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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developed by: Clap Hanz
Genre: Sports
Players: 1-4
Rated: E (Everyone)
Release Date: July 17, 2007
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

For almost a decade, Sony has provided a diverse game lineup on its Playstation platforms. Within these 10 years, they developed a popular franchise known as Hot Shots. With games on the Playstation 2 and the PSP, Hot Shots became a welcome alternative to realistic sports titles that filled the market. The franchise was known for hitting the golf links, but this time, Sony is bringing their quirky cast of characters to the hard courts with Hot Shots Tennis. So how does the latest Hot Shots title stack up? Letís find outÖ

For those not familiar with the Hot Shots series, youíre in for a real treat. In similar fashion with Mario Tennis, gameplay is very simple, allowing for any and all gamers (even non-gamers) to pick up this title and enjoy the fun-filled experience. But what separates this franchise from Nintendoís is that this one is full of depth, allowing gamers to play hours on end without running out of new features, stages, and characters to use.

When you decide what character you want to play with, itís time to get the party started. I decided to rock out with the headphone-rocking JJ and take him through the ranks. As I battle new computer opponents, I noticed that you basically have 9 different locations to hit the ball on the court. 3 for the topspin shot, 3 for the slice shot, and 3 for the lob shot. When you think about it, thatís not a whole lot to work with, but since this game is all about timing and position, those 9 spots can seem like 30. If you hit the ball too early, a little bunny will appear over your player as your ball crosses the court on its way out of bounds. Hitting the ball late, and a little turtle will appear over your player as the ball either slowly makes it way over the net, or into it.

Within Hot Shots Tennis, you have several different modes to choose from. You can take part in Challenge Mode, Training and Fun Time Tennis. Within Challenge Mode, you are a beginner coming into the tournament and must prove yourself to the world by knocking off various opponents as you move up through seven different rankings. In the early matches, using one button all the time might fly, but as you become a semi-pro, you will have to put in work if you expect to win any matches. Thereís a bit of strategy to this title as you have to know when itís a good time to perform a lob shot versus a slice.

Training mode is pretty much self-explanatory, but for those who are still clueless; this is where you can hone your skills before doing battle against the computer or even your friends. The Fun Time Tennis mode is basically the multiplayer mode of the title where you can team up with either the computer or a friend for some 2-on-2 action.

Though Hot Shots Tennis goes for a cartoon-look over realistic graphics, this game still looks vivid in its bright and intertwining use of color. In regards to the 11 tennis courts, each has its own unique look and feel to it and they all have their very own cheering crowd to cheer you on to victory. Each character is present as a lively being, with their own distinct animations and vocal work, allowing a gamer to get personal with their favorite tennis player.

Like stated earlier, Hot Shots Tennis combines simplistic looks and gameplay, with in-depth content and a diverse roster. This simplicity extends even to the controls within the game. All your action is basically controlled via three action buttons. The X button allows you to use a topspin shot, the circle button for a slice, and triangle is used for a lob shot. When it comes to serving, X is a regular serve, circle is a fast slice serve, and triangle is an underhand serve. Backhand and forehand shots are dependent on the placement of your character in front of the oncoming ball.

As you play through the Challenge Mode, you will acquire some new playable characters, costumes, tennis locations, and umpires to utilize and make fun of within the game. This is generally where the game takes off to another level, but unfortunately, this title doesnít pack in the bonus content on the same level as Hot Shots Golf for PSP. If the unlockables arenít your thing, you can take part in the Fun Time Tennis mode with a couple of your friends and enjoy countless hours of fun and high-impacted action.

I have to admit, it has been awhile since I have played a sports game this entertaining and fun-filled. Though it doesnít have visual prowess of titles like Virtua Tennis, it still has the abilities to draw you in for countless ours of gameplay. Couple this with the nice $30 price point, diverse characters and courts, and the shear love of the sport, and you have another must-play title for the Playstation 2 and/or Playstation 3 console.


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