein territory. You could spend an hour just fine-tuning your guy or gal to look as much like yourself as possible. With all the options, it really isn?t impossible. Many features of your player you can change after you have initially saved, but some things like hairstyles will need to be paid for with your stack of moneys that you win from tournaments in your career mode.
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Games: Top Spin 2

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