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Top Spin 3 Review

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What the deuce?

★★★★★

After nine years, three arcade machines and two generations of home consoles, Virtua Tennis is still the undisputed king of the courts, offering gloriously addictive racquet action with a generous dose of arcade fun. But while the latest Top Spin comes close to delivering deep and authentic digital tennis, it's still a long way from toppling Sega's masterpiece.

Like other tennis sims that have tried to offer a realistic interpretation of the sport, the main problem with TS3 is that it's just too damn complicated; returning a winning shot requires gamers to take into account their player's stance, tiredness and mental state - as well as perfectly timing each and every swing - a mentally draining routine that offers a convincing game of tennis, but can take many painful hours to master and strips most of the enjoyment from working your way through the world rankings.

A lack of minigames to add variety to the action - and a jarring soundtrack featuring offensive pop pap such as Franz Ferdinand and Jamiroquai - also makes TS3 a simulation for only the most forgiving tennis fan, and a game you'll just about have got to grips with by the time next year's Wimbledon tournament swings in.

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