Joystiq hands-on: EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis

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Joystiq hands-on: EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis

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EA Sports' entry into the Wii tennis game roster came out to play at its "Season Opener" event in San Francisco. We weren't so much interested in the fact it was a tennis title from EA as we were with its support for Nintendo's yet-to-be-dated Wii MotionPlus peripheral.

It was a little odd, then, that we started off our play session without said Wiimote doohickey. We were essentially playing a more -- though not entirely -- realistic game of Wii Sports tennis, right down to the serve mechanic and the automatic on-court movement of our character. Thankfully, we learned that the game will support a Nunchuk for player-controlled movement -- and we eventually got to give MotionPlus a try.
Once we'd attached the add-on and locked it into place (there's a slider), the test could commence: would the game now be any more realistic than without it. It's worth noting that we were able to snap the MotionPlus dongle onto the Wiimote on-the-fly and the game instantly recognized and accepted input from it.

The verdict: it was ... alright. EA is heavily touting the added realism introduced by MotionPlus; we mostly found that we tended to miss the ball a lot. Putting top spin on when we did hit it was true-to-life, but, then again, so seemed the challenge level as a whole.

The demo was brief, and it's entirely likely that, given more time with it, the MotionPlus controls might have grown on us. We'll definitely have to see and play more of Grand Slam Tennis before it's served up in June to know if it's just us or if 1:1 accuracy really makes for a better time on the (virtual) court.
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