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Puzzlor's Review Thread *New review - Hot Shots Tennis*
I was wondering how I might be able to contribute to this site, and since it seems like all of the games I own have already been uploaded, I decided that I would make my own review thread.
On this first post will be all of the games (in the order I review them) and a final score. In each post I'll put in a detailed review for the game.
BIG NOTE: my reviews are all spoiler free! I do talk about the set up to the story, but never will I give away major plot details.
Please feel free to comment as well, as these reviews are only my own opinion and people may feel different. Feel free to rate the games as well, or to pm me with a review request if you are interested in hearing my opinion on a game.
Okami - 9/10
Shadow of the Colossus - 8/10
Shadow Hearts 1, 2:C , and 3:FtnW - 7/10, 9/10, 8/10 respectively
Chaos wars - 6/10
Trapt - 6/10
Neo Contra - 6/10
Black - 7/10
Grimgrimoire - 7/10
Hot Shots Tennis - 4/10
Last edited by puzzlor; 3rd August 2009 at 01:58 PM.
OKAMI - 9/10
Okami seems to be a game that lots of people have played but nobody has played. I say that because it was critically acclaimed, had a wii-make, and still some people have never even heard of it.
Okami's story revolves around Amaterasu, the sun-goddess of japan who has been reincarnated as a white wolf. An unsuspecting villager breaks a seal that releases Orochi, a giant dragon, who then curses the land and causes the natural life (water, trees, etc) to wither and die. It is up to Amaterasu (along with Issun, a very tiny individual who acts as comic relief) to lift this curse and defeat orochi for good.
The story actually becomes quite involved in the later acts of the game, and becomes incredibly enthralling. However, without spoiling the story, I felt that the last few plot points got a little bit too out of hand, and reduced my enjoyment of the ending of the story.
Okami's gameplay is a great hybrid of action, adventure and rpg. You free-roam from a third-person perspective, encounter random battles, collect money to purchase items and skills, yet the fighting is in real time.
The most innovative feature that Okami brings to the table is the Celestial Brush mechanic. Fighting (and many other functions) in this game is initated by bringing up the celestial brush and literally painting certain shapes to bring about change. Want to slash and enemy or slash down a tree? Draw a line through it. Want to place a bomb? Draw a circle.
I really enjoyed the gameplay. Okami throughs a good variety of enemies at you, where some have tricks to defeating them, making the gameplay remain fresh for a while.
I absolutely love the graphics for this game. The water painting inspired artwork looks wonderful and plays out quite smoothly. Sure there are some rough spots here and there, but for the most part, sensational. Watch a video of this game in action on youtube or any gaming site.
Difficulty : Medium, some of the bosses can be a little on the tough side
Length : I put in around 25-30 hrs into this game
Replayability : Some collectables and a New game + mode exists where you carry over many of your items.
I greatly enjoyed playing through okami, though the end of the game was a little bit dissapointing for me. The graphics were the huge selling point for me to purchase the game, and so I was suprised and happy when the gamplay was so enjoyable. One of the creators of the game has said that he was inspired by the Zelda games, and it shows, wonderfully in fact.
Last edited by puzzlor; 14th July 2009 at 03:30 PM.
SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS - 8/10
The dream team behind ICO put their efforts into a second game. The game is often praised for its art-as-video-game approach.
You play as the wanderer, who seeks to resurrect his deceased lover. In order to do that, you must defeat the colossi of the land, huge lumbering beasts that withold the power necessary to revive your lover. You are accompanied by a horse named Aggro. Fun fact: the game was originally planned to be focused on a tribe of player (instead of one), but the ps2 didn't have the power to run it as such.
I enjoyed the storyline for this game a fair bit, but it was nothing too original. I will admit that I got very attached the characters of wanderer and especially aggro. The colossi are well varied and exhibit a lot of character of their own, making them very interesting antagonists. There are a lot of areas of the story that are left unexplored, but I quite like that. You can form your own conclusions about certain aspects of the game.
This game plays out like a third person action adventure game. While there are a few "upgrades" that you get throughout the course of the game, there is a lack of emphasis on micromanaging skills and resources, which is quite nice since the game is focusing on different ideas. The other interesting fact is that the game has no minor enemies, and is only boss fights.
Each Colossi is basically a level in itself, where you must learn how to reach the weak point of the Colossi and exploit it. The huge variety of colossi is pretty impressive (I especially liked the "Leviathan" colossus). My one complaint with the gameplay is just how much of a beating the wanderer can take. I appreciate that you need to be able to fall from unreasonable heights and survive or the game might become very frustrating. However, for me, it also takes away some of the fear and awe of scaling a towering beast, because you know that if you misstep, you can just try it again.
My other qualm with the gameplay, which is also a bi-product of the design, is that it is over too quickly. This game could easily be beaten in the time of a rental.
The graphics for this game are just plain wonderful. The art design behind the colossi gets a big thumbs up from me, and how these designs are then created in-game is breath taking. The landscapes, though a little recurrent at times, are lush and you can see fairly far into the distance. I really enjoyed the blur effect that hits when you do quick view changes when riding aggro. It made for some very intense fights. Aggro is wonderfully animated as well.
Difficulty - Difficulty can be toggled, but the game never gets too hard
Length - I'm fairly sure I took about 11-13hrs to get through it the first time, considerably less the second time.
Replayability - Fairly good! You can play through the game on an increased difficulty, as well as play a time attack mode that nets you extra items.
I greatly anticipated and enjoyed this game. So why only an 8? I think some of the gameplay mechanics really took me out of the universe that the game painstakingly creates, and the whole experience was over before I wanted it to be. However, I do sometimes revisit this title just to play a colossus or two.
Last edited by puzzlor; 14th July 2009 at 03:31 PM.
Shadow Hearts review
SHADOW HEARTS SERIES
Shadow hearts - 7/10
SH:Covenant - 9/10
SH: From the New World - 8/10
I've opted to put all three of these titles in the same review because while you don't NEED to play all of them to understand these titles, you will enjoy them a WHOLE lot more. They are full of self-reference between titles, and have some characters that appear in multiple games.
Shadow hearts revolves around the character's Yuri and Alice. Alice is a woman who holds a mystery power, one that the antagonist Roger Bacon seeks to claim for his own. SH:C takes place 6 months after the events of shadow hearts, and focuses once again on Yuri, but this time he travels with a military general named Karin, seeking to understand the objectives of a secret organization called Sapientes Gladio. SH:FtnW sees a new protagonist, Johnny Garland, running a detective agency in 1930's New York. Johnny receives a case from a mystery Dr. Gilbert, which ends up being more than it seems.
The storyline in the original SH, while occasionally humorous, carries a serious and gothic tone to it. SH:C and SH:FtnW, while occasionally serious, are quite humorous. Only in a shadow hearts game could you see a giant talking cat who is dressed like George Lucas (Called "Director Meowcus"). All of these games present alternate histories, many of which are quite interesting. I found the storyline in SH:C to be the most cohesive. SH oftens suffers from poor translation (more accurately, poor localization), while SH:FtnW has many excellent plot points, it doesn't seem to carry the impact of SH:C.
The shadow hearts series are typical RPGs complete with towns, dungeons, random battles etc. The major difference with this series is the presence of the "Judgement Ring" system. This system works around timed button presses, where you have to try to stop a meter in designated hit areas. This ring is used for all actions in battle, where more precise timing is rewarded with greater damage or greater healing. This really keeps the combat fresh. For example, status effects are no longer only things like poison or paralysis, but also reducing the effective "hit" sections on the judgement ring, causing the ring to spin faster, etc.
I found the gameplay in SH to be too emphasized on boss fights. The dungeon sections are quite short, and in some cases you will fight 3-4 bosses straight. SH:C and SH:FtnW are both more balanced. These games are also notorious for their side quests, where sidequests exist for all playable characters and are present to unlock skills and weapons.
I will make one comment here, which explains my lower rating for SH. The original SH has a system called "Malice", where as you kill enemies you build up malice. If the malice gets to a high level, you start to face harder and harder enemies. You can bring the malice level back down to zero through a specific way that while easy, gets very annoying. I didn't enjoy the fact that every 15+ random battles, I had to take 5-10 mins to extinquish my malice.
As can be expected, the graphics increase in quality from SH to SH:FtnW. SH has a very gothic almost feudal feel to it, SH:C has an EXCELLENT eastern european/northern asia look, and SH:FtnW emulates both 1930's america and the native cultures of south america quite well.
Difficulty - As with many RPG's, the difficulty of the game lies in strategy, or just plain grinding for levels. All of the SH games provide interesting strategies (especially SH:FtnW). I would put the overall difficulty for these titles as medium.
Length - to simply beat these games from start to finish, they are surprisingly short for RPG's. They will typically take ~20hrs to get through straight. However, these games also carry infectious side quests, and completing most of the game can take upwards of 30-35hrs.
Replayability - All three of these games have New Game+ modes where you maintain higher levelled items/magics/levels etc, allow for some level of replay.
The Bottom Line
I really appreciate these games for their often hilarious storylines and characters, as well for the refined random battle system of the Judgement Ring. I actually appreciate that they are a bit on the shorter side too, because then individuals who don't have a lot of time to game can still get into it. The individual dungeons and towns are quite small as well, allowing quick gratification in small gaming spurts. The malice system really brought SH down for me. I think I may have appreciated it more had I played Koudelka, the spiritual predecessor for Psx. I enjoy that some of the characters and jokes repeat throughout the games. I scored SH:C the highest because I really enjoyed the setting (Rasputin as an antagonist = excellent) and found the story to be quite clever.
CHAOS WARS - 6/10
Chaos wars is a little known SRPG that fuses together a wide variety of characters from other games (such as shadow hearts, growlanswer, etc). The closest thing that I can liken this to is Cross Edge which was recently released on PS3.
Story - 5/10
The story begins with Hyoma, Hayatemaru and Shizuku searching for a cave that is said to contain an altar that can grant wishes. Upon finding this cave, they are transported to a world between worlds. There, Hyoma meets Rin, a "Gate Master", who is able to manipulate "gates", doorways between worlds. An evil plot is brewing where an organization called "Luin" is gathering gate keys, for an unknown purpose.
I'll start this off by saying that this game has TERRIBLE localization. Some of the dialogue is laughable, and the english voice overs are atrocious. Additionally, with so many characters from different games, the storyline often times just throws characters at you who have no bearing on the main plotline. However, the story DOES develop a little bit, but nothing that we have't seen before.
Gameplay - 6/10
The gameplay here is very reminiscent of Nippon Ichi titles, almost like a mix of Disgaea and Phantom brave. Each battle takes place on a set battle field. Each character gets a turn (where turn order is decided by the speed/rank of the character), and within that turn you have a set number of points that can be spent on attacking, moving (within a certain range) etc. Characters that are near one another can team up for combo attacks, and characters also have a secondary form that boosts stats, but only lasts for a limited number of turns.
Outside of battle, there is no world map to speak of. You have a single room that you can run around in and interact with other characters. In this room, a gate exists that serves as the world map (choosing your next battle locale), a store, a summoning station (for gaining new characters), and a "conversion" station, where items/weapons can be powered up.
The gameplay in this game is not bad if you enjoy some of the more traditional SRPG's, like Final Fantasy Tactics. My biggest issues with are:
1) gameplay is the slow character animations and load times between actions, which causes some battles to move along at a snails pace.
2) skill switching. Your skills will randomly change to other skills unless you "skill lock" them. I found this system of random change to be totally frustrating at times.
Graphics - 7/10
Not too bad, seeing as how this was released near the tail end of the PS2's lifetime. The battle grounds themselves are typically unimaginative (except for a few battles), but the character models are quite detailed. During conversation, large static anime images are used to represent the characters, and these are generally well done. The battle animations (specifically the magic attacks) are a little underwhelming.
Difficulty - Easy/Average, if you stick to battles that suit the rank of your characters, you should be fine. If you take on harder battles, this game can be quite tough.
Replayability - New game+ where you keep items, but not levels. Some characters are missable and there are some side quests that may keep you coming back for more.
Length - I beat this game a while ago, so I'm not quite sure, but I think I put in around 30-40hrs when I finished.
I REALLY wanted to enjoy this game (as I like SRPG's and find storyline mash ups to be generally interesting), but the slow combat and oftentimes confusing storyline really pulled me out of the game. I didn't care as to why I was fighting these battles, so I didn't feel a need to continue along with the story line. Also, having not played many of the other games, I didnt feel too fond about the characters being introduced.
Last edited by puzzlor; 14th July 2009 at 03:31 PM.
TRAPT - 6/10
Trapt is the fourth entry into Tecmo's Deception series, and serves as a near-direct sequel to Kagero: Deception 2. These games are known for their unique gameplay involving trap-setting as the main objective.
You play as Allura, daughter of king Olaf. The Queen has passed away some time ago and the king has remarried a suspicious new woman named Queen Catalina. The king is murdered and Catalina pins the murder on you. With the aid of your maid Rachel, you take refuge in a nearby castle that happens to hold a "fiend" in it. The fiend makes Allura his servant to harvest souls, and the plot unfolds from there.
The follow through on this story is OK at best. Some of the translation is a little bit funny, but you should get the jist of it. If you have played some of the other Deception titles, this plot seems to have been lifted from a mixture of the other games. Nothing too amazing, but then again, this series is known for its gameplay.
One odd thing I find funny is that all of the voice-overs are in japanese, and they constantly call Allura "Elysia". Not sure what happened in the translation.
The deception series basically revolves around your character dealing with "invaders". In this game, you are in the old castle mentioned above (and some other locales throughout the game), and individuals from the kingdom come and try to capture you or kill you. This results in you killing these invaders.
The game is played via a 3rd person action/adventure feel. Attacking in this game is done via "traps". You have three basic trap types: floor, ceiling, and wall. Floor traps include things like bear traps (keep opponent stationary for a short period of time) and spring boards (spring opponents a certain distance). Wall traps have such things as push walls (push opponents away) and magnet walls (pull opponents in). Finally, ceiling traps have things like dropping boulders or a pendulum blade. Each of the traps has an area of effect, and each has a "charge" time, basically a refresh time. Each type of trap is mapped to a button (triangle, square and x), and you try to lure opponents into your traps and set them off.
Rooms of the castle also have environmental "devices", such as pillars that can be pushed down (via push wall or explosive), electric chairs (that people can be springboarded into), and all sorts of devilish things.
I really like the trap concept, but there are two major gripes I have with the gameplay. 1) the AI is foolish. You can constantly run around an opponent until your trap resets and just hit them again and again. It is also very easy to lure into traps. 2) there are really elaborate room-based traps called "dark illusions" that are by far the cooler and more powerful traps. However, the requirements to set them up are not always apparent, and you can go a whole game without actually finding one and using it. I wish the game would have given clues about these super traps.
The graphics are serviceable, not overly amazing. You'll see a lot of reused opponent animations. It seems like a lot of work went into the dark illusions, as they tend to feature some of the more unique graphics. Unfortunately, when the action heats up (multiple traps going at once), the game does suffer from some slowdown, but it is easy enought to look past.
Difficulty - Very easy. A few of the later opponents will give you a bit of guff, but most baddies can be dealt with very easily.
Length - Very short. You can finish this game front to back in about 4-5 hours on your first playthrough. Even less on subsquent plays.
Replayability - Some good replay. A survival mode exists for individuals who like endurance modes, there are side missions to every part of the game that change when you are playing a second time through, and there are decisions made during the game that change the course of the game. Combine this with relatively short length, and you've got some high replayability.
Although it may sound sadistic, it is quite fun to watch the silly AI waltz into a huge combination of odd (and sometimes gruesome) traps. The short length means that the somewhat repetitive gameplay doesn't cause too much damage for the player, and the story is perhaps just enthralling enough to keep a player going for 4-5 hours. Easy to pick up and put down.
Last edited by puzzlor; 15th July 2009 at 07:48 PM.
Neo Contra Review
NEO CONTRA 6/10
I have to say from the top that I have been a contra fan since the original, and find them to be mostly enjoyable (other than contra hard corps for NES, I did not like that game one bit). I had read that Neo Contra took the series in another direction and was interested in checking it out.
Neo Contra takes place during A.D. 4444 when the Earthhas been transformed into a prison planet, home to criminals and political rebels (contras). From this underworld society rises a new order called "Neo Contra". This government quickly showed its true colors, as it has other plans than bringing back normal civilization. Carrying out this new threat are four renegade contra, who are called the Four Elite. Thus, Bill Rizer is partnered with Genbei "Jaguar" Yagyu, a samurai, and the two are sent to Earth to deal with the Neo Contra threat.
Did I take that excerpt from wikipedia? Yes. Do I play contra games for the story? Not really. The story "picks up" in the final missions, but overall is no reason to get into this game.
Neo contra does away with some of the typical contra aspects. The game is no longer a sidescroller, playing more like a top down shooter (ala smash TV or gungrave). Instead of picking up weapons throughout a mission, you now select a preset group of 3 weapons when you start the game. Overall these weapons are fairly balanced, though one set in particular (Set D) is ridiculously overpowered.
The game lets you pick from 4 stages to begin with, with additional secret missions depending on your success with the first 4. Each level has a "hit rate" which is basically a % of the enemies you've destroyed. Destroying 100% of the enemies in the level gives you, well, 100%. However, each death and continue used knocks off a few percent (1% per death, 5% per continue). At the end of the level, you are given a rank based on your overall hit rate. A higher percent = higher rank = unlockables.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy PLAYING this game. Sure its not a very good game at its core, but it is somewhat gratifying to be the one man army and lay waste to everything around you. I was a bit saddened by the boss fights, which fall into predictable patterns that are VERY easy to avoid. One boss is a bit random (stage 3) and offers a pretty interesting fight.
The game is incredibly short, but I enjoyed trying to go for the highest ranking that I could. The game is also really easy, where I achieved the second highest rank on only my second play through. The game can typically be beaten in about 50 minutes once you have the hang of it.
I should also say that this game is a treat to play with a friend, because so much of it is "over the top" that you may end up laughing your way through the game.
Nothing spectacular at all. The animation is often fairly fluid, but slow down occurs when there is a lot of explosions going on. The stages are fairly uninspired (except the helicopter stage, bless my soul that was hilarious), but the graphics certainly get the job done for what needs to be done.
Difficulty - Bafflingly easy. When you can complete the over half the game without taking damage, you know its gotta be easy. (the game only has normal and easy modes).
Length - as said above, about 50 minutes from top to bottom. It can be done MUCH faster though (and needs to for an unlockable).
Replayability - if you are interested in achieving the higher rank, or enjoy playing these games with friends, then I can see some replayability in it. Not too much though.
It seems that I dogged this game throughout the whole review, yet I still gave it a 6. I must have just been in the mood when I played this game, but I was enthralled by the over-the-top set pieces, the general havoc being created by the protagonist, and the COMPLETELY silly bad guys (the naming convention for the contra elite four is absurd, zero logical flow). In some ways, this game is just so bad that it is good. Maybe its my bias for contra games (even though this one is quite different), but a game that can pull me in for its very short run time deserves at least over a 5 in my books.
I remember when this game came out, there was a large amount of hype for it, as it featured supposedly fully destructable environments and gun graphics/sounds beyond what had been seen in previous titles. Being a fan of the newer call of duty games on ps3, I was interested to see what this title was like.
The story revolves around Jack Keller and an interrogator. The story of the game is told in "flashbacks", as Jack recounts the previous missions that he has been on. The main focus of the game is on a terrorist cell called "seventh wave". I can't go too much further into the story without spoiling some details.
hahah it may seem like in every review I say that the story was "something we've seen before", and I'm going to say near the same thing this time. The story for black is highly generic. The interesting ideas to me are 1) the live action videos used to portray the story between missions and 2) the modern day setting of the plot. I think since not many games use live action anymore (I think resident evil really put LA in a bad light), this was a bit of a refreshing way of telling the story. The modern day plotlines are also highly appreciated, since all too many soldier-FPS games are either set in historical war periods or science fiction/alternate realities.
There are really no amazing features that set Black apart from any other FPS. You can hold 2 weapons at a time, most weapons have a secondary firing mode and some have silencers that can be toggled on and off. Aside from that you carry med packs for healing and grenades for throwing. Each mission carries primary objectives and secondary objectives. The primary objective is simply to complete the level, which is fairly linear. If you fail to destroy an objective, then the path forward in the level will not open up until you do so. The second objectives are split into different "objectives" which all end up being similar. You basically pick up documents, blow up laptops or safes, or find secret weapons. Depending on the difficulty of the game (4 difficulties to choose from), you are required to complete a different number of secondary objectives. For example, easy mode requires no secondary objectives to be met, Normal requires 1-3, hard requires 4+ and so on.
The one thing that I REALLY disliked about this game was the AI. It seems as though enemy soldiers in black will ALWAYS take cover behind explosive barrels. All too often I would see a soldier out in the open, who had the choice of 3-4 different hiding spots, yet would always take the explosive one. The AI has also apparently never seen a soldier crouch before, because if you crouch you are nearly invincible. There were many times when I would be crouching in direct sight of an enemy, he would be firing at me and missing, and I would slowly and easily aim for a head shot. Too easy! It also doesn't help that in some levels, almost every enemy will drop health, so you never feel too in danger.
I have to say this first and foremost. The sound of the weapons in this game is excellent! This was one of the big selling points for the game and it really shows. I was especially enthralled by the sound of mines. The deep, earthy explosion noise is fantastic, especially when playing with a speaker system (read: Sub). The actual graphics are pretty excellent as well. Weapons looks amazing, some of the environments are pretty cool. All in all not bad.
Difficulty - Toggling the difficulty will make the game harder, but I still found it incredibly easy. This may be due to my forray into COD4 and COD:WAW veteran modes, which are consistently much harder than anything Black throws at you.
Length - Fairly short, about 6-8 hours depending on how fast you going through the missions.
Replayability - I can see some fun replayability in completing all of the secondary objectives, but with no multiplayer and a short campaign, I won't be putting black back into my ps2 anytime soon.
In many reviews I've seen black compared to a tech demo: looks great, shows off the power of the system, but is way too short. I would tend to agree with these comments, and would like to see a Black 2 on a current gen system. The game has a lot of potential in some areas, but I feel it is really hindered by the silly AI.
GRIMGRIMOIRE - 7/10
Phew, got a little busy so I had to stop penning reviews, but now I'm back. I had caught wind of this title being portrayed as a 2D real time strategy game. I wasn't sure how a thing was possible!
Story - 8/10
The story for this game follows protagonist Lillet Blan, a young girl who has just begun attending a magical school. Lillet becomes trapped in a groundhog day-like series of events, where the same five days repeat themselves, as she attempts to solve the mystery behind the resurrection of an old evil.
While the story is incredibly derivative of Harry Potter (with many elements), I found it to be a nice change of pace for a video game. The characters are quite likeable, and the voice acting is really great. The story is basically told through static character portraits and text, but it works well with the style of gameplay.
Gameplay - 6/10
No lie, this is a 2D RTS. The game plays like a conventional RTS. You build structures with which to spawn units, units cost material (mana in this game), and many units follow a paper-scissor-rock heirachy, where they are strong against some units and weak against others.
I actually quite enjoy RTS games, but I found that the gameplay in grimgrimoire gets a little bit boring as the game goes on. The battles are very repetitive, mostly due to the topography of battle. Perhaps I'm just too used to other RTS games to give this one the credit it deserves?
Graphics - 9/10
I adore Vanillaware's art direction. Much like the title odin sphere, the sprites in this game are hand drawn and are animated very well. The backgrounds could use a little "wow" every now and then, but for the most part they are serviceable. As I mentioned earlier too, I found the voice acting to be pretty excellent for this title.
Difficulty - If you have beaten previous PC RTS' (like the starcraft series), this game is a cakewalk. Otherwise, it might be a little difficult.
Length - I logged ~20hrs into this game, and not just directly into the main story.
Replayability - unlocks a hard mode and has many missions to play besides the main story missions.
I really enjoyed the art direction and story for this game, but the gameplay gets very repetitive towards the end. I liked the different units present in the game, and feel that this was a really good attempt at a 2D RTS.
Hot Shots Tennis Review
HOT SHOTS TENNIS - 4/10
I really enjoy tennis in real life, and I'm a fan of the hots shots golf series, so I thought that this may be the best of both worlds.
Story - N/A
No real story in sports games (for the most part), so I won't even bother with this section.
Gameplay - 4/10
The gameplay is typical of tennis games, but with the "impact" system of hot shots golf. The impact system (at least with the golf games) means that if you strike the ball perfectly (using power meters), you will typically get a nicer shot. The same applies to hot shots tennis, if you time your swing perfectly, you'll get better placement and better strength on your shots. The game includes both singles and doubles, and supports 4 players.
This game progresses by means of levels, where on each level there are set tournaments to play against set opponents. Beating these opponents unlocks new characters, new colors for costumes, new refs and new courts.
My HUGE problem with the gameplay, at least with the single player matches, is the difficulty curve. This game is frighteningly easy until the last few opponents, and then the difficulty spikes greatly. If you manage to get the hang of the game quite quickly, the whole thing can be done in a matter of 5-6 hours. That being said, it is a very boring 5-6 hours.
I can't really knock the graphics in this game, as they carry over the cute cartoon style of the hot shots golf games perfectly. The action moves at a good pace too with no slowdown.
Difficulty - As I mentioned above, amazingly easy and then excrutiatingly difficult.
Length - Quite short, 5-6 hours, but can be longer if the last few tournies give you a hard time.
Replayability - I briefly played this game with a friend and it was kind of fun (we used to play mario tennis too). I can see this being fun for a while, but if you play tennis games with a friend, you are better off playing an entry from the virtua tennis series.
The games graphics and pedigree sucked me in, but the gameplay spat me right back out. Far too unbalanced for its own good, I can't really suggest picking this game up.
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