Rockstar Games presents Table Tennis

By on May 24, 2006

Fast, fun, intense and demanding.


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First Impressions
My reaction is

Rockstar presents Table Tennis is an intense one-on-one game of Ping Pong. Don’t be fooled by the idea “Who can’t play Pong? Pong’s easy as hell!” as Table Tennis is more complex than even the latest Tennis games like Top Spin 2. Add that with super-fast gameplay, and you’ve got a winning combination.

One point must be clear to you, though. RPTT offers very little variety in its gameplay. There are no doubles, which could have been the most fun aspect of the game, had it been developed, and no career mode. Also, the number of players is quite less, although all of the present characters are very diverse and have their own specialties.

The controls in RPTT is easy to learn, but quite difficult to master, just like the real game. There are 4 basic types of spins in the game: Topspin when you press the A button, backspin when you press the Y button, rightspin and leftspin, when you press the B button and X button respectively. You can also move the Right Stick down, up, right or left, but this is much more difficult. Apart from this you can combine two types of spins, like a topspin and a rightspin, for a rightspin that moves fast, like a topspin. This requires you to press two buttons at a time, and is recommended only for the more advanced players of the game. There are also soft shots, or drop shots, which place the ball close to the net. These are really useful when your opponent moves back, or is far away from the table. You can also charge up your spin shots for more spin, but holding them for too long will result in a slow, ordinary shot, which is easy to return. Thus timing is everything in Table Tennis.

The Left Stick is used to move your player and once you have got him/her into position, you can charge up your spin, and then move the Left Stick anywhere to place the ball. But the intuitive part of the controls in RPTT is the force feedback control. As you place the ball to any side of the table, the controller will vibrate a bit. If you are trying to place it too much, and there is a risk that the ball might go out, the controller will vibrate a lot, and you should immediately try and move the Left Stick to the other direction. This is the first time it has been implemented in a sports game, and should be used for tennis titles too. Reality is a must in games nowadays, (hear that Tony Hawk?) and I love the reality of RPTT. It might be easy to learn, but difficult to master, since it is a fast-paced game.

But the place where this game stands out, is the extremely fun multiplayer mode. The camera is positioned just perfect, and the game isn’t time-consuming, fast and overall, very exciting. There isn’t anything better, for me to defeat my brother 11-0, using Jesper. A major thing lacking, though, is Doubles. I know you’re shocked, as it is absurd not to have doubles, when singles itself is fun to play.
P.S. the game is a tad unbalanced, as Jesper can beat anybody, very easily.

The graphics help the game in a huge way. The sweat effects are cool, and you can see the shirt clinging to the body of your player. The players animations are done very well, and each player’s animations are different from each other, due to their contrasting styles. For example Kumi, a defensive player, uses small, quick strokes. Jesper, the aggressive German player, on the other hand, uses huge strokes that sweep across the table. The player’s emotions are also shown well. However, it couldn’t have hurt if Rockstar made the environment better, as you can’t see beyond the barricade. So no spectators, no stands. In a way, it’s a good thing, as you wouldn’t be able to focus on the ball so easily.

The audio in RPTT is good. The background music is cheesy and doesn’t help the game. However, the player’s sounds, and the smack of the ball hitting the sweet spot of the paddle, are great. The crowd sounds are nice, but are nothing really great.

You don’t need to know Pong to play table-tennis, it’s accessible, exciting and fast-paced. Except for the fact that it doesn’t have doubles, it is a great game

The Scorecard
Fun, fast-paced, and exciting. Lack of doubles a big let-down.
Great-looking character models, emote well, animations very well done.
Cheesy music, but good player and ball sounds, crowd sounds are OK.
Multiplayer is a blast, online or offline, mostly well-balanced players and lots of achievements will make you want to play this game again, However, it’s a budget game, and is only 20$ in the US. How is it’s price the same as other games here?
Jesper is too damn strong!
Fast-paced, exciting game. A must-buy if you like sports.


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