Even with fancy visual upgrades and the addition of motion controls, Virtua Tennis 4
is still the game players will remember from 1999. In fact, motion controls are such a small part of the experience it is a little odd that they were added at all. PlayStation Move is only enabled during offline exhibition matches and in two mini-games; the rest of the time you're left with a standard control setup.
Virtua Tennis has always been about your position on the court, and Virtua Tennis 4 is no different. The three basic shot types -- top spin, slice, and lob -- are mapped to the face buttons and angled/ directed with the Left Analog Stick. Depending on where you are on the court, you can perform additions shots, like volleys or power shots. The system is incredibly easy to learn and even players who know little about tennis should be able to jump in and begin playing. As long as you are near the ball and hit the button at the right time, you should be fine.
On one hand, the setup is great; Virtua Tennis 4 is very newcomer friendly. At the same time, there's an amazing lack of depth to the mechanics once you get them down. You have to get the timing down right, so shots aren't automatic. However, even if you're just close to the ball, you'll return it (though it will be weak). It's fun for a few matches and that's it.
Another new feature are Super Shots. After filling an on-screen meter, you can perform a Super Shot, which are character-specific "signature shots." Although they come with a nice bit of visual flair, they aren't a marked improvement over normal shots, particularly for the amount of time it takes for the meter to fill.
It's hard to not see Move support as a last minute addition. Aside from the limited implementation, you're restricted to swings similar to Wii Sports. The swing mechanics feel right. It's not exactly "just like the real thing," but it is close enough to be fun. The drawback is you need a lot of space.
Though I wouldn't label Virtua Tennis 4 terrible, I wouldn't call it good either. There are a few really good ideas, though there's nothing holding those ideas together. I can see where the developers are trying to go, though Virtua Tennis 4 doesn't have enough in the tank to get there.