By Andrew Podolsky 02/12/2007 Since the emergence of motion-controlled next generation hardware, videogame tennis has been trying to find a good fit. Following Wii Sports is Virtua Tennis 3, the latest version of Sega's popular tennis simulation series.

We were curious if PlayStation 3's controller would be a good match for tennis, but our time with an early version of the game found that twisting and jerking the Sixaxis might not be the best way to control Virtua Tennis 3. By tilting the controller back and forth, or left and right, your player will run around the court. Twisting the controller makes you hit the ball with a spin, and jerking the controller up or down will make you hit with a high or low smash.

When compared to classic Virtua Tennis, the ability to tilt and twist doesn't really add much to the gameplay. In fact, it makes the controls less precise and more frustrating. If you want to plant yourself in a certain spot to return the ball, getting there is unnecessarily difficult, and you have little control over the direction and force of your swings. You won't be able to replicate a real tennis swing with the Sixaxis controls.

SCREENS: Do you have what it takes to beat the pros? [Click the image above to check out all Virtua Tennis 3 screens.]

Fortunately, motion control is just one of four possible setups, and the analog controls are very responsive. When using the thumbsticks, it's much easier to move to the right spot, and by holding the buttons instead of moving the controller, you can power up your shots in advance and send your opponent scrambling across the court.

There is a lot of competition to be found in Virtua Tennis 3. You'll find plenty of tennis pros to play as, including big-name newcomers such as Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova, and they all look pretty lifelike on PS3. There is also a well-realized world tour mode, which allows you to create a character and build up their stats using a variety of minigames. You can even access a calendar to schedule your training and tournaments.

While the Sixaxis motion controls may not be the best entry in tactile tennis gameplay, the game still looks great and is a blast to play using the original control scheme. Virtua Tennis 3 is due out on PS3 in March.

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