The big potential pitfall for the Wii has always been that development teams will merely try and port their already much loved titles from other formats. Might not sound too bad in theory, but who wants to play the same old games with the added bonus of sore forearms? Not us.
Rockstar’s Table Tennis on the Xbox 360 was a heck of a surprise. Lacking any real build up until incredibly close to release, most were dismissive of a video game example of the kind of sport that doesn’t exactly see us all crowding round the TV on a Saturday afternoon.
But with its stunning analogue stick based control system, allowing you to smack shots into any corner of the table with unnerving accuracy, it shot to prominence as a online multiplayer favourite. This Wii version however attempts to cram in a similar control method to Wii Sports tennis, and manages to become a much less enjoyable game for it.
Purely and simply, the Wii Remote controls have essentially broken Table Tennis. Two of the three available control methods allow you to swing the Remote as you would a real table tennis racket, conceivably smacking the ball to the exact spot on the table you wish to aim for, all with a devilish hint of spin to make your opponents return all the more difficult.
Sadly, it just doesn’t really work. Though it doesn’t stumble into the trap of neglecting to register half of your strokes, the hit you conceived in your head rarely seems to correlate with what occurs on screen. All too often that deep hit right to the back of the table, just hitting the back left hand corner will drop easily dead centre, opening yourself up to yet another lost point.
Admittedly this big problem is negated by the last control method, which allows you to choose the placement of each shot with the Nunchuk, and the power with a swing of the Remote. But that one simply feels ridiculously odd. It’s actually quite difficult to grasp that the simple swinging action that your character on screen has initiated has had to be created by both your hands.
The control method isn’t the only major miss in this version of Table Tennis. Graphically the game isn’t half as crisp and lacks the absolutely beauty of the Xbox 360 original. There may be merely two characters on screen, but the Wii has still had to contend with a port that’s certainly lacking in comparison to its older sibling.
It gets worse too, with the online multiplayer option ripped completely out. Online Table Tennis was an absolute joy, and one of the very few sporting titles (we’re looking at you Pro Evo) that didn’t possess any kind of crippling lag that ruined the nuances of control. Such a huge miss when you consider the massive multiplayer potential the Wii has with so many owners.
Plus points are few. For fans of Wii Sports tennis that crave a touch more depth, then Table Tennis certainly out strips its Nintendo developed compatriot. But considering this is a full priced title rather than a mere bundle addition, that was always to be expected.
Wii based ports have consistently hovered around a poor standard, with cut down aesthetics combined with a horribly included control method. Table Tennis is no different.
The controls are essentially broken, and rip out almost every ounce of enjoyment of those long rally’s. The lack of online multiplayer steals away another huge amount of potential. All in all, Table Tennis on the Wii is one to avoid.
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