Top Spin 2

By on April 1, 2006

In a whole, Top Spin 2 is a fun, accessible game.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

Top Spin 2 is a tennis game from Indie Bull developments. While this isn’t a smashing hit (excuse the pun), it manages to do a good job of emulating a once rich man’s sport, tennis.

There are 3 types of shots you can choose from while playing Top Spin 2, they are- the soft shot or the safe shot, which will not go out of bounds, nor will it hit the net, but you can’t aim very well with it, the top spin- the main shot you will be playing. It’s fast and you can aim quite well with it, however there is a risk of the ball hitting the net, or going out, the lob- which is a high shot, and though is very useful in real life, it is quite worthless here, and the slice shot, which is a slow, cut shot which spins and turns a lot. It’s great for slowing the pace of the game.

There are 3 types of gameplay modes in Top Spin 2- the Exhibition mode, Career mode, and Party Play. While the Exhibition mode is nothing new, the career mode is an in-depth, from-rags-to-riches-in-tennis type of gameplay. It has more than 4 seasons for you to go through. It is good, but has a lot of untapped potential. It does get quite repetitive after sometime, and is quite boring, if you are playing on Easy difficulty. This is mainly because of the weak A.I. Every player, from #200 to #1, has got 2 styles of gameplay: Serve and volley, or baseline attack. They don’t even mix up the two a bit. If you play about 10 matches in career play, odds are that you won’t lose any match for a long time. Even the top ten players use the same tactics, the only difference is that they are faster, and use risk shots more. There are a few special matches that you can play in career mode, like playing against your rival (he hates you, because you won against him, and won’t change his view that you are worse than him, even once you are #1!) in a million-dollar bet.

These games are nice to play, but all in all they are no different from the standard games you play on a pro level. Also, the dates of these special events have to coincide with something much more important, like the Grand Slam, or the Masters finals. You do earn “coin” for every tournament you win, but you win a LOT, and there isn’t much use for it. The maximum you can do with it is buy new attire, racquets, get a new hairstyle, or hire a new coach. Speaking of coaches, you can train your player, and that aspect is really quite deep. There are about 63 career stars you can earn by training under your coach. Training is done in the form of tests, and if you beat those tests, you will get more career stars. These career stars increase your abilities. The training exercises are hard, but a lot of fun to play, and believe me, they will make you a better player in Top Spin 2. There are 3 types of career stars you can get- Bronze stars which you get from training, silver stars which you get from winning regional tournaments, and gold stars which you get for winning the Masters or the Grand Slam.

Party Play is the last type of gameplay mode, and it is self-explanatory. You play weird tennis games that look as if they were stolen out of a Wario game, they’re that goofy. However, they are all quite fun to play, and they do hone your tennis skills.

Graphics-wise, Top Spin 2 looks great. It has some of the best graphics for sports games, though it does not take full advantage of the Xbox 360’s hardware. The colors look a bit washed-out and there are only 2 camera modes which are not too great either. However, the character models are extremely detailed and the player animations look very realistic.  The courts look very good, and the particle effects raised when your player skids around a clay court, look great.

The game has neither a good soundtrack, nor does it have many. The cheesy background music of some unknown singer singing “Yeahhhh” makes you laugh, it’s sung so bad. Thankfully, there is no background music when you are playing. On the other hand, the player’s grunts sound very realistic, and so does the sound of the ball hitting the racquet. In fact, you can make out which type of shot the opponent has played, by just listening to the sound. The crowd sounds are almost non-existent, except when you won the match, when they awake from their slumber.

All-in-all, Top Spin 2 is a fun, accessible game, with a great multiplayer mode, and deep career play.


The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
7.5
Party play is fun, career mode is deep, but A.I is weak.
GRAPHICS
8
Great player models, animation, particle effects, but only 2 camera modes, colours a bit washed-out at places.
SOUND
7
Cheesy soundtrack that loses your interest in half-a-second. Great player sounds, but non-existent crowd.
VALUE
8.5
Great multiplayer, and nice party play give this game a good replay-value.
FUN FACTOR
8
What can I say? They’ve got Maria Sharapova on their cover! And she looks great in the game, by the way.
OVERALL
7.8
A great game for all of us, but would have been much better if it was tweaked in a few places.

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