Top Spin 2
Playing with Maria Sharapova a bad thing? Unfortunately, in Top Spin 2's case, it is.
A game on a portable machine is clearly not the same as one on a console. This can be an example brought up with a number of comparisons, but this time we'll use Top Spin 2 by 2K Sports as the example. The Xbox 360 version shines just fine, with the same great gameplay from the original coupled with a well balanced AI, a robust career mode, and a good presentation that takes hearty advantage of what the machine has to offer. The DS version, eh, not so much.
In the game, you basically choose from a number of given professionals, many of which are recognizable from the get-go, and can work through a series of mini-games and career events attempting to build yourself up to the pro circuit. So, like the Xbox 360 version, there is diversity to be found here, and you can also link up with a friend in two-player versus, although that requires another copy of the game on their end. It would've been nice for 2K Sports to throw in multiplayer off a single cart, but I suppose there's only so much you can ask of this game.
In fact, numerous times, it seemed like it was running a quiz it couldn't even complete. The game designers made the fatal mistake of trying to give the game the same next-gen oomph as the Xbox 360 version, and, as a result, it looks pretty most of the game, but has stunted animation and, worse yet, sluggish performance. It's this sluggish performance that ends up affecting the gameplay rather badly, resulting in a lot of missed balls or, worse yet, squandered opportunities to pull off the right shot. What was meant to be a destined smash instead comes off as a regular hit, which the computer opponent can easily return.
The music is drab and the audio effects are few, with only some minor voice samples trying to lend to the experience. Coupled with the other problems in the game, between its terrible presentation and lacking multiplayer features, it's just really hard to recommend. It's almost frustrating enough to make you knock over a glass of O.J. like McEnroe did, with his tennis racket. For all the time that the game was delayed, you'd think that some effort would've gone into the clean-up of the gameplay or even something along the lines of compatible multiplayer that didn't involve two copies of the same game.
C'est la vie. I guess this means there'll be more buyers of Mario Tennis for the upcoming tennis season. Top Spin 2 does have some minor accomplishments to its credit, but it all comes crashing down due to the flawed gameplay experience and lacking overall features. It might be an ace for some, but they would have to be very patient and determined. Even moreso than actual tennis players.
What's Hot: Stacked career mode.
What's Not: Presentation is shoddy and slows up way too often.