Beta Version Played
The game's graphics looked finished enough, and so crystal and detailed that you could see sweat dripping off the players as the match progressed. When a game went to deuce, I started to notice damp underarm stains on my player. As gross as it may be, this shows the attention to detail that Rockstar put into this game.
Enough for graphics.
I only got to play the game for about an hour in total, but it was enough to know how solid the game will be once it is released on May 23. It plays similar to Top Spin, except more focus is input onto watching your opponent return the ball to dictate what spin you need to put on the ball to counter and return it without popping it off the table, or up for your opponent to slam it back on you.
Not only do the X, B, Y, and A buttons put spin on the ball, you can use the right joystick for a more precise kind of spin, whereas instead of simply top, bottom or side, you can do bottom-left side spin, top-right side spin, so on and so forth.
One minute detail that had a major impact on me was the "warning" system. If you try to place a ball on the back corner and the computer senses that it will go out, your controller vibrates a quick warning and, if you're fast enough, you can correct the placement before the ball goes sailing off the table.
The controls are simple to learn, but difficult to master. You have to know what spin is coming at you or it could mean the loss of a point, i.e. if your opponent serves top spin and you try to return with a back spin, it will pop the ball up, inviting your opponent to blast you with a hard top spin shot.
Each character has their strengths and weaknesses, as well as style of play (pen hold, shake hand). Though the characters are modeled after real players, no names were actually used.
Licensed products do make an appearance in barriers and tables, which is a definite pro for the realism side of the game, which in itself is what this title is all about.
I not only played the game, but I watched as some of the top table tennis players in the entire nation played the game, and they had nothing but good things to say about it (even though they were speaking a different language, but the joy they experienced was visual, as they had to literally be pulled from the controllers).
Do not listen to all those ignorant enough to blast the game before they play it themselves. This title is addicting and well-made, and, in my opinion, is fully capable of sitting in the same collection as your other big-named sports titles.