TopSpin 2K25 Review – Back In Fine Form

TopSpin 2K25 Review

TopSpin 2K25 has been a long time coming. The last game came out in like, 2011? It’s been a good while. If you’re a tennis fan of any sort, this is huge. Well, it’s great news if you’ve been dying for a decent tennis game. My own experience as a tennis game newbie was quite different. Is this what fans have been waiting for? That depends on a few things.

Tennis is more complex than it appears, but it’s still a pretty simple premise. The various game modes in TopSpin 2K25 all boil down to the same elegant showdown between you and your opponent. You’re not managing a whole team, and you aren’t mastering several different positions. MyCareer mode, the exhibition matches, and the online landscape all offer the same challenge. You’re playing with different characters, and on different courts with varying skill levels. But it’s tennis all the way down.

TopSpin 2K25 Review

Of course it is, you’re saying. What on earth would it be besides tennis? To be clear, I’m not making a value judgment here. It’s honestly a fascinating ecosystem to step into. John McEnroe gives you extensive lessons. The MyCareer mode takes your training a step further. Finally, the online matches are where you put all that practice to the test. It’s all very smooth and streamlined.

Tennis All The Way Down

My thoughts on the online portion are limited. I’m writing this prior to the full release, so the online environment is a total ghost town. You can buy experience boosts (a bad sign) but everything else is cosmetic. If the matchmaking system is smart enough, the boosts won’t matter much. On the other hand, you can absolutely buy better stats for your MyCareer player, albeit indirectly. So do with that information what you will. The full scope of things won’t really be clear until well after launch day.

Building up your own player in the MyCareer mode is something of a savage grind. You start out with horrendous stats, so winning matches is pretty tough. You can play on lower difficulty, but the rewards get much worse. It takes quite a while before your stats get to the same level as a pre-built pro player, but it can definitely be done. On the other hand, you can eventually get stats better than any of the pros in the roster. If you’ve got the patience to grind it out, you can reach some pretty impressive heights, at least in theory. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I can see the shape of things to come.

TopSpin 2K25 Preview

None of this matters if the actual gameplay doesn’t feel right. Thankfully, it’s excellent. Playing Tennis in TopSpin 2K25 is immediately intuitive and smooth. It’s not easy, but you instantly grasp how it all works. Aiming your shots, choosing the style, and getting in place are simple yet stressful actions. There’s a frantic quality to your matches that feels authentic to the actual sport, at least how I would play it. You need patience and excellent reflexes, things I developed slowly over my playthrough. It took me a while before I got my head around things like stamina and shot type, but I eventually managed. The core gameplay is smooth and engaging enough that you’re quite happy grinding away to get better.

Looks Good, Feels Great

Not only does the game feel good, but it looks pretty dang decent as well. The character models are highly detailed and the animations are slick. The camera cuts and in-between segments really help it feel like a broadcast game you’re catching on some lazy Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, a lot of the commentator podcast segments and announcements are crazy dull. Also, they repeat themselves a lot, at least when announcing the start of a match. You’ve got some great songs on the soundtrack, too. It all adds up to a classy, high-quality package.

TopSpin 2K25 Review

I didn’t run into any serious bugs, with one weird exception. During character creation, the game would crash out if I tried to go too crazy all at once. Like, I tried making a ‘no middle sliders’ alien-looking weirdo at least three times, and it simply would not. On the other hand, if I made these lunatic decisions one or two at a time, I had more success. Everything else ran beautifully on my PS5. The skirts on female athletes can’t sit still even a little bit, but that’s hardly worthy of note.

After thirteen years, is this the tennis game you’ve been waiting for? Personally, this simple formula didn’t grab me. This is pure tennis, a faithful simulation of a complex sport. The entire experience has been distilled and purified, perfect for extensive practice and a steady accumulation of skills. But it makes perfect sense to me. Every element of the game funnels the player towards the gradual acquisition of abilities. You will get crazy good at TopSpin tennis if you stick with this game. It’s honestly remarkable how effectively they’ve built this training machine of a sports title. Playing feels intuitive and responsive, they nailed the vibe, and there’s almost nothing between you and the core gameplay loop. The state of the online scene is yet to be properly determined, but even so. If you’ve been looking for the next great tennis sim, TopSpin 2K25 is sure to hit just right.

***A PS5 code was provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Gameplay feels great
  • Controls are intuitive
  • Presentation is slick

The Bad

  • MyCareer mode very grindy
  • Some non-cosmetic micros
  • Few minor bugs