Virtua Tennis 4 released on home consoles and PC earlier this year, bringing an up to date tennis game to the market to compete with 2K’s Top Spin 4. SEGA brought in PlayStation Move and Kinect functionality to give the series a different dimension and with the added 3D support on the PlayStation 3 this really was a feature packed game. Now here we are, a few months down the line and Sony’s new handheld, the PlayStation Vita is on the horizon and guess what? SEGA’s bringing Virtua Tennis 4 to the handheld as a launch title along with smooth visuals and exclusive features.
Straight off the bat Virtua Tennis Vita includes all the players from the console version; you have the likes of British no 1 Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro, Andy Roddick and popular grand slam winners Rafeal Nadal and Roger Federer to choose from, amongst others. Everyone’s favourite career mode returns with the added use of the rear touchpad to get your fingerprints dirty over. If you choose to you can even navigate the map using the texturized back panel of Sony’s handheld.
Much like how the console version utilised Move and Kinect, Virtua Tennis Vita makes use of all the Vita’s gear. One mode turns the game into a top-down tennis game which resembles something from the App store. Using the touch screen you take one end of the screen and your friend the other as you battle it out on the tennis court. Controls are simple enough, tapping the screen hits the ball while holding your finger down moves your player; it’s a fun inclusion and makes up for your friend not having his own PS Vita, bless them.
Another mode takes the form of something you would expect to see in a racer; a screenshot mode! SEGA’s used the Vita’s camera to allow the player to snap a background picture and using the augmented reality to stick any of the players within the game onto it. Want to snap Nadal doing a serve on your window ledge? Now you can.
There is also a mode that is similar in experience to using the PS Move and Kinect with the game using the Vita’s gyroscope motion controls to put you in a first person perspective with a complete 360 degree view.
Gameplay within the Virtua Tennis universe has not changed much from the console version. You start your serve with the press of a face button and press the button again once you are satisfied with the amount of power. Of course the game uses the front touchscreen, but the best experience is to be had the traditional way using the analog and face buttons. Perhaps the most exciting thing of all about the Vita experience of Virtua Tennis is just how smooth the game runs, throughout the entire experience the game runs with a consistent frame rate and is really a joy to look at, a credit to the internals of the PS Vita.
PlayStation Vita will have a range of launch titles to choose from but if you are a fan of tennis and a fan of Virtua Tennis in particular then this should be a must have for Vita’s launch. Crisp frame rate and classic VT gameplay will have you playing for hours.
Virtua Tennis Vita is out on PlayStation Vita on February 22. You can pre-order your copy here.