Rockstar Table Tennis Reviews

  • SashamorningSashamorning2,318,362
    28 Sep 2010
    41 10 4
    As the anecdote goes (I don't know if it's true or not... but who cares?), this game was originally a joke. Rockstar is known for making violent, sometimes brutal, acclaimed games such as the Grand Theft Auto series, Manhunt, Max Payne and, more recently, Red Dead Redemption. Well, as the story goes, someone at Rockstar thought it might be funny if, after all of the attention-grabbing games of the past, they just made a normal, "boring" game of table tennis instead.

    No joke. What happened next is just a damn good game.

    Even reviewers introduced to it before it came out thought it was a hoax. Nope. Even better, with Rockstar's meticulous attention to detail, Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis is actually one of the best sports simulators... well, ever. Period.

    TT seems like an easy game at first. You serve the ball, you hit the ball, score some points, win. Right. Not so fast. Rockstar has given you the ability to use different spins in your serves and returns, the ability to place the ball where you want, and everything else you'd expect from an actual game of table tennis. Including the little subtleties... when to float the ball just over the net (and HOW to do that), when to power it to the outside when they're not expecting it, and so on.

    You can use either buttons or the analog stick to control your spins. While the buttons work fine, the stick takes some getting used to, but pays off with the subtle control you can master. The opponents are no pushovers, either... some of them are quite challenging. You get to choose one of the basic ones at the beginning, and you can unlock others as you progress.

    The game looks and feels real, too. It's a stripped down game, not much glitz or glamour involved... even the players are "average-looking." The entire focus is on the game. You, your opponent, and the ball. It's maddening at times, yet addictive. Replaying the same opponent over and over again to get used to their style pays rewards in the end if you're willing to put the time in and learn.

    The achievements in this game are daunting. There are few pushovers, here. The difficulties ramp up as you advance in your career, and some opponents you may never master. That makes these all the more rewarding when you do. This is why the game still hovers around a 4.0 TA ratio... the difficulty is not insignificant. In addition, trying to beat the hardest circuit with every player... even the weaker ones... is quite an achievement, and worth every point you earn from that.

    In its essence, Rockstar got it right. Table tennis is a very subtle game, and those subtleties are built into the program. This is a game you should pick up for the fun, not the achievements. I think you'll find the gameplay addictive if you can get past the initial frustration, and once you understand how to use your tools to slice that wicked curve right past your opponent. It's also great online, even if there isn't much of a community anymore. Still, considering its bargain bin status, and although Rockstar Table Tennis is by no means an easy completion, it's worth picking up.

    No joke.
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    SashamorningThanks! I try to write well whenever possible. ^_^
    Posted by Sashamorning on 01 Oct 10 at 01:57
    Legit SpamI had this game for over a year before I played it & now I'm on a mission for 1000G. Very challenging but as every game should be, the cheevos are based on skill & not random game code. I hope more people pick it up & play it but only after I get my 1000G & 4000 TA points.
    Posted by Legit Spam on 16 Jan 11 at 23:14
    Vinicius MentiWhy would people give this a thumbs down? Never played the game, but this is a very good review.
    Posted by Vinicius Menti on 19 Jun 12 at 16:10
  • Sonic SleuthSonic Sleuth283,604
    18 Apr 2011
    7 10 1
    The year was 2006. Chuck opened up the weekend Fry's Electronics ad and saw a rare beast - a brand new Xbox 360 release for only $19.99. I'll buy just about any new release for a Jackson and change, but this was a wierd one... a table tennis game... by Rockstar games. Uh, what? Weren't they supposed to be working on Grand Theft Auto for my next-generation space heater/time waster, rather than embarrasing themselves with a ping pong game? Cheap or not, Chuck passed on this one... that is, until it dropped to the two buck range.

    Many gamers have spend time embarrasing themselves playing table tennis, especially with the Wii and Kinect versions of the game becoming popular. Rockstar's version of this classic game isn't cutesy or clunky like the motion-controlled versions, it's deadly serious, with a feel closer to international Olympic competition than church basement entertainment. Once into your first volley, you'll realize this is more challenging than fun, similar to the Top Spin Tennis series.

    Taking it from that perspective, the game succeeds in providing a terrific challenge... maybe too terrific. Jesper, a stern Swede, proved too much for me in both of the early tournaments, and I was forced to replay his match again and again, more frustrated with each play. Volleys with Jesper commonly stretch to over twenty strokes, and the game becomes a war of attrition waiting for him to overshoot the playing surface. Chuck felt the realism with every swing of the paddle, and losing the lightning-quick volleys stung every single time. Is it entertaining? Sure, in the same way that hacking away on the golf course is for most 40 handicaps... minus the sunshine and drinks on the 19th hole.

    Presentation-wise, Rockstar Games' Table Tennis excels in the way most next-gen sports titles do, with realistic characters and pitch-perfect sound effects. Chuck would've liked to see a few cute girls in the mix, since the included female players look like they've been trained using the Russian olympic method. Controls are slick, with both analog sticks employed, but when the volley speed picks up, most gamers would do better to employ the button-mashing method, each button representing a different spin on the ball. The analog stick swings are just too slow to keep up with faster matches. Thankfully, the game includes an expansive tutorial that explains the intricacies of the control method, and rewards gamers with The Graduate achievement for training perfectly.

    Most of the achievements will never be unlocked, sadly. Chuck wouldn't recommend this game for anyone out to grab cheap gamerscore, since half the points are won online, and there just aren't that many players online for this ancient game. Granted, it's not a dead title online, so if you have a friend (or six) who can help you earn The G.O.A.T and The Net Veteran, you'll have 200 GS that are incredibly rare in the 360 community. Even if you have a boosting buddy, you'll need to become a great player to earn most of the offline achievements.

    So, is Rockstar Games' Table Tennis worth a couple bucks? Chuck says so, if you want a unique challenge and you have a friend with another couple bucks to face online. It's definitely not a bad game, and unlike other two buck sports titles, there haven't been newer updates that make this game look like a dinosaur. This sucker can be snagged on or for under three dollars, and just about every GameStop sells it for under five bucks - cheaper if you buy it during a promotion or with their discount club card.

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