Top Spin 3 (Wii)

Sick of the tennis game in Wii Sports? 2K brings their much loved Top Spin franchise to the Nintendo Wii to see what it can do.

Tennis is something that seems like a winner on the Wii. Nothing has been quite as fun as the original Wii Sports tennis game yet and now 2K Sports are giving it a try with the return of their infamous Top Spin franchise.

While released as Top Spin 3 on the Wii, you should realise that this game is completely different from its PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 counterparts. Those games feature realistic sets, moves, and dynamic weather while this Wii version lets you play a game with the physical controls that could only be found on the Wii.

Playing a game in only the way a Wii version could possibly allow, you’ll take to the courts as some of international tennis’ most favoured current players, including Roger Federer, Mark Philippoussis, Boris Becker, and Maria Sharapova to name but a few. Many of the courts are there too and all are rendered in some sort of reincarnation that the Wii can give out.

It’s a bit strange at first to see the players which look almost as if they’re caricatures of the real players, what with the higher cheek bones and almost playful smiles no matter what the on-screen character is doing. Likewise, the crowds in the background could probably have just been streamlined to be little more than paper cutouts against a flattened background with how slow they clap in synch with each other.

But you’re not here to look at the wallpaper crowd, nor are you here to ogle the pixelated legs of tennis’ great stars. No, you’re here to play tennis, and short of some more of those ambidextrous issues common with many a Wii game, playing tennis is what you get to do.

For Top Spin 3, you’ll hold the Wiimote in one hand and the Nunchuk in the right. You’re supposed to hold the Wiimote in the right as this is another of those games where Lefties were forgotten about, but you can hold the Wiimote in the left and get away with it. It doesn’t work quite as well as often you’ll swing in the left and your character will do nothing, the computer misinterpreting your action for one that a right-handed oriented controller wouldn’t make.

To serve, you’ll fit a button on the Nunchuk, raise your Wiimote up, and swing. The next series of rallies has you swinging left and right allowing you the option of pushing down on the different buttons on the Nunchuk while using its joystick to slice the ball in a different direction. When not hitting the ball, you’ll use the joystick on the Nunchuk to guide your player around the court.

There’s even a gesture system that is supposed to allow you to do a little dance or raise your arms for your winning happiness, but this doesn’t work very well as you have no idea what it will often do nor if it’ll actually work in the first place.

You might be able to tell from this review that I have no idea what tennis terms are. I apologise to those tennis fans in this instance. Rest assured that Top Spin 3 doesn’t seem to care either. The game’s tennis action is more like a longer lasting and slightly more complicated version of Wii Sports’ tennis game. Is it more fulfilling? Yes. But does it really change anything? No, not really. Sure, you get longer games with an actual degree of difficulty provided you’re willing to move to a Hard or Very Hard setting, but this isn’t the same sort of experience that the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 versions are aiming to achieve.

So to add to the game to possibly make it better, 2K Sports have included party games. Yes, the Nintendo Wii’s favourite game classification makes itself known with games that are fun & easy to play. Unfortunately while they can all be played by yourself, they’re really only fun when there’s someone with you, and that idea can really be given to Top Spin 3 as a whole.

In the end, Top Spin 3 is an entertaining game and is probably one of the better Wii tennis experiences out of there. But considering there are only three games on the Wii that let you play tennis (not including table tennis), this might be damning with faint praise. If you’re looking for an extension on Wii Sports tennis game for something a bit more challenging or want to play a tennis game between you and three mates, you’ve definitely found your match, set, and game.

Developer: PAM Development
Publisher: 2K Sports
Classification: G
Formats: Nintendo Wii; other versions available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo DS
URL: Top Spin 3

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark