Virtua Tennis 3 will be a direct port of the version now in arcades up and down the country. (Yes, they still do sometimes features real games that aren't based on pushing coins or dance mat-stomping). That's to say that it's a graphical update and little more of Sega's acclaimed Virtua Tennis series, the slight stagnation of which has seen the arcade version, coded by Sega's Hitmaker studio, meet with some fairly mixed reviews.
Us? We still love it, and with Top Spin 2 proving a bit of a grind, this should prove an interesting alternative. All the gruntmerchants from the arcades return, and they are (deep breath): Lleyton Hewitt, Mario Ancic, Andy Roddick, Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Nalbadian, Tommy Haas (wasn't he Hitler's right-hand man?), Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, James Blake, Taylor Dent, Sebestian Grosjean and that Tim Henman. Phew. But there's more! The console versions also feature four 'new' female racketeers. Get ready for: Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams and Martina Hingis-Dale, the last of which is most notable for marrying Xbox World's staff writer. (If by 'marrying' you mean 'being stalked by' - Ed.)
The crazy mini-games will also return in what should be the definitive Virtua Tennis. Sega's Sumo Digital studio, who are handling the console ports, are going full-out on the PS3, making it a 1080p graphical showcase of Sega's new console, but as things stand, this comes at the expense of online capabilities, making it seem less than essential. After all, who wants to play tennis on their own? Someone who owns a brick wall, we suppose. If you want our advice, this is the version to go for. Especially as it's going to be so realistic that you can 'see the veins on the player's necks'. Eurgh.
Virtua Tennis can always be relied upon to serve up a decent slice of tennis, and although it's slightly disappointing that the series hasn't moved on that much, there's no doubt that this will be a welcome addition to our celebrated console. Anyone for tennis? Not us, because we've been sacked for over-using clichés. But we recommend you try it.