Originally released for the Xbox 360, Table Tennis was an unusual entry for Grand Theft Auto developers Rockstar. Even so it was well received by critics and gamers alike thanks to its high resolution visuals and hardcore gameplay. So how does the Rockstar Presents Table Tennis Wii port with its added motion controls and reduced graphics detail shape up?
As you would expect from a game with such a simple premise (hitting a plastic ball about) there isn’t a big story to deal with, simply choose a player and play some ping pong.
There are two main game modes, Tournament which sees you battling your way against cpu opponents to win Bronze, Silver and Gold medals or an Exhibition match which is just a friendly game (either with the cpu or another human).
In tournament mode you can choose from Easy, Medium and Hard difficulties each with a varying number of rounds – in each match you need to win two out of three games by scoring 11 points (or 12 if it is tied at 10). If you succeed in defeating everybody you’ll end up winning a medal and unlock extra content along the way. Completing tournament mode on easy isn’t actually that easy and if you’re brave enough to jump in at hard then you’ll have to be very lucky not to get beaten right away. To get the hang of all the various shots it is advised to use the Training mode, here you can practice every type of shot including spinning which you’ll need to master these before you’ll be able to defeat a CPU opponent. You can hit shots forehand, backhand, slow and fast – as well as adding spin (left, right, top and back).
Surprisingly playing Table Tennis against the CPU isn’t too bad, it plays realistically enough without being too much like superman, making the odd mistake and letting you get a quality shot in. The controls feel realistic enough, you swing in the rough direction you want to hit the ball, add spin by charging a D-Pad direction before you swing or either hitting A for a soft shot and B for a hard shot. If you plug in the Nunchuck you can play in expert mode which lets you move your character manually with the analogue stick, this provides you with more control and allows you to move away from the table to allow for harder more charged shots, but on higher difficulties it is very tough going to move you character fast enough and time your swings. We found it fun enough playing through with the easy Wii Remote only controls which are very similar to what you had with Wii Sports Tennis. Because we haven’t got MotionPlus yet, it’s more gesture than motion controlled – which means you swing and then the game reacts, rather than a real time swing as you move your arm. Rockstar’s Table Tennis for Wii really comes alive in 2 player exhibition mode; it’s so much more fun to be beating a real rival as opposed to a virtual one and if you have someone else to play with, you’re bound to have some fun with it – though you’ll need to play through the tournament many times to unlock everything. Interestingly it’s not just a case of winning every match to unlock everything; you’re expected to win in various different ways – so you might have to win a match from being a game behind, or your final shot being a smash.
Graphically Rockstar Presents Table Tennis Wii isn’t too bad, the resolution and detail of the 360 version is lacking, but the framerate, game engine and character models all seem to be the same structurally – which is neat. The in game characters do seem to have a plasticky looking skin tone, making them look like mannequins – but apart from that, they look fine and the physical animation/motion capture is superb. The sound effects and music are ok – though not amazing, you could play this game with the volume down and not be missing too much.
So overall then Table Tennis for Wii is a fun game for two players, just not as much for the single players amongst you. A real challenge to be had on the harder levels, but the long rallies needed to win points again tough CPU opponents means that all the arm swinging can get quite tiring after a while, a few more cases of Wii tennis elbow to be had here – make sure to rest regularly folks. We give Rockstar Presents Table Tennis for Wii an ok 6 out of 10.
Related: Wii Sports 2