Sega should be congratulated on successfully scaling the difficulty level in World Tour mode. It really does reward you and challenge you in equal measures as you start to master your game. Once you’ve found yourself waltzing through entry level tournaments, you’ll break into the sub-204 ranking competitions and realise that you’re not quite as good as you thought you were. Then, just when you start winning a few trophies there and your ranking climbs to sub-100 level, you’ll end up getting blown off the court in round one of your first sub-100 tournament!
But the beauty of the progressive difficulty is that VT3 never becomes frustrating. When Tim Henman (Oh the shame!) wipes the floor with you in the first round, it just makes you want to train harder, get better and win that next trophy. And you know what? That’s exactly what happens! VT3 wants you to learn and improve, it wants you to get the timing of your shot closer and closer to perfection, in fact it wants you to achieve that World number one ranking.
There are a few oddities thrown into the mix though. Occasionally a random player will approach you for a chat – sometimes they’ll tell you that you played well, other times that they’ll beat you next game and sometimes they’ll just come out with truly random observations. I’m not sure what Sega thought this would add to the game, and I’m also not sure how I’d feel if I was one of the licensed pros, seeing myself wander up to screen and make some random, throwaway comment. At least it doesn’t detract from the gameplay – you’re more likely to just sit there with a puzzled expression on your face, I know I did.
You also get to mix things up a bit by entering doubles tournaments as well. After you’ve chosen a partner from the list of Tour pros, you get to enjoy the delights of a fast and furious array of rallies. In fact, doubles play can be a real adventure when you’re playing with real people – just make sure your friendships are strong, because tempers can fray when your partner keeps missing those simple returns! And here lies the true longevity of a game like VT3 – the World Tour mode is great and will keep you going for a good while, but it’s the multiplayer angle that will keep you coming back time and time again.