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Review of EA Sports Tennis with MotionPlus extension for Wii controller

Review of EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis

Overall rating: * * * *

  • Exercise Intensity: 3/5
  • Fun: 5/5

The most true-to-life tennis video game available today, thanks to the MotionPlus,

June 15, 2009

Reviewer: Nutwisystem

A few days ago, Nintendo released the next big improvement for the Wii controller, continuing a long line of improvements starting from the Wii-mote, to the Nunchuk, to the Wii Balance Board. It’s the Wii MotionPlus, an attachment to your Wii-mote which allows for much more detailed and accurate motion sensing of your arm and wrist movements as you play games. With games like Wii Sports, you controlled players by moving your arms up, down, left, and right. With this attachment, your movements are captured in much finder detail.

There is a growing list of games that use the Wii MotionPlus, but the first one I was excited in getting was EA SPORTS Grand Slam Tennis. Here’s my review.

I ordered both the MotionPlus and the tennis game from Amazon. Grand Slam Tennis did not come bundled with the MotionPlus, so I bought it separately; I figure when Wii Sports Resort (which will be the “killer application” for the MotionPlus) comes out, it’ll be bundled with the MotionPlus, so I’ll buy one now, and get a second one when I get that game. (It also comes bundled with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 which is also available today, but I personally didn’t feel like spending money on a golf game just yet, although I regret it because the reviews are phenomenal).

As usual, the game came from Amazon packaged snugly.

The contents looked in great shape.

I opened the Wii MotionPlus first. It had an instruction manual, and an extra Wii-mote sleeve, embedded in which was the MotionPlus unit, a small, solid plastic part.

Installation could not have been easier. Just slip your current Wii-mote out of its current sleeve, and slip it into the new sleeve. Connect the connectors and snap it into place.

Make sure you moved the wrist strap through the hole designed for it. Then, switch the “lock” button to “locked”.

Voila! You now have a much improved Wii-mote with better and more accurate motion detection.

Next step was trying the tennis game. I opened the box and put the disc into the Wii, and proceeded to set up an exhibition game between Roger Federer and Pat Cash.

The first impressive thing I noticed is that EA got the licensing agreements for all of the Grand Slam events. The graphics are amazingly precise, from the clay courts of France, to the grass courts of Wimbledon, and the hard courts of Queens and Australia.

Federer got swept in straight sets. So obviously something was very wrong. It happens that Pat Cash is the on-screen commentator, so he seemed very happy with the turn of events.
The Wii-mote with MotionPlus takes some getting used to. With Wii Sports Tennis, you become used to just flicking your wrists and hitting balls perfectly within the lines. If you bring that same expectation to Grand Slam Tennis, you’re in for disappointment. However, the more practice you get using MotionPlus, the more you realize how amazingly more advanced it is than Wii Sports. Using your arms and your wrists, you can finesse where balls go, add spin, and do other things that simulate the real game. I can’t say it’s exactly the same as real tennis, but it’s closer than any game before it.
Learning to use MotionPlus is really a matter of trial and error. The most important tip I can share is to visualize the left side of your Wii-mote as the front of your racquet. When you hit the ball, there’s a temptation to wind up and jerk the ball, but I’ve found that sometimes the Wii sensor doesn’t pick that up. But if you start your swing early and use clean, fluid motions (making sure your hand is always in line of sight to the sensor), you’ll do well. Make use of the A and B buttons to do lobs and drop shots.

For maximum control, you can also attach the Nunchuk to control the player’s running. Without the Nunchuk, the system will run for you, which doesn’t work all the time.

I suppose the main drawback which might bother some people (although it doesn’t really bother me) is the cartoonish appearance of the characters. But aside from that, everything from the sound effects of the ball on different surfaces to the play-by-play announcing to the tournament play is right on target.

The video you see here was the third game I attempted on Grand Slam Tennis. I decided to be Roger Federer, and played against John McEnroe (this is the first video game where he agreed to be a part of it, and you’ll be happy to know it’s classic 1980’s Mac, complete with tantrums and racquet throwing). You can see in the first game, I still had some challenges figuring the MotionPlus out, but after a while it became quite competitive. I actually enjoyed watching the video just as much as playing the game. Sit back and enjoy!

You’ll also notice that there’s a chart you can pull up after the game that shows the amount of calories you burned. So while it won’t replace any of the other exercise games here, it’s a nice diversion when you feel like having a ton of fun and burning off a few calories.

In short, If you get past the cartoony characters, this provides the most true-to-life tennis video game available today, thanks to the Wii MotionPlus controller.

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