When Rockstar first announced that they were developing a Table Tennis game, I honestly thought it was some sort of joke. How do you go from creating games like Grand Theft Auto and The Warriors to a realistic sports game? And of all sports…Table Tennis!?
Although it was definitely a different direction for Rockstar, they pulled through and made an amazing game which is only available on the Xbox 360. You don’t have to be a Table Tennis fan to enjoy all that this game has to offer; the fun comes from the gameplay and not from enjoying the actual sport. The matches--whether you are playing against a computer or a real person online--can become extremely intense, even to the point where electricity is sucked out of the building! But at the same time, the game is very friendly to newcomers by offering a playable tutorial, easy single player levels and matchmaking which matches players up with equally skilled players.
If you head right into Xbox Live and start playing against other people, you are going to get badly beaten. Because the gameplay mechanics and controls are a little complex, you need to spend some time learning how the game works. The tutorial and single player tournaments are the best place to learn and experiment with techniques before you jump online.
The tutorial will take you through a number of missions where you will learn different aspects of the game. You start off by learning how to serve, including how to serve in different directions. The strength of your serve and spin of the ball is determined by a meter. If you are able to stop both the meters (spin and strength) at the top, you will have a perfect serve.
The next things you will learn in the tutorial are the different ways to hit and spin the ball. The four types of spin are: topspin, backspin, leftspin and rightspin. These are all done by using the four colored buttons on the Xbox 360 controller (A, B, X, Y). Players can also charge up these spin hits to make them more powerful by holding the buttons down. However, first players have to get lined up with the ball flying toward them and then charge up. It may seem like this is impossible to do all while the ball is flying toward you, but it is easier than you think.Pages
If a ball is about to fly off your side of the table and you can’t reach it, don't despair! By using your focus (it's built up by charging hits) you can enter a matrix-like mode where time will slow down and your character will basically dive for the ball. This feature can be a life saver and will frequently make matches extremely intense. If both players have a significantly high amount of focus stored up, the lights in the arena will shut out and the match heats up. This is what makes Table Tennis so fun: the intensity of the matches. Because of the level of intensity in the game, it is hard to get bored of playing it.