Average User Score: 5.3Sep 5, 2012This game has some really entertaining game play/mechanics, looking at it strictly from the standpoint of what you do when you're in a match.This game has some really entertaining game play/mechanics, looking at it strictly from the standpoint of what you do when you're in a match. The controls strike a good balance between simplicity and sophistication.* The commentary is entertaining, if a little repetitive over time. It can be fun to play.
And that's where my positives end, because for whatever time EA Sports spent in game mechanics, they seemingly spent no time whatsoever in the orchestration of the user experience across the different modes and usage patterns. Here are some examples of how the user experience off the court completely falls down.
The navigation through screens, modes, transitions, etc., is quite simply the worst and most unintuitive I've used in a game in as long as I can remember. Navigation options are often incredibly difficult to decipher, based on their descriptions (i.e. "Okay, so what to I click on now?"), and most of the time, once you do figure them out, don't make any real sense at all from an intuitiveness standpoint. And the accompanying help screens? EA, you may as well have just written "TODO" on each page of documentation, for all of the lack of value of the sparse information presented. Simply awful, not production quality at all. Somebody-should-be-fired awful. It took quite a while of playing and navigating, with trial and error, to figure out what you should and shouldn't do.
The career mode is unbelievably unrealistic and decidedly unrewarding. The first two years of your career are a total cakewalk. I lost one match in the entire 24 months of play. Then I stepped into the first match of the third year, and couldn't take more than a game from the lowest chump on the ladder. There's a complete disconnect and inconsistency in CPU player experience, from match to match.
What's more, there's nothing particularly rewarding about winning. You collect these "yearly" and "career-long" goal accomplishments that translate into "points", but the points have absolutely no bearing on how well your follow-up skills and games are going to progress. They may occasionally coincide with an enhanced racket or some attribute points, but then again you're never clear in the beginning about whether you should even play the exhibition matches (which are the only ones to yield these improvements), since it's an either/or proposition to playing in the tournament going on at the same time (the either/or proposition is something you have to find out by trial and error). And at first glance it looks like you're on a yearly quest to achieve some laundry list of win objectives that conflict with other goals, only to figure out later that all of those objectives just carry over into the next year after year anyway, if you didn't complete them in the year specified. What?
The worst part about this player feedback/improvement system, to me, is the fact that you don't develop better skills by virtue of playing (and winning). You can only up-level your skills by "training", or winning "special" (exhibition) matches. It's completely divorced from reality, which to me isn't a good quality in a reality simulator. What's also totally unrealistic, with respect to following real tennis as a fan, is that your "rank" improvements are entirely tied to this independent point-gathering system, which has nothing to do with the players you're playing (only the position in the tournament at which you face them). The end result is that, after two years and 8 Grand Slam wins in a row, I end up ranked 25th. What? And in the end, who cares? Because none of the players you play against have any meaningful ranking at all, let alone a ranking that measures against your own. What? The point system is entirely meaningless.
This game has production-quality mechanics. The rest of it, from story to navigation to incentives, is quite simply an afterthought, and in no way resembles a production-quality experience. If you care about the progression of your games, as opposed to simply playing to play, this game is not going to be for you, by a wide margin.
*Postscript: I found the Playstation Move controls to be unusable on this game. If you're looking for a great physically active PS Move game, this isn't the game for you.… Expand