There are eleven different characters to choose from in Rockstar's Table Tennis, although only a few of them are available at the start of the game. Win enough tournaments (or play enough exhibition games) and you'll eventually meet a diverse group of Table Tennis champions. Each of the characters represents a different country, everything from the USA to China to Brazil and even Egypt. Each of the Table Tennis champs has a unique stance and serve, they even hold their paddles differently.
The characters in Rockstar's Table Tennis do more than just look different; they actually have different strengths and weaknesses. Much like a fighting game, the characters in Table Tennis have their own unique way of playing the game, each person feels different from the last. Some are faster than others, others are stronger, some get tired quickly, and there are a few that are just no good at serving. You will have to play every character if you want to learn who is right for you.
Strangely enough that's not the only similarity this game shares with your average fighting game. Games are played with three rounds, or whoever manages to get two wins first. Players take turn serving the ball and the first person to 11 wins. Outside of that there isn't much more you will need to know about the grand sport of Table Tennis, which is good because when that rally gets going it rarely slows down.
Since the players are only feet away from each other the game's speed has a tendency of ramping up rather quickly. You may start with a few soft hits, but it won't take long before both of you are trying to out-smash the other person. If the game's stats are to be believed these balls can go well over sixty miles per hour. With the ball traveling that fast all it takes is one stupid mistake and the point goes to your opponent. Rockstar's Table Tennis is the type of game that gets real exciting real quick. Although it's easy to compare this game to all of the tennis simulators out there, the game's speed and intensity really sets Table Tennis apart.
The presentation in this game is first class from beginning to end, the game looks as good as it plays. The venues are never as large as what you find a basketball or football game; instead they are small cozy locations with poor lighting. From time you time you will get an audience, but there are just as many levels where it's just you and another person in an abandoned gym. There are 19 different venues in all, including a few that are real easy on the eyes. It's interesting to see the difference in the table tennis table; some are fancy while others appear to be run down. But no matter how good the backgrounds look, chances are you'll be too busy trying to keep track of the ball to actually pay attention to the surroundings.
The characters themselves look amazing, especially when the camera gets up close and you see their emotions (and virtual skin). You can really see how tired the characters are as the match goes on, they start breathing a little harder and their clothes start soaking up the sweat. The clothing itself is independent from the player's body, which means that it has a tendency of moving all around and bunching up. With its realistic animation and characters, Table Tennis definitely looks and feels like a next generation game. It may just be table tennis, but it's the best damn looking game of table tennis you've ever seen.
Rockstar Games comes through with one of the best playing sports games of the year. It may seem unconventional, but Rockstar's Table Tennis is easily one of the most fun two-player games since the original Street Fighter II!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!