Racquet Sports Review
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Racquet Sports attempts to introduce fans of table tennis and badminton to the Move, but falls short by providing less than appealing gameplay. The graphics are better than you'd expect from a Wii game, but this is on the PS3, after all.
- The interesting and well designed competing locations
- The detailed graphics
- Playing locally with friends is mildly entertaining
- Lag and poor gameplay mechanics are a dismal intro to the Move
- All five activities are too similar
- Virtually no depth
Motion controls make a lot of sense as far as racquet-based sports games go. With that in mind, Ubisoft’s Racquet Sports, a game that was originally released on Nintendo Wii, is now available on the PlayStation 3 with complete Move support. Unfortunately, while the concept sounds ideal, Racquet Sports is anything but a proper representation of Move’s capabilities.
Racquet Sports offers a series of racquet-based games and allows up to four players a simultaneous gaming experience. You can even play online. The activities in Racquet Sports include tennis, badminton, squash, table tennis, and beach tennis, with the visuals considerably improved over the Wii’s Mii-style avatars, allowing you to dress your character up in various outfits. Outside the characters, there is plenty of detail in the different environments and even the spectators.
The problem with Racquet Sports is that it offers a decidedly poor showcase in regards to the Move’s precision and unique features. The game is filled with lag and commits the common Wii crime of only having to flick your wrist to hit a decent shot. There seems to be little reason to actually move around while you play through the different activities, and the slow reaction time of your onscreen counterpart really draws attention away from the game.
Beyond the actual problems in gameplay, the game offers virtually no depth. There is a career mode for all five activities though it offers little incentive for players to pursue, outside of Trophies or costume rewards. If that weren’t enough, the five different activities are practically identical. Table tennis is probably the best of the five, but it pales in comparison to the same mode in Sports Champions. Squash appeared interesting, but it is extremely monotonous and demonstrates another irritating part of the game.
Your characters move around the screen on their own, although you can urge them in a particular direction by pointing in said direction. As a result of this feature, you will rarely find a point scored based on abilities. Most points are won on player error, and most of those errors are caused because the motion controller is not as responsive as it should be.
As mentioned earlier, the graphics are pretty good, and the environments offer a little something different than your typical sports games. One level in table tennis has you playing in what appears to be an ancient Japanese temple, while a level of squash puts you under the sea, surrounded by sharks. This game certainly feels geared to someone who is not all that serious about their gameplay, meaning if you get frustrated with slow action or imprecise controls, you should look elsewhere. Still, if you can get over those problems, there may be some fun to be had. Most gamers will enjoy the presentation as the graphics are relatively crisp but there isn’t a lot of incentive to keep this game in your PS3 for very long.
Racquet Sports retails for about $30 and for some that may be a worthy investment. However, the price tag isn’t all that important when you consider the fact the game may alter an individual’s perception of Sony’s motion controller. The experience isn’t horrible; it’s just not very good. The different activities all blur together, and beach tennis feels tacked on, too similar to badminton, while squash feels like a more advanced version of table tennis. The game offers mild fun in the multiplayer department, but we were sadly unable to test the online component.
Racquet Sports is a poor introduction for those looking to make the transition to PlayStation Move, and if it’s one of the major games bought at launch, it could very well make people question the difference between Sony’s motion controller and Nintendo’s device. There is probably an audience for this game — such as those who preferred to have more racquet-based activities in Sports Champions — but overall the game ends up feeling quiet thin. We can’t fault it for lacking originality, and if the gameplay was tight and entertaining, we could overlook the striking resemblance to other games released on the Wii.