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Gaming Age Reviews: Top Spin 3

Kent Bardo Writes:

"The beauty of tennis is that it can be enjoyed on many levels. On one level, it's pretty easy. Hit the ball back and forth over a net. Add a little practice and you realize it's about position because the sooner you get to the ball the easier it is to hit a good shot. Then you realize the more you influence your opponent's position, the better your chances. Before you know it you're getting into spins, lobs, charging the net and so on. But that doesn't change the fact that all you really have to do is hit the ball over the net.

Top Spin 3 has a steep learning curve for the most fundamental aspect of tennis - hitting the ball. The player must hit a button to begin a windup and release it to swing. The instruction from the tutorial suggests the right time is about when it hits the ground on the first bounce. That's it. Sounds simple. But something about this mechanic is extremely difficult to execute and completely unnatural. It can be learned, but it takes a lot of patience and practice learning to hit routine shots. Until the player has retrained themselves to make a completely foreign timing mechanism second nature, he or she is going to lose a lot. It won't be because of incredible shots by a gifted opponent (CPU or otherwise). It will just be because hitting the ball is very difficult and for no apparent reason. This learning curve doesn't even take into account the combinations and timing required to aim for the line or put the ball in a certain location."

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