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Overview

Top Spin 3 is a tennis game that was developed by PAM Development, published by 2K Sports, and released in 2008 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii, though the Wii iteration differs quite a bit from the other home console versions. A watered-down portable version was also developed and made its way onto the Nintendo DS. The American cover of Top Spin 3 features Roger Federer at the front with Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick to the left and right of him respectively. Andy Murray appears instead of Roddick in the British cover.

Gameplay

Tomas Berdych hitting the ball
The Top Spin series has always been known to take a more realistic approach when it comes to the actual game mechanics, with a larger emphasis on player position and momentum to beat your opponent. Top Spin 3 is no different. Shot selection and placement is more important in this game than the more arcade-like rivals such as Virtua Tennis, which means choosing what to do with the ball is key to winning a rally. Balls can be hit flat, with top spin, or with slice, while drop and lob shots can also be executed.
 
The game features an evolved control scheme, which makes significant modifications to the gameplay compared to previous installments. A hold-and-release system is implemented to allow for greater flexibility; the player must hold down a shot button before the ball reaches them (starting at about the point at which the ball crosses the net), and then release just after the bounce to hit the shot. During the time the button is held, you can manoveur the player into the best position for the shot to maximise power and accuracy. This system puts an added emphasis on anticipation and variety to beat an opponent.
 
All of these characteristics make Top Spin 3 an initially tricky title to get into. However, a tutorial mode walks the player through the basic and more complicated concepts of the game.
 

Single-Player

Top Spin 3 includes a variety of game modes:

Exhibition

Exhibition allows two or four players, either all human or a mixture of humans and AI-controlled characters, to play a singles or doubles match with no repercussions.

 You'll probably have to face Roger Federer at some point

World Tour

The meat of Top Spin 3 is in its World Tour mode, where after creating a new tennis player, you start your career at the bottom as an amateur, slowly working your way up in hope that you will one day be invited to join the professional tour. By becoming the world number one, you will then have an opportunity to become an all-time tennis legend. Winning matches grants XP, which can be used to improve your created player in different departments, and unlock points, which can be spent at the shop to acquire new clothes and gear.

Tournament

The other single-player mode is Tournament mode. Here, the game allows you to compete in a variety of individual tournaments without playing through the World Tour.
 

Multiplayer

Multiplayer allows use of your created character from your offline career mode. There are two different modes that can be played online:

Player Match

This is a typical exhibition singles or doubles match.

World Tour

The World Tour mode allows you to enter several tournaments, including Grand Slams and Masters. In a tournament, you are drawn against others who have entered. By winning successive matches, you can progress through and eventually win the event. You can only enter each tournament once, so if you get knocked out or end up as champion, you must wait until the season ends before trying again. Each season in this mode lasts fifteen days. 

Character Creation

Top Spin 3 includes a deep character creator. All sorts of things like gender, individual facial features (like eyes, nose, mouth, jaw, and cheeks), hair, stance, and technique can be modified. When altering the player's face, you can either use preset options or use sliders to have more control over the look.

Roster

Due to contractual obligations, Rafael Nadal is only available exclusively to the PlayStation 3 version of Top Spin 3. Players that feature in both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions are as follows:


The gentlemen

Men


 The ladies

Women


Legends

 
The Wii roster does not include Borg or Seles.

Venues

Many of the events featured are based on their real-life counterparts. This includes three Grand Slams and eight Masters tournaments. Wimbledon does not feature, as the developer was unable to attain the rights for it. A fictional grass court in Ireland is used instead.
 
There are dozens of different venues that can be played in:
Brinsley Carlenton Court - the game's equivalent of Wimbledon


Grand Slams


Masters

  • Pacific Life Open - Indian Wells, USA (Hard)
  • Sony Ericsson Open - Miami, USA (Hard)
     Roland Garros

Other Hard Venues

 The Indian Wells Masters
  • Vienna Tennis Center - Vienna, Austria
  • Seoul Colosseum - Seoul, South Korea
  • Estadio do Sol - Estoril, Portugal
  • Texas Arena - Dallas, USA
  • Amsterdam Tennis Park - Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Abhijava Stadium - New Delhi, India
  • Chicago Public Courts - Chicago, USA
  • Silvije Krleza - Omis, Croatia
  • Atlanta's Doves - Atlanta, USA
  • Kobe Community Tennis Courts - Kobe, Japan
  • El Sol Spring Camp - Mexico City, Mexico
  • Mediterranean Leisure Club - Zekynthos, Greece
  • Tennis Park - Hamilton, Bermuda

Other Clay Venues

  • Barcelona Tennis Arena - Barcelona, Spain
  • Westside Drive - Houston, USA
  • Buenos Aires Tennis Center - Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Casablanca Tennis Complex - Casablanca, Morocco
  • Teranga Tennis Court - Dakar, Senegal

Other Grass Venues

  • London Tennis Club - London, England
  • Thorsten Brom Stadium - Munich, Germany
  • Boston Bay Tennis Center - Boston, USA
  • New Hampbridge College Court - New Hampbridge, England

Other Indoor Venues

 

Soundtrack

The game has a licensed soundtrack of eight songs from six different music artists. The track that features most prominently--for example, in the opening montage and the main menu--is "Huddle Formation" by British indie band The Go! Team. Other artists and songs in Top Spin 3 are:
 
  • Boys Like Girls - "The Great Escape"
  • Calvin Harris - "Acceptable in the 80s", "Disco Heat", "The Girls"
  • Franz Ferdinand - "Do You Want To?"
  • Jamiroquai - "Canned Heat"
  • Stone Roses - "Fool's Gold"

The Wii Version

Top Spin 3 on the Wii is slightly different when compared to the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 games. While there is no World Tour mode or online multiplayer, it does have a handful of party games that can be played with three friends. The game is also played with motion controls using a Wii remote and a nunchuk attachment, and is much easier to pick up and play, as is expected from a Wii title.
 

The DS Version

In addition to the majority of players and venues from the home consoles, the DS cart also contains Play Now, Career, Tournament, and Minigames modes and multiplayer functionality. The Career mode is similar to the World Tour mode, but has a few changes, most notably the option to play training games to boost your player's stats or to play event minigames to earn new items for your character.
 

Reception

 Top Spin 3 on the DS
The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Top Spin 3 were generally positively received by gaming critics. The majority of reviewers discuss the tough learning curve, but conclude that once you get the hang of the game, it becomes very satisfying to play. IGN noted that "deep controls liken Top Spin 3 to the genuine article more than most sports games", calling them "inaccessible" but in time "you'll reap the rewards". Eurogamer calls it a "technical tour-de-force" and the "thinking man's tennis title", but 1UP was less complimentary, saying that it's "prohibitive to folks who don't want to spend hours in the school of hard knocks".
 
The Wii and DS iterations garnered mixed reviews. Some critics have commented on how the Wii game lacks the depth and lasting appeal to make it a memorable tennis simulation. Top Spin 3 on the DS has been acknowledged to be a vast improvement on Top Spin 2, as its predecessor suffered from severe frame-rate issues, but opinion is split on whether the core gameplay is fun or not.

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