Top Spin was released for xbox in fall 2003, and has been a huge hit since hitting the xbox platform. Everything about this game is done to perfection. Gameplay, graphics, Sound, and career mode could all be considered highlights of Top Spin. So let’s just get started
Gameplay: from the second you pick up the controler, it is easy to see that Top Spin is an easy and addictive game. Most people are comfortable with the button/shot selection within 10 minutes of playing. You have the option of hitting any shot including lobs, overheads, flat, slice, and of course top spin. Using the top “trigger” buttons, you have the option of throwing in a drop shot with the left tigger, or use the right tigger to hit a risk shot. The risk shot is the hardest shot to make in Top Spin, but it is made easier with the help of ITZ, or “in the zone” technology.
The ITZ meter shows your momentum in the match, if you’re playing well, the ITZ meter will be full, and the risk shot will be easier than if your meter were empty. After the points are over, you can chose to hit the white or black buttons to evoke emotions from your players. Tennis can be a very mental game, so let your frustration go by hitting the white button, or celebrate that great shot with a tap on the black button. Another positive about Top Spin’s gameplay is the court variety. In real tennis, all surfaces play differently, and the same can be said about the video game. In this game, clay is slower and grass at England’s championships faster, making this game feel very real.
Graphics: The cosmetics in Top Spin are simply awesome. All the big named players are well represented in body and face, not to mention movement which is spot on. All characters in this game move exactly as they do on the tennis court in real life. Even the fans in this game are well thought out. Unlike other games where people in the stands are flat and lifeless, Top Spin’s audiance is very lifelike. One fun part of this video game is the instant replays. Just like in tennis on TV, you get to see replays of your best shots, right after you hit them.
Audio: the sounds that come from XBOX’s Top Spin are top notch. The ball to string clack are dead on for each shot, the feet scraping and squeeking on the different surfaces, and the grunts from the players, along with the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound make you feel like your in the middle of a real life tennis match. The noises from the stands are also well thought out. The clapping, whistleing
Career Mode: Playing modes range from single player against a computer, to multiplayer, to a custom tournament. But my favorite, and probably the most entertaining game mode in Top Spin is the career mode. You start by creating a player, which could have been a video game all in itself. With such a wide variety of skin colors, hair styles, facial features and weight ranges, you can make a player look however you want to. Next you choose if you want your player to be a “natural”, power-player, well rounded, or defensive player.
Then the real fun begins. You can travel the world and work hard to move up in the tennis world. You are faced with tons of options, do you want to go out and get a sponsor? Or would you rather travel to the other side of the world and work on your serve? It’s up to you. You can train to earn stars for your forehand, backhand, serve, and volley, or you can play low level tournaments to gain ranking points. Another option is to go out and get a sponsor to get money, which you’ll need for training. Finally, you can forget tennis and go shopping for clothes, new hairstyles, and, oh yeah, tennis racquets.
Overall, this video game is exceptional, and one of my favorites of all time. I highly reccomend Top Spin to anyone who wants to play a fun and engaging sports video game outside of the Madden title.