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Haoshiro
May 23, 2006, 08:08 AM
I'm really thinking about picking up this game (perhaps even today!) so I wanted to check here and see if anyone has picked it up and/or played it yet?

Dagless
May 23, 2006, 08:12 AM
It's very good.

I won't buy it though. I play a bit of table tennis, just against mates from time to time. It's the sort of game that NEEDS the Wii controller to be perfect.

jelloshotsrule
May 23, 2006, 08:26 AM
looks awesome. seems like a perfect rental, for sure... i'd be tempted to buy it (or certainly rent it asap) if it weren't for that damn oblivion eating up all my gaming time.

ipacmm
May 23, 2006, 08:35 AM
It does look like a really cool game but I bought TopSpin so I might rent this game to check it out. Let us know what you think of it.

Bubbasteve
May 23, 2006, 08:48 AM
I'n pretty interested as well...considering the game is only $40 :)

Abulia
May 23, 2006, 10:32 AM
Waiting for demo. ;) The Marketplace has me spoiled.

clayj
May 23, 2006, 10:36 AM
I'm totally picking up this game later today.

MacRumorUser
May 23, 2006, 11:34 AM
Let us know what it's like Clayj.

like your new avatar :)

I didn't like top spin 2, I didnt think it played as good as the original, so i'm a bit dubious of this too.

Afro1989
May 23, 2006, 07:09 PM
I just got it a few hours ago at Target. So far it seems like it can get pretty fun & intense on Live. I'll post more impressions later.

CubeHacker
May 23, 2006, 07:12 PM
This game isn't worth playing until its on the Wii :D

(But seriously, I hope it is released for the Wii eventually!)

clayj
May 23, 2006, 07:48 PM
Being playing it for about an hour now.

It's easy to play... but it ain't easy to win. The graphics and sound are top-notch, and there are a ton of achievements and unlockables to go through, so this isn't a game anyone's going to master in a hurry.

Pistol Pete
May 24, 2006, 05:40 AM
friend bought it and we played it....

quite fun and entertaining...

DougTheImpaler
May 25, 2006, 11:00 AM
how does this compare to, say, Top Spin 2? I got the TS2 demo off of the Marketplace and am enjoying it. I know that IRL table tennis is quite different; just wondering if I should go for this over TS2 or wait for Virtua Tennis from SEGA?

Haoshiro
May 30, 2006, 07:53 AM
WARNING: This is a VERY long post, you have been warned!

Alright, I finally picked up this game and had a chance to play it a few times over the weekend!

First, the comparisons:

I'm sure people are going to wonder how this compares to the actual tennis games that have come before (Virtua Tennis, Top Spin, Top Spin 2).

I have not played Top Spin 2 but have played the others (though I have heard TS2 is not much different then the first) and can say that they ARE different style games. In principal they are very similar, but in play Table Tennis is much more "personal" in that you are close to the table and play is much faster paced.

Honestly just compare the real sports and you will get an idea of the differences. The dynamics of the game, the physics, speed, character movement... all different to varying degrees.

A simple example: about 33-40% of the shots can be returned without ever needing to move your character at all. If you think about it this is obvious since the size of the table is quite small compared to a tennis court. Positioning is still important, but getting to the ball isn't as large a part of the challenge.

The review / My opinion:

This game is fast and as a result everything plays out in a pretty intense fashion. It's all about reaction and timing, throwing in the various strategic elements causes things to get even more challenging given the short amount of reaction time you will usually have.

The basic controls work out like this: You hit the ball with one of four spin buttons. These are mapped to the A, B, X, and Y buttons as well as to the right analog stick, use whichever you prefer. The left analog stick controls movement and aiming. For buttons this works out to X/B = Left/Right Spin, A/Y = Top/Back Spin.

You can "charge" a return hit as soon as the ball is coming towards you. To do this you just hold down a spin button and release. The longer you hold it down the more power your return will have. The controller will also rumble when doing this, the harder the rumble the more in danger of missing the table you are. Charge too long and you will slam the ball right off the table - point for the opponent.

Every time you charge a return your "Focus" meter will build up (depending on how long the charge was). You can fill this gauge up multiple times, each time you fill it you have access to a "Focus shot". This gives you a matrix-esque slowdown allowing you more time to charge, aim, and return the ball. I've only finally really got the method down since I had not gone through all the training sections prior to playing, heh.

You can also do a "soft shot" by holding down LB/RB and the press a spin button, or alternatively, if using the right analog, you can just "flick" the stick quickly to do a soft shot. This lets you slow down the game a bit and can give you a chance to throw off the opponent. If the game has been going fast and you suddenly slow it down, they risk charging their hit to long and giving you a point by hitting the ball out.

Whenever the ball is getting returned there will be a colored arrow slightly visible that circle the ball according to its spin. These colors correspond with the face buttons of the controller (so green is Top spin (A), red is Right spin (B), etc). This gives you a quick visual cue to the spin of the ball and let you pick your return spin. So you can apply counter-spin, etc to send the ball back in a variety of ways, including lob, slam, etc., the more charge you have the more effective the spin.

Serving is a pretty simply affair but you have pretty much all the options available. You chose a "stance" (haven't learned much about these yet) and then a meter appears, you hold the button to build the power of the serve spin while a slider on the meter bounces up and down to indicate power. Before releasing the serve, you can use the left stick to aim the serve.

Now that I've outlined how the game controls I have to say this game is fun. Very fun. A friend came over and played awhile with me and he said he was surprised, he expected to be bored and half asleep after the first match, but instead we both had a blast the whole time. One point went to 65 rallies, very crazy and quite fun.

To me it's like a very condensed game of tennis, the action is instant and very fast. You do occasionally need to "run" for a ball and having yourself in reach is very important, but the margin for error in terms of player positioning seems much lower then tennis. You can have exchanges of 20, 40, 60, or even more pretty frequently which just makes the game a lot more fun. It can get really fast and require you to really watch the ball and react fast.

I've heard it compared to a fighting game and I would say I can definitely see the comparisons. The action is quick, timing is key, and learning your opponent as to predict the next move and your repsonse can be the difference between a win or loss.

Characters all have independent stats for things like power, speed, etc and visually, while not the most interesting people, are fantastic. If you saw the character demonstration for PS3, when they showed Tiger Woods, I'd say that level of detail is pretty much what we have here, only none of the characters are going to be recognisable. The cloth physics are very nice and characters show emotion rather well (but rarely say anything).

The crowd gets involved, even though they are not actually seen. You can here gasps, cheers, etc. It's done so well you really can get into it and not realize the crowd is getting into the game with you. Characters are more expressive after a long series of intense rallies then if you only rally a few times. At one point against a friend of mine the crowd started chanting "Liu Ping, Liu Ping!", my character's name, as the action was heating up... is was actually a very satisfying feeling being cheered on as things got really intense. Exactly why they chose me I'm not sure, but it had been a close game up to the half way point where I started taking the lead and really dominating.

In terms of features this game is all about the gameplay. You will have a Training mode that will teach you all the different skills and gameplay you'll need (which I found VERY useful, anyone that plays should go through the first few sections at least), Exhibition which is just for a quick matchup, Tournament with Easy/Medium/Hard difficulties, and Xbox Live for online ranked and unranked games.

Every character seems to have 2 courts and 5 shirts. You start with 1 court and 2 shirts on each character and can unlock the others by winning matches in various ways. So far it appears these are character-specific, meaning playing with Liu Ping will allow you to unlock things just for him. There also seems to be 3 or 4 unlockable characters, all with 2 courts and 5 shirts as well.

The achievements seem to be well designed and challenging. The first is to get a Perfect ranking in every training section (of about 8-10) which you probably won't be able to do the first time in every section. There doesn't seem to be any "You beat 1 character on Easy!" type worthless achievements here.

Sound is great, visuals are great, gameplay is great, everything really feels top notch here. I'm sure people would wish for a Career mode of some sort, something to really let them progress their character but this doesn't really exist. The online Ranked matches may be able to fill the void there but I have not put any time into that at this point, so I don't know. Just the fact that there were Unranked and Ranked online matches seemed promising to me, though.

So in summary, I liked it a lot! It's not something I would probably sit and play all day, but playing a game or two a day is definitely appealing and matches with friends is a definite blast!

MacRumorUser
May 30, 2006, 08:20 AM
^^ Thanks for the review ^^ :)

Symtex
May 30, 2006, 08:58 AM
I have to say that the game gets very challenging at higher level. Ninja Gaiden challenging, if you catch my draft. You will yell, curse and maybe throw the controller a time or two during your game session. Im currently 2 match away from completing All-Stars on default settings. I don't remember sweating so much while playing a game. It's a whole new game on All-Star. Character position becomes a key factor. Couter-spinning become a necessity.

turbopants
May 30, 2006, 09:36 AM
Great review, thanks. I'm going to give this title a rental, it looks quite fun and easy to play.

DougTheImpaler
May 30, 2006, 09:39 AM
Excellent, I've read alot about the table tennis, and it all sounds awesome. Thanks for takign the time to write that up.

2nyRiggz
May 30, 2006, 10:38 AM
Sounds great.....not my cup of tea though. Online play should rock for a few months.


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