Rockstar Games Table Tennis
- Swinging the Wii Remote around to play table tennis is an obvious choice...
- ...but the realism isn't there, and a ton of modes are missing as well.
Table Tennis is more a novelty with the Wii Remote adding some interest to the game, but the 360 version had online multiplayer and achievements to keep you going. However, for many, it won't be enough to justify anything more than a weekend rental.
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We were all pretty shocked when Rockstar, the controversial creators of GTA and Manhunt, released the shockingly mild mannered -- yet decent -- Table Tennis on the Xbox 360 a while back. But there's nothing shocking about their decision to port the game onto the Wii, as the system's motion sensing controls make it a no-brainer.
Thanks to the simplicity of Wii Tennis and the dismal rendition of table tennis found in Wii Play, my hopes for a decent game of ping-pong were low. The Wii version of Table Tennis stays pretty much identical to the 360 version, with the main difference being the Wii Remote's motion sensing control scheme and a few glaring omissions that really trip this port up.
For the love of the game
But first, let's talk about the Wii controls, which are actually quite detailed and give you a lot of ways to control your character and the ball. Depending on which direction you swing your Wii Remote (diagonally upwards or downwards to either side), you can aim what corner of the table you want the ball to land, and further affect spin by holding onto any direction on the D-pad. In addition, drop shots, smashes and a focus meter add on plenty of strategies and ways to manipulate the ball.
Rockstar also added two extra control options employing the Nunchuk to give you even more obsessive control over your ball. Sharp Shooter mode allows you to control the spin on your ball even more directly with the Nunchck's analogue-stick and the Control Freak option allows you to control your player's movement. It can seem like a lot to handle all at once, but it's easy to grasp once you actually give it a shot, and before you know it, you'll be bashing sharp shots across the table and engaging in 100-hit rally.
Despite the fantastical rallies, Table Tennis mirrors the real sport in a believable way as the first few shots start off slow and boring but after a few returns and powerful shots, the tension will ratchet up dramatically as the music kicks in, heightening the natural pressure that builds as long rallies extend into marathons. The sound in the game is well placed, as the crowd will cheer for each player and there are nice little touches like obnoxious mobile phones that go off in the background.
We've got a mixed opinion on Rockstar's decision to not make the character's movement match your own physical gestures exactly. If your swing is drastically early, chances are you'll still connect with the ball, which negatively affects the realism inherent in this game. On the other hand, it does even the playing field for those of us who are hopelessly uncoordinated.
Unfortunately, and our initial enthusiasm for the game quickly waned and was snuffed out as we realised that there wasn't much content to the game as it is limited to just two modes: Tournament and Exhibition. Both are strictly one-on-one competitive play with no doubles action. Though unlockable characters and uniforms are supposed to keep you playing, with the mediocre Wii graphics, it's not much of a motivator, especially when you consider that the 360 version had online multiplayer and achievements to keep you going. The novelty of the Wii Remote may be enough for some, but for many, it won't be enough to justify anything more than a weekend rental.
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