Get ready for some Murray Mania

Get ready for some Murray Mania

This is the first of my Hour With posts, which rather predictably cover an hour I’ve spent with a recently released game. This is rather a good idea of mine as I buy lots of games and play about an hour and then place them into my backlog queue.

EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis is the first opportunity most people will have to get to grips with Wii Motion Plus. This is Nintendo’s new controller add-on, which promises to revolutionise how we use our Wiis by providing the 1 to 1 motion sensitivity that we perhaps thought we were getting at launch.

The first job when I got my bundle home was to fit the extra bit of plastic into the bottom of the Wii remote. You get a new jelly grip that fits round both remote and dongle, but as I’ve never used the original, this went in the bottom of a draw. Once fitted the Wii remote’s balance felt a little upset but I was ready.

Grand Slam Tennis is EA’s first tennis game and the first to feature Wimbledon, together with the other Grand Slam tournaments. It also features a practice mode, local and on-line multi-player, single matches as well as a calorie burning mini game.

Graphically the game looks very nice with a soft filtered animated style to the court and players. Pat Cash provides sparing commentary which suits the relaxed presentation style. You can play as many of your tennis favourites from today and yesteryear, including my favourite, John MacEnroe. I’m not sure if this is unique to John, but every now and again the Wii Remote’s speaker screams, “you cannot be serious!”. I laughed out loud the first time it did that.

So far I have played practice and single matches and despite wanting to love the game, I am really not getting it. My serves have all the pace of a shuttlecock and returning is very hit and miss. There are two control options: either you can let the AI control your characters position on court or you can plug in a Nunchuck and take control yourself. Automatic control seemed to leave me stranded too often, with my character deciding to make a last minute move so that my back hand should have been a forehand. Even with manual controls I am still having a nightmare – too often, I swing my controller only to watch my player just stand there. I’m not even sure that Wii Motion Plus is even working as racket movement seems anything but 1 to 1.

So, after an hour or so, I am tempted to take the Wii Motion Plus off the controller in an attempt to enjoy what on first appearances seems a very nice game of tennis. If any of you have bought this, let me know how you’ve got on, as perhaps I’m just a bit “two left hands” when it comes to Tennis.

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