Video Game Tip Sheet: Top Spin 4

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Tennis fan? Video gamer? Home-exercise buff? You want 2K Games’ Top Spin 4. Whether you’re squaring off against the computer or reaching for shots from a virtual pitcher, 2K’s pro-simulation gives you the most realistic tennis experience you’ll find off the clay, grass, or concrete.

Check out Top Spin 4 associate producer Michael Kelly’s Techland pointers on how to perfect your game, and we’ll see you on the courts!

Countering Your Shot

When you receive a powerful shot from your opponent and don’t have enough time to press and hold long enough for a Power Shot, think Flat Control Shots. Flat Control Shots can be used as counter shot, and when you time them well against a powerful shot from your opponent, this can help you switch from defense to offense.

Neutralize Your Opponent

When you’re in trouble during a rally and your opponent seems to have the edge, try using deep top spin or slice Control Shots in the center of the court. These shots will prevent your opponent from finding challenging angles, giving you time to reposition and help you setup your next shot.

Manage Your Fatigue

Your fatigue increases when you need to run fast and when you play powerful shots. The impact of fatigue is slower movement and slower reaction time as well as less precise shots. If you want to exhaust your opponent and increase your chances of winning, use Control Shots instead of Power Shots.

Take the Net

Going to the net is critical for serve and volley players. One of the most efficient ways to get there is to play a slice shot followed to the net (RB + X) aimed at the side of the court. That’ll force your opponent to move far from the center, leaving the court wide open for your next volley.

Aim for the Feet

When your opponent is at the net and you can’t find an opening for a passing shot, aim for his feet with a top spin or slice Control Shot. This prevents your opponent from attacking and probably offers you an opportunity to go for a powerful passing shot.

Select the Appropriate Volley

When you’re at the net, selecting the appropriate volley is important. Power volleys (B) should only be used when the ball is high and easy, otherwise the ball is likely to go out. If you’re in difficulty (the passing shot is far from you or the ball is at your feet), use Control Volleys (X), that will allow you to aim with precision and force your opponent to move. In all other situations, Standard Volley (A) is probably the most appropriate choice.

See the Weak Side

Before each match, don’t forget to check your opponent’s attributes to see where he’s strong and where he’s weak and adapt your strategy accordingly. For example, if your opponent’s Forehand attribute is 90 and his Backhand is 60, you may want to play most of your shots on his backhand. This results in weaker and less precise shots that should be easier for you to handle. Same thing if your opponent is weak in Volley. In this case, you may want to draw him to the net and finish with passing shots he won’t be able to return.

Power Isn’t Everything

When you’re playing against a Power player that hammers you down with Power Shots, try to return difficult balls. Power Shots are powerful, no doubt, but they’re also a lot riskier than any other type of shot. If you manage to return a ball that bounces just in front of your opponent or that’s very low (top spin or slice Control Shots are good for this), your opponent’s shots will be more difficult, resulting in errors or less precise shots.

Inside Out

If your player is stronger on his forehand than on his backhand (or vice versa) and your opponent is constantly aiming for your weak side, think inside out (LT + left stick in the direction of the ball). That forces the other player to go out of the way to play the ball on the other side of the trajectory, allowing you to decide whether you want to play a forehand or a backhand, and resulting in more efficient shots.

(Thanks Michael!)