When 2K sports released Topspin 3 in 2008 it aimed to create a unique experience that strivedto deliver a much more realistic approach to Tennis than the arcade style of the Virtua Tennis series. The game however had a very steep learning curve that took the fun away from beingable jump in directly into the action. This made it very hard to enjoy the game immediately with someone who just picked up the controller to play for the first time. In addition the career modewasn’t as extensive as necessary to convey a deep entertaining experience. Topspin 4 on the other hand fixes nearly every problem that Topspin 3 suffered from. There is no doubt in sayingthat Topspin 4 is the best Topspin game yet and definitely one of the best tennis games ever made.
Topspin 4 has a much better learning curve and accessibility than the previous entry in the series. The game has a well made tutorial that teaches you how to use the basic controls as well as more advanced tricks. The gameplay of Topspin 4 comes out as having the perfect combination of depth and accessibility. The game has a more realistic approach to Tennis and hence timing, direction, and types of shots used matter to a large extent. It may take a couple of minutes and a few tries to understand the game’s feel, but once you do the satisfaction from playing a Tennis game has never been better. Each type of shot (Topspin, Flat, Lob, Slice) is in fact effective and useful to use in the correct situation. Finally we have a game in which lobs actually work when your opponent is near the net. In addition there are 2 ways of execution when trying to hit the ball. For each of those types of shots you can either hit it with more control or power depending on where you exactly want the ball to go and whether you need power or control over the shot at that specific situation. For example in a situation where you want to hit a slice shot, you might prefer to have more control over where the ball goes and thus go for a control slice shot. The game also enables more advanced concepts such as advanced serving, inside in and inside out shots, as well as drop shots. It’s safe to say that 2K Sports nailed how playing a Tennis game is supposed to feel.
The main attraction of Topspin 4 is the career mode. 2K Sports went ahead and created a lengthy and engaging career mode that really outdoes what any previous Tennis game was able to accomplish. You create your own character using a fairly detailed character creation system, and then start from scratch to earn your way up to the top ranks of the Tennis world. The game is designed in several stages documenting the rise of your character from rookie to Legend. This is done by each of these stages having certain objectives you need to accomplish such as beating 2 Minor tournaments or having more than 2,000 fans in the game. This objective based system provides a straightforward road map to how you are supposed to advance in the game and is a blessing to anyone new to the series. Your character improves by gaining experience and thus leveling up which gives him attribute points that you can allocate to your liking. Topspin 4 also ensures that you DO NOT face any top players at the beginning of your journey. The game tries to build up to that point in order to really reward the player for coming up in rankings to reach a certain point where he/she can have the privilege to play the top dogs. The wait might be frustrating to some but its definitely rewarding once you actually reach there.
There are also several modes packed in: the usual exhibition mode where you can play against the CPU or a friend, a sort of king of the hill mode where you play against several players and the winner stays while the loser is replaced, and online multiplayer mode. The King of the hill mode is a unique and fun addition to play with friends and the online multiplayer is pretty extensive and will keep you busy once you are done with the main career mode.
Topspin 4 really shines out from all of the previous entries in the game. The game provides a great mixture of modes and an astounding well-built gameplay system. Topspin 4 definitely captures what countless amounts of previous Tennis games were never able to touch “an entertaining realistic Tennis experience”.