Racquet Sports For Move Is PS3 Sports Tennis

If it wasn't for the fact that it appears to be an -ahem- expansion of Wii Sports Tennis, the most notable aspect of Ubisoft's Move version of Racquet Sports would be that its characters look like Xbox 360 Avatars.

It's possible this game is one big inside joke.

But it's also possible that it can fill that Wii Sports tennis niche for owners of the PlayStation 3's new wand-shaped Move motion controller. That's a good niche to fill if there's an untapped audience there.

Racquet Sports was originally released for the Wii this spring, supporting the Wii Remote, the optional MotionPlus add-on or even the Ubisoft camera for controller free play (another game design in-joke?) The experience gets fancier graphics for PS3 where it is being ported for the September Move launch.

Racquet Sports allows up to four players, each using a Move wand, to compete in five sports: tennis, badminton, squash, beach tennis and table tennis. Each sport also has a single-player career campaign, which involves playing through several tournaments. The game includes an online mode for up to two players, though it wasn't clear from the build sent to Kotaku whether that online play consists of multiplayer head-to-head competition or simply a comparison of scores in local matches.

You control tennis and the other sports in Ubisoft's game similarly to how you would a player in Wii Sports tennis. Character movement is mostly automated, leaving the player to worry about racket swings. You do have a little bit of control of the legwork. Holding down a controller button commands your athlete to rush the net. And, in an "advanced" controls setting, you will only be able to have your athlete run around the court at his or her needed speed if you lean the Move wand in the direction they are heading in. The game tracks underhand and overhand swings, adding spin to your shots. It registers how hard you hit, though it is not immune to that old Wii trick of flicking at the wrist or forearm instead of using a full shoulder rotation.

One of the draws here is that this take on simplified video game tennis is graphically rich. Your courts have more detail. You might, for example, be playing squash in a glass undersea court surrounded by swimming sharks. Your characters, too, look more like cartoonish Xbox Avatars, complete with changeable outfits, and less like abstract Wii people, Miis.

The more appealing draw, though, is that the game has more than just tennis. Table tennis is quick and fine. Badminton is the interesting surprise, as it plays slowly and then, when that shuttlecock is spiked, suddenly very quickly. Squash isn't the workout it seems like it should be but is good in multiplayer. Beach tennis is the extra that doesn't seem necessary.

Racquet Sports seems like a decent game of its type in terms of presentation and content, but the review build we were sent — one we are not reviewing because, frankly, we didn't have more than about three hours of solo and multiplayer play time logged with a game that has multiple lengthy tournament careers — has some troubling issues. In single-player, the game's artificial intelligence varies greatly. Computer opponents are terrible at table tennis but they can swat back just about anything you throw at them even early in a squash career. The game also seems to have some of those old Wii problems of not always registering a swing when you might be sure you just swung your arm. For all of the added precision that PlayStation Move provides, the motion-tracking in this game feels spotty. Sometimes it is great. Other times you are sure your guy should have just punched out a back-hand.

This game is worth a look for those who hanker for some Wii Sports tennis but have somehow avoided getting a Wii. That, however, seems like a minuscule audience. Racquet Sports isn't doing anything new with Move. It's just doing what you'd guess someone was going to do with a controller that could be accused of being a fancier Wii Remote.