Review: Racquet Sports (Wii)

RacquetSports.jpg I’ve expressed my affection for tennis games many times before, so when Ubisoft recently released Racquet Sports for the Wii I jumped at the chance to get a copy in to review. And I did!

Available in a bundle with a special motion-tracking camera and as a standalone game with Wii MotionPlus compatibility, Racquet Sports is more than just another Wii tennis game. It’s actually five different sports in one: tennis, ping-pong, squash, badminton and beach tennis.

Racquet Sports plays exactly how you would expect any Wii sports game to play. You grab hold of your Wii Remote and wield it as you would a real racket or paddle and swing it to hit a ball/shuttlecock back and forth against an AI or live opponent. The rules vary between the five sports, but the main objective is always the same: hit the ball past your opponent to score points and win the match.

The fundamental rules and strategies of these sports are represented reasonably well in Racquet Sports, and for the most part the basic controls are accessible and responsive. Except for beach tennis, the provided sports are also fun and different enough to entertain without becoming stale, whether you’re playing through Around the World championships alone or competing in the Party Mode on a family game night. I was particularly pleased at the inclusion of squash, which is one racquet sport I don’t believe has made an appearance on the Wii until now.

However, for a game touting Wii MotionPlus support, I was disappointed by its lazy implementation. With a MotionPlus plugged in, you are able to control the backspin and topspin of your shots based on how you rotate your wrist while following through on each swing, but that’s really about it.

Unlike Wii Sports Resort’s table tennis and EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis, Racquet Sports lacks that tangible 1-to-1 swinging sensation that makes it feel like you are playing the sport as you would in real life. While power is loosely based on swing strength, shot angle and depth is all based on the timing of your swing as it relates to the position of the incoming ball, and since character movement is completely automated, the outcome of many points seems almost arbitrary at times (a pet peeve I also have with the Wii Sports games).

Because of this, Racquet Sports finds itself stuck in the middle of the Wii sports game spectrum. It is better and more fully featured than Wii Sports and Deca Sports in terms of gameplay and mode selection, but it pales in comparison to the likes of Grand Slam Tennis and Wii Sports Resort. So basically, your enjoyment of Racquet Sports will hinge on your preference between realism and accessibility. If you want a sports game with realistic 1-to-1 controls and a little more complexity, you probably shouldn’t bother with this one. But if all’s you want is a simple collection of tennis-family games that you can pop in for some family fun or a quick dose of instant gratification, Racquet Sports is worth a shot.

TryIt.jpg

Pros:
+ Basic Wii-waggle controls are accessible and perform well
+ Lots of play modes for 1-4 players
+ Bright, clean Mii-style graphics

Cons:
– Poor Wii MotionPlus implementation
– Can’t control character movement
– Beach tennis is terrible

Game Info:
Platform: Wii
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Asobo Studio
Release Date: 3/9/2010
Genre: Sports – Tennis
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Players: 1-4
Source: Review copy provided by publisher

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!