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User-generated future for gaming

Myst gamemakes its return online

The online multiplayer game Uru Live is making a comeback later in the year, following its demise in February 2004.

Broadband entertainment provider GameTap said that online gaming technology had finally caught up with its vision for the game.

Uru Live is part of the popular Myst series of first person

Top spin tennis courts success

By Phil Elliott

British tennis has been reinvigorated recently by Andy Murray's rise to the national number one spot.

No doubt, with the extra hour in the evenings now, more of us are heading down to the courts for a bit of a knock around.

Happily, if real exercise isn't your cup of tea, tennis has now made its way onto the next generation platform with the release of Top Spin 2 for the Xbox 360.

There has been no particular shortage of tennis games in the past and Top Spin 2 doesn't really deviate from the kind of experience we've become used to.

You've a choice of different modes to play through, including of course the requisite online multiplayer option, but the main thrust of the single player game undoubtedly comes with the Career Mode.

This involves creating an original character, complete with facial customisation, and starting out as a completely unskilled amateur. As you play minor tournaments and undergo training you win stars, which you can then allocate to various skill subsets - forehand, backhand, power and so on.

As you progress and your character's skills improve you'll find yourself climbing through the rankings, earning lots of money and unlocking various other challenges, such as a rough equivalent of the Davis Cup.

At the end of each season you'll get a rundown of your achievements, and after a little while you'll be contesting the Grand Slams, trying to get that elusive Number 1 ranking.

Career best

The Grand Slam venues are recreated nicely, even including an umpire speaking in French for the French Open. A nice touch.

As well as the Career Mode there are Exhibition matches and Tournaments you can play for a quick fix, but in the long term the online multiplayer is quite rewarding.

You can either jump in as one of the game's 24 licensed players (including Tim Henman, not including Andy Murray) and play unranked matches, or using your Career character you can battle it out with other players' Career characters and move up the global leaderboard.

But while the game is quite addictive and maintains a good blend of action with a nod at realism, there is a considerable amount of time spent staring at loading screens between events.

In addition, because the game is viewed from the same end of the court all the time (as you'd see it on TV), when your player is at the opposite end it becomes more difficult to control, at least for the first few hours.

Overall Top Spin 2 is a nice, neat tennis game that combines a lot of what's been done well before in one place. Ultimately it delivers little that's original, and can be frustrating to play at times - but that's mostly because you're drawn into the tense psychological battle as much as anything.

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