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Grand Slam Tennis

Score: 76%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Sports
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Sports (Tennis)

Graphics & Sound:

Grand Slam Tennis gives you good graphics in comparison with your average Wii sports title. True, the people in the background are flat cardboard cutouts and the 3D line men don't flinch even for the strongest ball to the crotch. The courts are varied, with clay courts at the French Open, hard courts at the US Open, and grass courts at Wimbledon. Your character is customizable, but it's mostly stiff helmet hair and simple clothing. However, when the game is going and you get a good rally going, it's hard to notice the shortcomings.

The music, however, is based off of some kind of proto-root form for sports game music. Most of it is the same pop-techno style music that rings in my ears from so many sports and party games from the Wii. But the music doesn't matter much as it's mostly present in the menus and not the matches. At least the sound effects such as squeaks from tennis shoes and the typical tennis yell that goes with a powerful serve do sound realistic. They're a bit random as well, so your matches don't sound like a long string of grunts and squeaks. The announcer is also unobtrusive and fits right in with a realistic tennis match, though he doesn't have a long list of varied lines to say. The instruction manual tells you that EA soundtracks and ringtones from Grand Slam Tennis may be available for sale on their website. Proving that there is some sort of order to the world, at this time nothing from this game is available for resale.


Grand Slam Tennis offers a number of tennis celebrities such as Roger Federer and Venus Williams and a variety of gameplay modes to keep things interesting. The first thing you'll want to do is customize a character. You get 4 basic types to choose from such as offensive baseliner or all court. Each type has various stats that will give you varying speed and strength. During the main Grand Slam mode of play, you'll also be able to earn extra abilities from the tennis stars that you meet such as improved speed, forehand shots, volley power, etc. Oh yeah, you can also earn different color clothing, though why something like the color yellow is so great that you have to earn it is beyond me.

Outside of the Grand Slam mode (which is only single player), there are a number of multiplayer options. You can have up to 4 players join you in a tennis party. You can play a number of different types of games that don't have traditional tennis rules. In King of the Court, players become the "king" by defeating the current king. Then as the king, you can score points. Drop and Lob is another game where extra points are awarded when a drop or lob shot is used.

You can also easily and quickly get online to play a match, but unless you sign up for an account with EA, you can't play a ranked match. Another nice option is the ability to set fitness goals. It's questionable as to how accurate it is, but the game will record how many calories you burn while playing. A calendar will show you how far along you are in reaching your calorie burn goal. You earn awards for meeting those goals and doing other things while trying to meet them. It's all possibly a good way to motivate a person to actually move around and get a bit of an aerobic workout, but like the Wii Fit, it will only work if you put your whole body into it and stick with it.


Grand Slam Tennis can be a little unforgiving at times. Difficulty with the controls aside, opponents rarely trip up even on Easy difficulty. If you add the Nunchuk to play and control your character's movement manually, you have to be on your toes at all times. Add in the control frustration and you get most of the difficulty level here. With or without the MotionPlus, Grand Slam Tennis seems to give you the feeling that you're getting it, and you're getting better and then it suddenly takes it all away with a swing that didn't respond or a wild ball that goes way out. You won't be able to find a Wii Sports tennis experience here.

Game Mechanics:

Grand Slam Tennis doesn't make you do backflips with its controls and that's a relief. There are only a couple of moves that require an additional button press along with a swing of the Wii-mote. Everything else in the game relies on solid swings and timing. Alas, if you were expecting MotionPlus to give you a true tennis experience here, you may be disappointed.

It all boils down to what MotionPlus does for you in this game. With the peripheral attached, there is a slight improvement in ball placement. In fact, this is the one area of the game that seems to be designed to show off the MotionPlus. Even with MotionPlus, it's not as if you can truly place the ball where you want to - the ball may land on the correct half of the court, but it's very difficult to get any more than that. Performing moves like topspins or slices seems to be slightly more precise. But the enhancement in either area is very subtle. It's almost as if you have to remind yourself that its there.

It's hard to come back and say this is a great tennis experience, but Grand Slam Tennis does at least have enough features to make it enjoyable to a lot of audiences. It's no showcase for the MotionPlus, but it is at least a good multiplayer experience.

-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

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