PS2 REVIEW: TOP SPIN

Okay kids, grab your balls and racket because it's time for some.....tennis? What? You expected a dirty joke, didn't you?

If you didn't know already, Top Spin was first released in 2003 for the Xbox and was one of the best games for the system. Will Top Spin be as good for the PS2 as it was for the Xbox? I wouldn't get your hopes up.

Most of the game modes Top Spin has to offer are fairly simple. There is Exhibition mode, Custom Tournament mode, Tennis School mode, and Career mode.

If you're like me and have never played a tennis game before, then you're in luck because there is a Tennis School feature. It's not interactive, but it does teach you what buttons you will be using for certain shots. Okay, so there are 5 different types of shots you have: A "slice" shot allows you to hit the ball low and slow; a "topspin" shot allows you to perform shots from across the court and also pushes back your opponent; a "drop" shot allows you to hit the ball very short and slow just over the net; and a "risk" shot is pretty much a power shot. Another thing is serving. Serving is really simple; you push X, wait for the little bar to fill up, then push X again. So overall, the controls are fairly easy to learn and handle.

Exhibition mode is perfect if you want to practice and improve your tennis skills or if you want to challenge your friend to a tennis match. But before you go out on the court you first have to decide some things. Will this be a men's or women's match? Single's or double's match? How many sets per match? What player will you choose? Now if only they could've added Anna Kournikova to the game....

Custom tournament mode is what it is; it's a customizable tournament. You pick whether it's going to be a men' match or a women's match, single's or double's match, etc. You get the picture there. You will also get to pick who else will be in the four person tournament. So depending on if you're playing alone or with a friend, then you will be able to pick all the players or only a couple.

Career mode was surprisingly customizable as well. Before you begin your career, you must decide whether you will be playing as a woman or a man. Then you pick a DNA sample which is used to determine your skin tone. From there you are able to customize your player even more. You can sculpt your head and body to make it skinny or fat or both. You can also change your hair style and change your clothes. And guess what? If you have an Eye Toy camera you can put your face on your player. So guys, if you ever wanted to see how you would look like with a tank top and a skirt without having to actually wear them, here's your chance.

Graphics wise, well....let's just say that the Xbox version beats the PS2 version by a long shot (pun intended). The characters look alright, but I honestly think they could've done better.

As for the sounds, I was expecting more from the crowd, but then realized that this is a tennis game. When someone scores, the crowd cheers. When you hit the ball, you grunt. If someone knocks it out of bounds, a woman yells, "OUT!" The only music you will hear is in the main menu as there is no music during a tennis match. I really do think they did a pretty good job portraying what tennis really is: it's really quiet. Plain and simple.

We've all seen how a sport game can either be realistic or unimaginably ridiculous. Hot Shots Golf and Tiger Woods PGA Tour are examples of this. One has short, crazy haired golf players and the other is extremely detailed and realistic. So depending on what you like in a sports game, then you will either like Top Spin or you won't. Fiction or non-fiction? Which do you like better?

System: PS2, X
Dev: Power & Magic
Pub: 2K Games
Release: Oct 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Review by Luis
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.0
GRAPHICS
3.0
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
3.5
VALUE
3.5