What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, like most modern sports games, Smash Court Tennis 3 is lined with real world athletes and products. Players go up against the likes of Rafael Nadal while wearing duds from Fila, swinging racquets from Head, and trying to win sponsorships from Adidas and Prince. Players also have the ability to make their players throw racquets, taunt their opponents, and get into shouting matches with umpires. The game supports online play, including voice chat. Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for children under 12 years of age.
What's it about?
Designed as a lower-cost alternative to its pricier competitors, the $40 SMASH COURT TENNIS 3 (exclusive to the Xbox 360 at the time of this writing) is a surprisingly robust tennis simulator. A simple but comprehensive tutorial that takes about half an hour to work through should provide players with all the experience and knowledge they need to start into the game's healthy selection of play modes, which include arcade tournaments, local and online multiplayer matches, quick exhibition games, and a long and deep multi-year career called Pro Tour. Sixteen recognizable stars of the sport -- including U.S.A.'s James Blake and Belgium's Justine Henin -- let tennis fans play as and against their favorite athletes. Exhaustive statistics tracking helps players keep tabs on details like how many winning shots they've scored at the net and the number of break points they've won.
Is it any good?
Smash Court Tennis 3 sacrifices the polish and precision found in more finely crafted tennis simulators for speed and scope. The dull-looking tennis players and rather barren stadiums don't stand up well in comparison to the almost photo-realistic graphics of a game like Top Spin 3. Smash Court Tennis 3's tried-and-true tap-and-hold swing controls, though easy to come to grips with, make it difficult for advanced players to pull off accurate finesse shots. But these minor flaws are easy to overlook in light of the game's incredibly fast, arcade-like action (matches often take less than three minutes) and the sheer range of play modes, options, and statistics available.
The Pro Tour mode, in particular, ought to keep some players going for weeks, if not months. Upon creating an avatar, players lead him or her through a multi-year career, selecting each week whether they would like to engage in a training activities, acquire a new doubles partner, play in tournaments and qualifiers, try sponsorship challenges, and enter charity events, all while improving various attributes, ranging from footwork skills to specific tennis styles, such as serve-and-volley and baseline play. It can take years (measured in game time) of fun and engaging growth activities to develop a character into a player capable of challenging top-seeded pros. If your priority in selecting a tennis game is bang for your buck, look no further.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about sportsmanship. How do you feel when you see a real life tennis star scream in anger, throw his or her racquet, taunt opponents, or get into heated arguments with umpires? You may sympathize with them, but are these mature and appropriate responses? Conversely, how do you feel when you see a professional tennis player praise an opponent for a good shot or smile and congratulate someone who has defeated them? What kind of sport are you?