Atari Preview Day: Hands-on with Smash Court Tennis

Smash Court Tennis 3 is looking to undercut the competition with the newest game in the series. Unlike other tennis games, SCT 3 is adding some role-playing elements to create a very deep customization system. Plus, it’s going to be about $20 cheaper than regular Xbox 360 games. 

The game will be very deep, but Smash Court will still be easy to pick up for players new to this sports genre. Hit the jump to read up on my hands-on, and no, there aren’t loud orgasmic moans when the players hit the balls … sadly. 

Smash Court Tennis 3 will have 16 licensed players including Roger Federer, Justine Henin and a bunch of other people I have never heard of before. If, however, you don’t want to play with one of the 16 pro athletes, you can always make your own character.

Everything about a character is completely customizable. From sex, race, play style, left- or right-handedness to every body part, everything is up to you. Hell, you can make a freaky chicken-looking man and it’ll play just fine.

You’ll be able to assign skill points to your players to help improve their skills. You can make a person really good at volleying, or really good at the backhand, and so on. You can also have a four-year plan for your player and determine what your character will focus his attention on more during his career. Will you want to be the best during your training, or during important tournaments? It’s up to you how your character’s career will be.  

A really neat thing is that after a play is done, you can have your character react. You can make your character act sportsmanlike and be happy with what just transpired, or get really angry at a play. Getting angry a lot could scare away potential sponsors, though. The crowd will also react to your reactions. 

Smash Court 3 has licensed players, but the game doesn’t have licensed courts. It’s actually a good thing in this case, as the team went a little crazy with the the dozen-plus levels. Easily my favorite court is the Dubai level, as the court is in the top center of three giant high-rises. Hate to be the guy underneath the court that gets nailed with a tennis ball. You can pick between three different views and the time of day before playing on a court, too.

Control-wise, SCT 3 plays great. It can be very simple for new players and can be very deep for experienced players. Each face button on the 360 controller will be associated with different types of swings, such as lob, back spin, no back spin, etc. The last tennis game I played was Virtua Tennis on the Dreamcast, and I was easily able to pick up Smash Court with no problem. I still got my ass kicked, though, in the match I played.

Smash Court Tennis 3 will also feature unique mini-games, four players on- and off-line, and much more. Expect this game to come out around August.

Hamza Aziz