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.