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TopSpin 2K25 Review

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The last TopSpin game, TopSpin 4, released back in 2011. Doesn’t seem all that long ago, but 13 years can be a long time. I met my now wife that year, the iPhone was still in its fourth generation, and Taylor Swift was still predominantly a country musician. Perhaps more of interest though, we were all still playing on the Xbox 360.

TopSpin 4 was arguably the best in the series, but has only now spawned a sequel. Using the last game as a solid starting point, can 2K produce another successful tennis game?

TopSpin 2K25 review 4
TopSpin is back!

Don’t panic if you have never picked up a virtual racket though, TopSpin 2K25 is accessible for all skill levels. Your first port of call regardless should be the TopSpin Academy, where you will be coached by none other than John McEnroe.

“You cannot be serious?!” No really, I am.

And the training is really in-depth, going through some footage of the training point in question, before opening it up for you to try.

It’s a pretty simple set-up as well for playing. Each of the face buttons and the right trigger corresponds to a shot type, and you can either tap it, or hold it for a more powerful or controlled shot. TopSpin 2K25 is very pick-up and play, useful for if you fancy a local multiplayer match. In fact, you can work your way through most of the easier difficulties with only using one shot type; the unforced errors on Very Easy difficulty usually outscore your winners such is the frequency of them.

Unfortunately, online matched with friends will not be available at launch, unless you are lucky enough to be paired up in a lobby, but it is coming to TopSpin 2K25 via a free update in May.

It does start off with a pretty good roster to begin with. The likes of Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Andy Murray, Emma Raducanu, Naomi Osaka and Carlos Alcaraz are all in from the beginning. Legends in the game include Maria Sharapova, Andre Agassi and more.

TopSpin 2K25 review 1
TopSpin 2K25 follows the usual 2K structure

TopSpin 2K25 should be instantly recognisable as a 2K game, following their nomenclature to similar sports titles such as NBA 2K24, WWE 2K24 and PGA Tour 2K23. That does also mean that there are several versions from which to choose from at launch, with premium seasonal content also on the horizon. Upcoming tennis stars that will be added in post-launch will all be available for free, but as of yet, who they are is unknown. Trust me, I tried to find out.

It also follows a similar structure in terms of game modes. After checking out the training modules, you can create an avatar in MyPLAYER mode. There is a decent amount of parameters and sliders to make your characters unique enough when venturing online in World Tour. Here you can climb the rankings online by winning matches and tournaments.

If online isn’t your bag, MyCAREER mode has all the ups and downs, but just against AI opponents. Take your created player from the bottom of the rankings to the top.

Each month in your calendar you choose three options: a training module for XP, a special event where you can play less-standard modes and finally a tournament to participate in. The tournaments are pretty low-key during your earlier months but progress far enough and you will be able to participate in the Grand Slams.

In MyCAREER, maintaining your stamina is crucial. Playing longer in tournaments and travelling longer distances will reduce your overall stamina. If it drops between 35%, you become susceptible to injuries, both minor and major. Continue to play with a minor injury and it will become major, and then you’ll be forced into taking time out. Choosing to skip a month will not cause your ranking to slip, but being forced out through injury for multiple months can do.

TopSpin 2K25 review 2
The courts you know and love

Stamina is also important on the tennis court. As a response to previous criticism that rallies could last too long, players now have a short-term stamina bar underneath when playing. The longer a rally continues, the more this depletes and can have an impact during the next few points also. A lower bar also makes you more likely to shank a shot out, so it’s best to keep rallies short.

Progressing in MyCAREER isn’t tied to improving your rank or levelling up though. Instead, it is linked to a set of goals in the bottom right corner of the screen. These feel almost glossed over when describing what they are for, but are tied to your status as a player; only through increasing this can you access the better tournaments.

Some character models in TopSpin 2K25 can leave a lot to be desired – check out the Andy Murray one during the initial match to see what I mean – but the court design is superb. Even a passing tennis fan will be able to recognise the likes of Centre Court at Wimbledon or the Rod Laver Arena, but even some of the computer generated ones look fantastic. Well, that is a safe assumption on my part that they aren’t real-life tennis courts anyways. I am not sure that a tennis court has been built in a Japanese temple overlooked by Mt. Fuji, or what looks like an old gladiatorial arena in Cagliari. But they look great nonetheless.

Many courts and special game modes will need to be unlocked as well. This actually feels a bit old-school having to do so, but it’s a welcome change of pace than being given everything at once.

These game modes don’t exactly rewrite the rulebook, but are a much needed shot in the arm for a game that lacks content otherwise. These new formats can be where you only score when serving, similar to table tennis or volleyball, taking your highest points in a row total, or just messing about with the number of games needed to win a set. Between these and the varied arenas, there is something to work for, but it does still feel a bit light.

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A welcome return for TopSpin

TopSpin 2K25 is a welcome return for the franchise and a solid reboot. The gameplay is strong, fast and fluid and exactly what you would expect from a tennis game. It is easy to pick-up and play but just about deep enough for those wanting to experiment. It is let down by some slightly off character models and is currently just a bit too light in terms of content, needing perhaps a few mini-games or even a doubles career mode to help flesh it out. 

As it is though, we welcome TopSpin back with open arms.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Solid tennis gameplay
  • Decent starting roster
  • Grand Slams included
Cons:
  • A bit lacking in content
  • Some dodgy character models
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, 2K
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC
  • Release date and price - 23 April 2024 | £64.99
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Richard Dobson
Richard Dobson
Avid gamer since the days of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Grew up with the PS1 and PS2 but changed allegiances in 2007 with the release of Halo 3.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Solid tennis gameplay</li> <li>Decent starting roster</li> <li>Grand Slams included</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>A bit lacking in content</li> <li>Some dodgy character models</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, 2K</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC <li>Release date and price - 23 April 2024 | £64.99</li> </ul>TopSpin 2K25 Review
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