GOONL!NE Review: EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis [and WiiMotionPlus]


Developer: EA Sports
Publisher: EA Sports
Also on: N/A: (Timed Wii Exclusive, coming to PS3 & 360)
Console Played on: Nintendo Wii
Release Date: Friday June 12th 2009
Age Rating: PEGI 3

Wii Sports has been, till now, the only place you can get a tennis game on the Wii. Truth be told, it’s probably the reason why I play Wii Sports when I can. But now come two tennis games to the Wii, EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis and SEGA’s Virtua Tennis 2009 (read our review of it soon), with GST being the first tennis game EA has done in little over 15 years. And the best thing about Grand Slam Tennis? It’s compatible with WiiMotionPlus, the brand accesory from Nintendo which finally add 1:1 motion sensing to the Wii, which should have been added to the console from the beginning.

Should you wish to, you can buy the game separately if you already got WMP with another game or on its own, or you can buy it together with the game. We have to say, WiiMotionPlus is great. But, the question, is Grand Slam Tennis worth purchasing for 4,000 pennies (as in £40)?

The game offers all 4 grand slams including the Australian, French and US Open’s as well as Wimbledon, also including 23 players split of 8 woman and 15 men, 12 playing today and 11 yesteryear legends, some of which include Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivonivic and the Williams sisters as well as Pete Sampras, Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edborg, Boris Becker, John Mc’Enroe, Lindsay Davenport, Justin Henin and Martina Navratilova. As well as them players, you can build your own player from the ground up and make him improve as you go through the game’s modes, patricuarly in Grand Slam mode or online.

As well as all 4 grand slams (in which you get a Grand Slam mode in the game which takes you through all 4 grand slams), you also get your standard doubles mode, but also get a Get Fit mode in which the game will keep track of how fit you get in the game (after matches, you can check how many calories you’ve lost) using all of the game modes, a party mode which sees the game have several party games and mini games, and online which works brilliantly. Best thing is that you don’t need a Wii friends code to play, although you will need a EA account to get the full features from online, but you can play online using a  guest account. We have to say online works absolutely brilliant, it just takes a couple of seconds to get into a game and your away with little to no lag. Finally, there is a training mode in Grand Slam Tennis, where you can practice your shots and serve, but once you spend some time in the training mode, it does tend to get very tedious, especially when compared to VT2009, all you get is just a ball machine compared to mini games and fully fledged training in VT.

If people go and buy the game, I strongly advise in getting the WMP bundle with the game, once you have WiiMotionPlus attached to your Wii remote, you’ll never take it off. Simply put, it’s a big improvement back to when we didn’t have it and just had to put up with the Wiimote’s inaccuracy in the Tennis with Wii Sports. I tried the game with and without WMP, in two matches involving Roger Federer and Andy Murray at Wimbledon (what the final could have been, hmm?) and the difference was resounding. With WiiMotionPlus, it felt the power of my shots and volleys as well as serves, it knew where I wanted to hit the shot. If I hit the ball out, there would be no correcting it as it would be my mistake, not the Wiimote’s. Without it, there was a considerable difference.

I could play the game without WMP but, basically put, it’d be like playing the Wii out of the box in Wii Sports. It wouldn’t be able to feel the strength of my shots or serve, nor would it be that precise. Any shot which I knew would most likely be in, the Wiimote would probably screw up my shot and the ball would go out. Moving is done by either the d+pad or the nunchuk, but I highly advise to use the nunchuk as while the game does move your player, depending on what kind of shot is done by the other player, it’s easier to get to the ball if it’s at another end of the court compared to you being on one side if you know what I mean.

WiiMotionPlus responds well to your actions within GST. Go to the net and perform a dropshot (done by pressing B and swinging the Wiimote) and you have a better chance of catching out your opponent. Do it from the baseline and your opponent will have a better chance of getting to it then he does if you come to the net, although you hit a lob (Press A and Wiimote) over him if he comes out towards the net and you, you may have a chance of catching him/her out there.  Like in real life tennis, it’s a cat & mouse thing, your opponent can send you going one way if he hits the ball the other (that much  is true if you use the nunchuk to move your player).

Graphics for Grand Slam Tennis are, well, good for what they are in a cartoonish type of way. It shows how family friendly the game is (to be fair though, Madworld this aint). The detail for the game is done well, animation is good and done right, the enviroments around them like the courts is nicely designed, realistic but also fun to look at the same time.

Final Thoughts: EA’s released two games with the launch of WiiMotionPlus in the UK, this and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10. Quite simply, this is a fantastic debut game for the little add-on, it brings out a side to the Wii that should have been available since it’s December 2006 launch. EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis is a welcome debut for WMP, once you buy it, you cant go back.

Gameplay: 9 – WiiMotionPlus was a big positive factor on it. Without it, this segment, and the overall score, would be 2 points less.

Plus a fantastic online for the game.

Graphics: 7 – Cartoonish and somewhat realistic at the same time, it’s alright. But it does look like we’re playing on a PS1 game sometimes due to it though.

Sound: 6 – A Pat Cash commentary, the empire and the realistic grunts of players like Nadal, Sharapova and the Williams sisters is all good, but sub par music take a point off.

Overall: 8 – How much of a difference would the game have made without WMP? A lot, but for the wrong reasons, and for that we would had to have taken a couple of points off the final score. However that doesn’t need to be done as WMP and Grand Slam Tennis work well together in unison.

Without WMP, take two points off the overall score. However, we suggest getting the bundle as EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis shows that WiiMotionPlus works, and for the better as far as we’re concerned. This is what the Wii should be like from now on.