Great news for those who've grown tired of buttons: EA Sports' twin-stick stuff has finally made its debut on the Centre Court. Unlike Fight Night's tricky stick-swishing, the basics of Grand Slam are easy: left stick moves the man, right stick does the shot. Simple enough, but there's more here to master.
Flicking back adds slice to the shot, and back then forwards adds top spin. The speed with which you flick the stick affects the depth of the placement of your shot, and timing affects power and accuracy. Holding down the left trigger performs a lob shot where possible, while the right trigger is used to pull off a drop shot. Button controls are still in play for those that miss them, but the twin-stick controls feel hugely superior.
All four Grand Slam tournaments are here, but EA has exclusively snagged Wimbledon. We'd have been content with a knock-off version, but accuracy fans will be thrilled. Commentary from John McEnroe and Pat Cash is a highlight, adding meandering discussion about play styles and tactics. Despite the great controls and incredible production values, Grand Slam's inexcusably lengthy load times and flimsy single-player let it down.
The historic matches of ESPN's Grand Slam Classics mode are great fun to dip in and out of, but the main career mode feels wafer-thin and lifeless, damaged by a difficulty curve that takes far too long to kick in. The multiplayer holds it together. If you aren't picking it up for same-sofa action, the Xbox Live offering feels pleasantly meaty.
Head to Head mode is Ronseal stuff, but Grand Slam Corner creates a Foursquare mayor-style mode that lets you raise your worldwide ranking on one specific court. There's also Battle of the Nations - a tournament that bumps up your country's standing with every win.
Playing alone feels slow and soulless, but the great controls and multiplayer features still make Grand Slam Tennis 2 well worth a bosh.
Smashing with mates, but less fun alone
- New controls are super-nifty
- Aesthetically lovely all over
- Commentary from McEnroe
- Load times are way too long
- Career mode isn't much fun