Reviewed: November 4, 2007
Released: October 15, 2007
Table Tennis was created from the original game of tennis. It became popular around the 19th century when it was played as a light past time. The game is very simple, it's Tennis miniaturized and placed on a table. Table tennis has transformed from a casual pastime to a worldwide sport. The rules havenít changed; they have only become more demanding. Table Tennis requires skill rather than athleticism.
Rockstar Presents Table Tennis is one of many games published by Rockstars games. From the wild and thrilling Grand Theft Auto series and their chilling and haunting games like Manhunt they have produced many fun, exciting, and "mature" games. Will they be able to make a simple and family friendly game like Table Tennis fun and interesting?
Rockstar Table Tennis begins with the Profile Manager you can pick three letters to name your profile. Your profile also allows you to choose between three control configurations Standard, Control Freak, and Sharp Shooter. Standard is just that, general controls that only require the use of the Wii Remote. Control Freak has the same controls as Standard but it involves the use of the Wii Nunchuk. Instead of using the D-pad to move your character around you use the nunchuk analog stick.
In Sharp Shooter configuration the nunchuk analog stick is used to aim the ping-pong ball with precision. Control Freak and Sharp Shooter both give the extra options of activating Full Focus mode with C and performing a Focus Shot with Z. The mode I used most often was the Standard Mode. It was simple and it made the game more realistic and you are still able to move your character with the D-pad. I also found Control Freak and Sharp Shooter to be fun and easy to use. Using the Standard Mode was the most realistic and it really allowed me to feel like I was really swatting a ping-pong ball.
However one thing that I think the Developers could have done to make the game more realistic would have been to change the way in which the Wii remote is held. During Gameplay you basically hold the Wii Remote in the palm of your hand, but you donít grip it like a real ping-pong paddle. If you have ever played Table Tennis in real life this is something youíll have to adjust to. For a while I kept missing the ball because I would start holding the controller the ďwrong wayĒ.
On the Main Menu you can choose between playing a Tournament, Exhibition, Training Mode, Options, Extras, Profile Manager, and Controls. In Tournament mode you will be given the option to play by yourself or with a partner. You begin by picking who your character will be and what they will be wearing. Most of the characters and outfits are unlockables. Then you select which Circuit you will be playing.
Amateur Circuit is Easy and has four Regional Matches. The Rookie Circuit is Medium and has three Regional Matches and three Nationals Matches. Pro Circuit is Hard and contains three Regional Matches, three Nationals Matches, and three World Matches. You must beat every match to continue to the next Circuit. This part of the game can be very challenging. The games controls are very similar to those in real life so if your opponent is fast you must be faster and more accurate with you swings. But each victory is well worth the effort.
During Exhibition Mode you can either play with a partner or against the computer. You can choose Easy, Medium, or Hard mode. During each mode you can choose between different Venuesís that you can have your match occur. There are several unlockable Venues. During each mode you will go through two to three matches and the first player to achieve a certain amount of points will win the match. During Training you can learn the controls of the remote and how to perform different moves. It basically explains how to play the game.
In the Options Mode you can adjust the Game Options or the Audio Controls. The Audio Controls are pretty basic and just like any other game. Game Options allows you to turn on help tips, adjust the amount of games per match, and change the amount of points per game. Extras allow you to use the Character Viewer, view your stats, the items you unlocked, and the gameís credits. Profile Manager allows you to adjust your profileís controls and create new profiles. Controls just allow you to switch between Control Modes.
Table Tennis basically takes the same things and puts them into different categories to make it seem like there is more to do. The mode that I had the most fun with is Exhibition Mode in which you can play quick games with your friends and create a team by switching people between each game. This game however does not offer any kind of team Table Tennis which is sad because one of the great aspects of the Wii is its ability for multiple people to interact and compete, and this game does make you want to get up and slam the ping pong back at your opponent. It can really get you going.
Rockstar Table Tennis graphics are nothing to get excited about. The graphics are comparable to Playstation 2 quality and a far cry from what 360 gamers got to see and play last year. The Wii system as a whole is not as focused on graphics as much as they are on fun though. The facial graphics are not bad but they basically look like a picture wrapped around a ball.
The movement is not very lifelike; itís very stiff and unrealistic. However, I am not too upset with this gameís graphics because they really did the best they could for a game of this genre on this system. Even if Table Tennis had outstanding graphics it really wouldnít have helped the overall game due to the mediocre and slightly flawed gameplay. The ping-pong on Wii Play also has very simplistic visuals, yet the gameplay and paddle to ball physics is very engaging at the same time.
The sound for Table Tennis is mediocre at best - not that the sport offers that much opportunity for sound or music. Itís the same boring song over and over that goes along with the same clack...clack...clack of the paddle, ball, and table bounces. Rockstar has really let us down in the sound department, especially for a company known to release multi-CD box set soundtracks for their "other" games.
They always seems to have fun and contemporary songs in its games, so why they allowed this game to go without, I donít know. This gameís soundtrack is the same as every other mediocre sports game I have ever played. Rockstar could have added music that would at least get your blood going and get you pumped up to play, but no; itís the same drone over and over.
This game today costs about $39.99. Do I think this game is worth $40? No; especially when the far superior 360 version is only $20. There is nothing about this game that makes me want to rush out and buy it, and itís sure to end up on the discount shelf with all the other mediocre games soon enough. I would probably not spend more than $20 on Table Tennis.
The only thing different about this game than any PlayStation version is the Wii motion sensor controls, and without the motion sensor controls (flawed as they are) this game would get really boring, really fast. The best way to describe this game is simple and I donít think that I would ever purchase this game.
I donít feel this game is the best Rockstar has to offer. They did not put as much effort into this port of Table Tennis as they could or should have and it is not a game that I would enjoy playing by myself. One of the only aspects of fun that this game has to offer is its multiplayer function. Competing against someone else is always fun and challenging.
The only people I can see getting excited about this game are avid table tennis players and they are the ones that will likely be the most disappointed since the motion controls do not replicate the action motions you make while playing real ping-pong. To have this game come out for the Wii and totally miss the entire point of Wii controls, plus not having added any fun songs or team playing makes me think they have really overlooked what the Wii is all about.