In fairness to 2K Sports, Top Spin 4 for the Wii isn’t an “exercise game” per se, so it’s a little hard to compare it to workout games like EA Sports Active or The Biggest Loser.
One thing the things I’ve been looking for a very long time is a tennis game that really starts to simulate what it’s like to play real tennis. Early games like Wii Sports Tennis and Virtua Tennis were just a wag-fests, of course. When EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis came out, that was a much more realistic simulation, and it came a little closer to simulating real tennis moves. I played that game so much that I ended up getting tendonitis (which thankfully cleared up after a few weeks).
Top Spin 4 can be considered in the class of “third generation tennis game”. The graphics are the most realistic they’ve ever been on the Wii, and the simulations of tennis shots are very realistic.
As far as its value as an “exercise game”, it seems that 2K Sports has opted to focus less on that, and more on just building something between realistic tennis game and an old controller-based tennis game.
Running on the court is done through use of the Wii nunchuk joystick. And aiming your shot is not done by angling your arm, but rather by quickly moving the nunchuk joystick with your thumb.
Specialized shots like drop shots and lobs are done with buttons. There are only three strokes which are done by making sweeping motions with the Wii remote–and even those are not terribly reliable.
One extremely bizarre thing you’re asked to do is to “hold your remote like a real tennis racket”, with the buttons to the side. Not only does this make pressing the buttons awkward, it doesn’t seem to help the accuracy of the shot. You can have some fun with the beginner or intermediate levels, but the advanced level becomes an exercise in frustration.
There are some nice touches for tennis fans. All of the major tennis stars have licensed their name and images to 2K Sports, and their distinctive shots and skills are clear. You can hire coaches and buy tennis gear with points you earn. And you can play on some of the world’s greatest clay, grass, and hard courts. You can define the number of sets and matches to play, or even start the game on a tiebreak.
If you’re an avid tennis fan and love the simulation aspect of the game, you can get some decent exercise by adding on Riiflex Weights. But otherwise, this is one you can pass on.
3 of 5 stars.