Virtua Tennis 2009

Game review by
Alex Porter, Common Sense Media
Virtua Tennis 2009 Game Poster Image
Active sports game makes good use of MotionPlus controls.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game is all about playing tennis and competing and sends a message that playing sports is a positive thing.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Top athletes are shown as being good competitors.

Ease of Play

Mastering the Wii MotionPlus controls, which involves closely mirroring real tennis movements, takes time. If players are used to playing other Wii racket games, this can be challenging.

Consumerism

The game uses some corporate sponsorships and players' skill is rewarded with branded gear.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this sports game is a friendly experience with no objectionable content. The steep learning cure using the Wii MotionPlus controller could create some frustration in younger players, but it is otherwise, a solid, safe game.

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What's it about?

This is currently the third Nintendo Wii game to market that uses the Wii MotionPlus controller (others being Grand Slam Tennis and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10). The MotionPlus, an attachment to the Wii remote that precisely translates real movements into game play, enable players to execute four shot types--drop, lob, slice, and top spin. Up to four players (online or off) can pick from a large selection of male and female pros such as Federer, Sharapova, Nadal and the Williams sisters.

Is it any good?

While there's great family fun to be had here, mastering the controls can be a frustrating experience; stance, and "racket" tilt and swing angle all influence the shot. Variation and inconsistency in these factors can easily flub your game. On the plus side, users can place the ball with great accuracy, and there's real skill and effort involved in playing well. Unfortunately, poor graphics and sometimes choppy visuals will prevent you from executing precision movement expected, and that's irritating. 

Still, the Virtua Tennis games have always had great variety of play, and this iteration is no exception. You'll find Exhibition and coaching modes, and a host of terrific training games in the World Tour mode; these include fun (and funny) diversions like "Meat Defender" in which you hit your ball at crocodiles to scare them away from hunks of beef. 

 

Online interaction: The game is playable online, although there is considerable lag so the experience is poor. No chat on the Wii version, but open chat is available through X360 version so kids could hear profanity.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the new WiiMotion controls have changed gameplay; did players feel they were more closely mirroring stance and stroke of actual tennis play?

  • What makes active gaming better (or not) than passive gaming? Did this game tire you out or was it too easy?

  • How good were the avatar tools? Did you build a tennis player you were satisfied with or that looked like you? Why did you choose the traits that you did?

Game details

For kids who love sports games

Our editors recommend

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