The players in Virtua Tennis 4 look less zombie-like than ever and the animation is as good as it’s ever been. And I’m really digging the latest campaign mode, even though my custom tenniseer ended her long tour through Asia by crashing and burning at the Melbourne tournament. We’ll do better in Europe.
But I’m not convinced by one of Virtua Tennis’ boldest and grossest innovations: sweat. You know how characters in Dragon Age get spattered with red droplets, and then they go about their business and look ridiculous? Imagine that the droplets are white. Now apply them to famous tennis players like Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Boris Becker, and Caroline Wozniacki.
I see what Virtua Tennis is getting at, but I’m not convinced it works. The best case scenario is that these players are sweating off liberally applied sunblock. The next best case scenario is that they have buboes from some horrible plague. The next best case scenario is that they’re goddamn robots. And all of these are preferable to the first thing I thought when I saw these white droplets spattered on my tennis player’s face. I think it’s best if I just leave that to your imagination rather than actually write the Japanese term, partly because I can never remember how many K’s are in that word.
Virtua Tennis 4 is out next week and aside from the really gross sweat technology, I’m pretty well won over.