Personal Rating: "Grab it during a sale"
Traditional Rating: 6/10
Genre: Sport Simulation
Sega lets you deck it out on the world's tennis court circuit with some of the biggest names in the sport. Starting as a complete newbie it's up to the player to rise the ranks of the top tennis player listings and go for all four big grand-slam wins to become tennis champion of the world.
I was a little disappointed that you could not select any of the world's top tennis players as your character but given the context of the actual game the idea is that you rise the ranks not start immediately at pole position. Virtua Tennis 4 employs a board game style grid complete with dice rolls. Often you will find you don't have a particular roll (or ticket as its referred to in game) so you will miss some of the more interesting squares on the board. Whilst I realize this was trying to add an element of strategy to the game it really doesn't work in a tennis simulator. After I had gone around the board a few times (represented in years) I was honestly fed up with the game mechanics.
I did, however, really enjoy the myriad of mini-games on display that are designed to increase your skill level and incrementing in levels each time you get enough training points, these mini-games get incredibly challenging the higher the level you go.
I didn't find any of the big name stars on-board very challenging with most having a play pattern that is easily recognizable which lead me to eventually winning all four grand-slams repeatedly. The game does have multiplayer but you are forced to work your way through the dreadful Games for Window Live in order to hook up with some other real life players and of the players I did match up with it was very clear some of them were hacking and cheating with their tennis chars zooming around the court like a superhero. I just don't understand this logic - are you really that hopeless a gamer that you need to cheat against other players?
Virtua Tennis 4 graphics are not bad but they are not particularly good either and some of the animations are very stiff. The audio is what you would expect from a tennis game with the crowd cheering during all the climaxes. I wouldn't pay full price for this as its certainly not the best tennis simulator to grace the PC. The mini-games are incredibly fun though and should you wish to pick up this title I would recommend you pick it up when it goes on sale.
***Note*** Virtua Tennis 4 uses GFWL and since that is being decommissioned in July the online-matchmaking will cease to exist. As far as I know this is one of those titles that is not getting GFWL removed so if you are looking at getting this to play online with people you may have to look elsewhere for that.