Top Spin 4

Latest in tennis sim series.

Spotlight

Digital FoundryXbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3: Round 30

SHIFT 2, LEGO Clone Wars, Top Spin 4, Red Faction: Battlegrounds, MotoGP 10/11.

Digital FoundryTop Spin 4 PS3/360 Performance Analysis

Little to tell these two apart in terms of frame-rates.

Digital FoundryTop Spin 4 PS3/360 Face-Off

A big improvement over its predecessor.

Key events

Lay-offs at 2K's Mafia 2 studio

40+ staff handed their P45s.

More than 40 staff members at 2K Czech, the studio behind crime epic Mafia 2, are looking for new jobs following redundancies this week.

Xbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3: Round 30

Digital FoundryXbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3: Round 30

SHIFT 2, LEGO Clone Wars, Top Spin 4, Red Faction: Battlegrounds, MotoGP 10/11.

Welcome to the latest skirmish in the ongoing Xbox 360 vs. PlayStation 3 Face-Off series, Digital Foundry's continuing analysis of cross-platform development on our two favourite consoles.

As we reach our 30th anniversary, perhaps a quick refresher on what we do and how we do it is in order. For each game, our capture stations ruthlessly plunder the HDMI ports of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, extracting the video output with digital lossless precision. Gameplay clips are then amassed from the raw captures, edited and synchronised, and from there the process of choosing screenshots and creating comparison videos begins.

Gameplay is analysed via our bespoke tool (dubbed internally FPSGui) which coughs up videos measuring frame-rate and screen-tear, while comparison movies are generally slowed down to 50 per cent speeds and custom-encoded to ensure the highest picture quality using the lowest amount of bandwidth.

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Top Spin 4

Top Spin 4

Smash hit.

In this era of annual sports updates churned out with metronomic regularity, it's rare for the latest version of anything to be greeted with the grand expectations that accompany big-name sequels in other genres. Whether it was a carefully plotted strategy or a consequence of shifting development to 2K Czech though, the near three-year wait for a fourth Top Spin has put us in the rare position of being quite excited about its arrival.

But let's not get the strawberries and cream in just yet. Tennis games were more or less perfected over a decade ago, and most of what has been served up since Virtua Tennis (and its even better sequel) has been trying desperately to live up to Hitmaker's astonishing achievements. Top Spin 3 got closest to nailing it, but added depth that was so poorly explained that it took an age to understand what it wanted from you.

2K knew it had to do a far better job of easing players into the game, while still retaining some of that depth that more committed players demand, and from the moment you enter the fourth game's helpful Top Spin Academy you get the sense of a more measured, patient approach that tries to teach you the full array of shots as well as the strategy behind them.

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Top Spin 4

Love-in.

Pick up and play mechanics may have served every previous tennis title in history, but 2008's Top Spin 3 was devoid of wussy visual indicators like power bars. Instead it was down to players to figure out the correct timing.

TopSpin 4 UK release date

TopSpin 4 UK release date

Development nearly Wimbledon.

The Andy Murray-fronted Top Spin 4 will release in the UK on 18th March, 2K Games has announced.

The US is served earlier that week on 15th March.

Developer 2K Czech (Mafia II) claims that Top Spin 4 has an "uncanny level of realism". Other improvements are painstakingly animated tennis stars, which include Andre Agassi, Pete Samprass, Andy Murray, Jim Courier and Bjorn Borg. There's no mention of Tim Henman.

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Top Spin 4 US release date revealed

Top Spin 4 US release date revealed

UK date announcement tomorrow.

PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 tennis simulation Top Spin 4 will launch in the US on 15th March, 2K Sports has announced.

2K Sports will confirm a European launch date tomorrow, Eurogamer understands.

The release date confirmation comes from the game's Facebook page. Also confirmed is Move support for the PlayStation 3 version.

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Top Spin 4 announced

Top Spin 4 announced

Has "uncanny level of realism".

2K Sports has announced tennis simulation Top Spin 4.

It's due out next year for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii, and is in development over at Mafia II creator 2K Czech.

We're promised redesigned controls, "jaw-dropping" player models and "Signature Style" animations.

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