Top Spin 4 First Impressions
I got some hands on time with the upcoming game from 2K Sports & 2k Czech, Top Spin 4. As indicated from the number it is the 4th in the series and has been under 3 years since the previous instalment. The game is set to hit worldwide markets March 15th in the States and March 18th in Europe this year which is roughly less than 2 weeks to go so let’s give you some detail about how it has become.
One thing you’ll notice straight away is how much better the menu user interface is when greeted with the menu. The interface has gone for a bold singular colour tone that makes it look more professional and much more sleeker. the background is sharp dynamic with a blue hue to it. Options available for the PS3 variant is Playstation Network Options Extras Game Modes and Multiplayer.
Game Mode was only available to us in which we were able to play a single-player tie breaker with a choice of 4 players: Federer, Nadal, Ivanovic and Serena Williams. Each showcase a stats bar below their in-game image and overall the player likeness has improved from the previous instalment with more critical detail though still a bit off somewhat. 25 players total the roster including legends which we were unavailable to try out but definitely exciting to get our hands on once released.
Surfaces include all Major’s as well as the additional Carpet surfaces which is a nice addition to the series with all licensing. Gameplay underway and we are treated to an authentic opening sequence from the walkway up to the court and varies depending on which court. For us, at the US Open banners of Sampras for example during the walkway decorated the wall as Nadal and Federer walked along side by side cheered and clapped by what seems a more animate and dynamic crowd.
The control system once started you’ll find has been refined with ball and character psychics much refined and better realistic. Nadal has the quick feet more distinct than before and able to get to balls a lot better and recover better. His over the top topspin shots are gratifying; showcased with a sharp dip on balls made. The serving mechanics are still here and personally love them as they add much more depth into the gameplay and is definitely intuitive to play with. A little reminder basic serving is done by pushing the analog stick down then thrusting up – you can do inside out serves as well as body topspin serves by curling the analog towards up.
The accuracy system has changed for shot timing and so has the stamina gauge for each player. The stamina gauge has changed from a heartbeat monitor that hung above the player in between points is a standard gauge representing energy loss in each point. The accuracy system is done by a gradual circle completion where it presents power and your timing is described as either too late, too early, good or perfect.
Overall, hard is competitive but a bit on the easy side with normal being much more so. The opponent will exploit areas of weaknesses showing a competitive AI to play with offline. The character detail was highly done and clothes acting more authentic with shadow creation too. Animation styles were very smooth and gone with the long pauses of holding strength in Top Spin 3, creating a fluid gameplay that is highly pleasant to watch and play – a big improvement so far and promises a tennis experience.