Just to emphasize again, this not a review of Virtua Tennis 3 for the Sony Playstation 3. This is a review of the PSP version. I read the gamespot review of VT3 and noticed they got lazy and just copied the PS3 review of VT3 to the PSP review. So I decided to give you a more detailed review of the game from the perspective of a gamer who actually played the PS3 and PSP version. In my opinion, I think this is very important because the PSP version, while the gameplay and interface are similar, there are still a lot of differences with this version that should be noted.
I also pulled out the older “Virtua Tennis World Tour” game, which is the first Virtua Tennis game for the PSP. I played it again so I can give you an idea what the differences are between the older game and this newer one. I took a few screenshots of the games also to help you visually see if there are any differences between the games.
VT World Tour gives you 16 players to choose from. VT3 gives you 20 players to choose from. (Players like Raphael Nadal, Gael Monfils, Mario Ancic and James Blake are now included.) Both games have the popular Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova as they rightfully should. The core interface and gameplay have remained intact so you will not see any drastic changes to that. For example, the World tour, exhibition mode, mini-games, and tournament mode are still found in VT3 just like in all other previous versions of Virtua Tennis.
They only made some changes to the mini-games and to the world tour by adding new games to play. For example in VT World Tour, there was this “capture the red flags” mini-game to practice your footwork. In VT3, they exchanged it for a game called “Avalance” which is basically a game where giant tennis balls roll from the top of the screen towards your player and it’s your job to avoid them while getting smaller fruits that are also rolling from the top of the screen. VT3 also brought back the bowling mini-game, which is supposed to test your serve power and accuracy by serving the ball into a rack of bowling pins. Scoring is done exactly like in real bowling. World Tour has this mini-game, but in VT3, they added a second bowling mini-game which places different pin racks at various locations and the pin rack shape is at times, very different to challenge the accuracy of the player’s serve. Good stuff!
So yes, the gameplay is still identical which leaves you with the question if it’s worth it to buy this game when you already own VT World Tour. I eyeballed both games closely to look for any differences and graphically, I can see that they put more attention to detail in VT3 when it comes to background scenery. As my screenshot of the bowling mini-game can show you, the VT3 picture of the mini-game looks graphically “busy”, which means the background scenery is not as sparse or bland. The player characters still look almost the same, but the scenery, game interface and even the sound has more content.
Another difference is in player control. I noticed was how easy it is to make drop shots in this game. In the PS3 version, I was unable to pull out a single drop shot, but in the PSP version, I could do it almost every time! VT World Tour had a similar easy to implement control, so this could be just the PSP control design that made this possible. Lob shots are still easy to do in this game, but it still needs very careful placement, otherwise it will be too easy for the computer to smash it back at you for an easy point.
Graphically, do not expect this PSP version to rival that of the PS3 version. It doesn’t even come close when comparing this to the PS3 version utilizing HDMI or component cables. PSP graphics can never match the high-definition graphics horsepower found on the PS3 system! I’m not saying the PSP version is ugly; it’s slightly better looking than the older VT World Tour version but it won’t wow you.
Another thing I noted why this game is slightly better than VT World Tour is with load times. Load time between matches is still almost the same 25-35 seconds (which is a bit long), but there are other times when there is no load time for the VT3 version. For example, it was frustrating to go through the player editor mode in VT World Tour because whenever you had to set the player options like a different hair, head, shirt, pants, or play style you will have to wait 3-6 seconds between every different type! This was very frustrating for me. But in VT3, I noticed they eliminated the load time completely when creating a player, so that’s a huge plus. Load time is still a bit long between matches but at least they improved the load times in some areas.
Is the game still fun? YES.
Is the gameplay addicting? YES.
Does this game replace VT World Tour? Maybe….
Does it justify paying $29.99 – 39.99 for it when you have VT World Tour already? I don’t think so.
I would personally wait until this game drops to $19.99 before I would even consider buying it.