Sunday, November 4, 2007

Review: "Table Tennis" serves up fun on the Wii

If you love "Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis" on the Xbox 360, you haven't slammed a Ping Pong ball until you've played the Wii version.

Rockstar's newest offering, "Table Tennis," for the Wii is really good port of the previously exclusive 360 game. For the Wii version, R* decided to tinker with the control mechanics and incorporate the Wii remote scheme. Sweet job, R*.

The game, which was wildly popular on the 360, is relatively unchanged for the Wii version, except for the control scheme and of course, the graphics. Still, to its core, it's still the same game, and really feels at home on the Wii.

"Table Tennis" definitely takes advantage of the motion sensing of the Wii Remote, allowing gamers much greater control over their shots.

The game has three different control schemes - Standard, Control Freak and Sharp Shooter. There should be a fourth, IMHO - N00B. More on this later ...

By far, the controls are one of the brightest spots in the game. Just imagine "Wii Sports - Tennis" with some wicked shots served your way. Got that picture? Let's advance.

The tight controls and speed make the game feel much more real than on the 360. The AI is definitely up for the challenge, even on easy mode.

There's an in-game training mode, tournament and exhibition mode. The training mode is good because n00bs are playing against no one. Sweet! You won't get own3d too much. Exhibition is great for beginners to get a feel of the game, especially if you haven't played the 360 version. Tournament is rather intense. You can choose any of the 11 players to use in the game, each with unique styles of play. I took Liu Ping, a superstar from China in the exhibition. He did make a comeback late, but pretty much got mistreated by Jesper from Sweden. So, I swapped players, re-entered the tourney with Jesper. And this time, Liu Ping was bringing the pain. I can't win for losing.

The game features several real-world sponsors, including Adidas, Butterfly and Killerspin. As you progress, you can unlock clothing and items to use in your games.

The good thing about the game is how a color trail follows the ball. You can tell if the ball is red, it's a soft shot. If it's green, it's very fast. You will need to get command of placing shots and returning them to be successful. Trust me - the AI brings the rain.

The graphics are really good, considering the 360 graphics are very good. R* did an excellent job recreating the graphics. While it's not perfect, it's still a very good translation.

The soundtrack is very diverse and the oohs and aahs from the crowd don't seem static.

The only real gripe I have with the game is the Wii Remote. Maybe it was just me, but a few times, the Wii Remote didn't register with the game, even after I swung, and I missed a lot of shots. It could be my Wii Remote, but it works good on other games. I wish there was a way to amp the response sensitivity a bit.

The other gripe is the lack of multiplayer online. It would be sweet to face a real person from China. Oh well ... maybe next time.

Though it's not perfect, it's a good 360 port and brings some table tennis fun to the Wii.

Why should I care:
R* brings table tennis mayhem to the Wii. Now, you don't have to keep playing "Wii Sports Tennis" to fulfill your need.

The good: Cool use of the Wii remote - good graphics - a very good port from the 360 version - sweet sounds and real-world sponsors

The bad: No online multiplayer - sometimes, the action is so fast, the Wii remote can't respond - amped up AI at times

The ugly: My 9-1 comeback on Jesper, and then, he own3d me and sent me packing

Overall: 8 (out of 10):
This game rocks - and is perfect for a party. However, the lack of multiplayer really, really hurts this game. It's one of the best 360-to-Wii ports (and could be the first) that doesn't lack anything in translation. If you want table tennis action on the Wii, check this title out.

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