Video games publishers have an uncanny knack of ensuring that the only time of year a new tennis game is never released is during the middle of Wimbledon. Of course, in the case of Virtua Tennis: World Tour they had to wait until the PSP hit the shops, so its autumnal appearance is largely unavoidable.
What is curious though, is that despite being regarded by many as the best serious tennis simulation, the Virtua Tennis series has only made fleeting appearances on the current generation of consoles. It’s getting in on the ground floor with the PSP though, with what will likely become the definitive portable tennis game.
The gameplay is largely the same as the previous Dreamcast and PS2 versions with an apparently simplistic arcade style control system revealing surprising depth and subtlety over time. It translates well to the PSP controls and the graphics are almost identical to the home console versions.
Virtua Tennis features three basic game modes — World Tour, Exhibition and Tournament — plus four mini-games and a 16 player (although obviously not all on the same court) wireless multiplayer mode. You can create and customise your own character but 14 “real” tennis players are also included, such as Roger Federer, Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Lleyton Hewitt, Lindsay Davenport and Tim Henman. Obviously you’ll need at least a passing interest in real tennis to really appreciate the game, but as long as that’s the case there’s no need for new balls here. — Harrison Dent
Play as an Internationally-ranked tennis star
Play up against the best in the world or play as a star and challenger
Four unique court surfaces to play on
Multiplayer Wi-Fi function
Competition with other PSP system owners for up to four players
Three different play modes: World Tour, Exhibition and Tournament
Create your own player. Accessorise your character with the virtual cash you win in tournaments.