Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Everybody's Tennis: PlayStation 2 Tuesdays #2

Clap Hanz has a long history of developing fun, accessible golf games with their Everybody's Golf series (aka Hot Shots Golf in the US).  They date back to the original PlayStation, and the franchise is still going strong today with the latest release on the Vita.  Back in 2007, they decided they would also take a stab at the tennis genre.  For whatever reason, this never caught on and the PS2 version of Everybody's Tennis (along wth a slightly updated PSP port) remains the only one so far.  This a bit of a shame, because while it's not the deepest tennis game out there, it certainly is a whole long of fun and offers a decent amount of gameplay. I remember picking this game up a few years ago when I saw a copy in my local supermarket.  I had no idea it existed before seeing in there on the shelf, but I decided to buy it based on the strength of the golf franchise.

The structure of the single player mode sees you starting off in the novice league, with four courts and two characters unlocked. You are told that you will advance to the amateur class once you've won four matches, and each of these matches also unlock other items along the way.  These could be courts, characters, clothing or different umpires. The courts in Everybody's Tennis are all very nicely designed, being full of colour and rich in little details like trains passing by in the background or a rogue football bouncing across the court in Sakuragoaka Park.   All the different court surfaces such as grass, clay, hard and wood are all represented in the game.

Sound is a either OK or awful depending on your tolerance for whimsical music and bad voice overs.  It does suit the nature of the game but I can see how it would definitely start to grate on the nerves of some before too long. This biggest problem is probably the umpires.  These are of various nationalities but the poor acting makes them sound like bad racial stereotypes and could be potentially offensive, which is definitely not the intent!

Get past this though and you do have a solid and responsive tennis game, thankfully. As I said before it's not the deepest on the market - if you want that I recommend Sega's Virtua Tennis series for the World Tour mode.  What is on offer here is a lot of fun though and the PS2 version can be found easily for just a few quid (the PSP goes for considerably more) so I would say give it a go if you enjoy tennis games.  Oh, and besides the aforementioned single player mode there are also training and multiplayer options, with the game supporting the Multi Tap for four player fun.   Hopefully Clap Hanz and Sony will decide to revisit the franchise again (maybe on the Vita?) - it deserves another shot.

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