The Grandmaster Of Centre Court Returns!

Published by 2K and developed by Hangar 13 (Mafia III/Mafia definitive edition), TopSpin 2K25 is certainly a different game style than previous projects, but have they served up a triumphant return for the TopSpin brand? Or does it fall foul of prior standards set by the earlier entries in the franchise’s rich history?

In short, yes, the game provides an authentic, highly charged experience where reaction times and technique matter but it’s got some minor niggling issues. (Plagued by cosmetic microtransactions and some smaller issues) It lacks the all-star cast with some pro players not available at launch (Nadal and Djokovic) and visually in the MyPlayer world tour I’ve noticed some visual problems arise, with hair strangely disappearing off the head and white holes showing in shorts, but nothing that takes away from what is a very fine game.

After a long hiatus for the TopSpin brand, 2K has revived the tennis sim 13 years after the previously released TopSpin 4, and 21 years since the first TopSpin game started making waves in the gaming industry.

TopSpin - GameHype

Fans of the sport have long heralded the TopSpin games as market-leading simulators, up there with the likes of Virtua Tennis, Mario Tennis, and Smash Court Tennis. At a time when the sport had a plethora of authentic/realistic simulators (and then the fun, playful Mario games) released onto the market in the early to mid-00s. Recent years have seen a lack of adequate titles hit the market to tap into the wallets of millions of fans across the globe. At a time when one could argue interest in the sport may wane due to the recent retirements of massive, global stars such as Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and Maria Sharapova. The likes of Nadal, Andy Murray, and Djokovic are approaching the end of their incredible journey. The sport in itself could find audiences to lose interest for the foreseeable, which no doubt has a knock-on effect on all products related to the sport.

Starting with arguably the best ever soundtrack to a video game. TopSpin 2k25 has a slick, energetic, EDM/Trance soundtrack that sets the mood for some exciting, pulsating rounds of Tennis.

The menus are tidy and easily accessible, with the pro players and the impressive true-to-life stadiums on show. (Sadly microtransactions are all present).

I guess it is to be expected nowadays, but when folk are spending hard-earned cash on the full game it’s a little agitating to be greeted by a cash grab for the premium center court pass and the pro shop in the main menu.

Modes on offer include a tutorial like Top Spin Academy (with coaching from the legendary John McEnroe). Whilst not a necessity to play, I’d recommend giving it a go as it helps you understand the basics and more advanced play styles of the game.

Centre Court Pass lists several challenges and requirements for players to earn SP, this unlocks rewards as you progress through the tiers. As previously touched on, this mode has a paywall behind it, the basics are free, with the premium content and more desirable rewards locked behind the premium centre court pass.

My Career is effectively the bread-and-butter aspect of the game. For those looking to enjoy gameplay without the online rivalry from players across the world. With an abundance of customization to create your new player and plenty of licenses on show from official sponsors. The My Career mode provides a true-to-life experience for an up-and-coming rookie starting from the beginner level to grand slam titles and the no 1 world ranking spot. The mode is broken down into monthly and yearly scenarios that have training drills, tournaments, and events to earn ranking points and exp. This helps improve your created player to level up attributes to improve their quality and style of play.

It can feel grindy as it takes a long way to get to higher levels but at the same time, it’s a satisfying mode with fun to be had due to its presentation, gameplay, authentic feel, and attention to detail this includes tactical elements to your approach to tournaments. An energy meter in the game requires some management as injuries will occur. This results in you being unable to compete in grand slams, so rest periods are crucial to reduce the risk.

The level-up system is a pretty basic formula, as you get deeper into the mode, training and honing your ability, the exp/skill points you earn give you the choice to craft out a playstyle that can be masterful in a few areas like stamina and reflexes but perhaps not quite as strong at serves, backhands, and volleys.

Online/Offline Exhibition/World Tour straight-up singles/doubles matches with any of the officially licensed 25 players and you can use your created MyPlayer to serve up some classic, heavy-hitting rallies in one of the 48 stadiums. (A whopping amount I’d like to add). World Tour is an online competitive tournament mode. Players partake in up to 3 tournaments a week, slugging it out to get to the top of the seasonal leaderboards

Gameplay/Presentation TopSpin 2K25 has some fluid, smooth, and incredibly satisfying elements to its gameplay mechanics. Sure, the premise is to pick up a racket and hit the ball. Something that sounds so easy/simple. Yet, it’s implemented in a way that requires attention to your energy meter, and front/backhands, do I lob or go for a drop shot? What about the quality of serve, court positioning, and even the style of your player. There is no margin for error, perhaps you specialize more in power shots? So a key element to your game plan would be to dominate at serves, or maybe it’s an all-round player who has no real weaknesses or strengths? There are plenty of aspects to Top Spin 2K25 that result in matches always being far from dull.

The precision of hits has a massive bearing on the strategic elements at play. Play it short near the net or long? Hard and tire quicker or go for weaker shots in the hope you’ll tire out your rival. Response and movement also give players plenty to think about. All this results in a fist-punching, joyful relief when victorious, as back-and-forth rounds of tennis are hard-earned and well-fought battles on the courts that can take 10 minutes to over 25. So sure, it may sound repetitive hitting a ball back and forth but the tactical elements to play always keep gamers on their toes. (What good is fantastic gameplay if the presentation isn’t to boot I hear).

With authentic stadiums and eye-catching audiences that provide rapturous applause and reactions, Top Spin 2K25 provides a buzzing crowd environment and audio experience. Sadly the same cannot be said for some of the pro player models. Hair follicles will bounce around on some characters’ heads but not on others and some don’t look photo-realistic, yet they remain distinguished enough to be recognizable.

Trophy presentations and pre-match walk-ups to the court are true to life with animations, lighting, courts, and nets being implemented to a high standard. With the stadiums, attires, and rackets all being fully licensed from brands including Lacoste, Penguin, Nike, New Balance the level of authenticity is very high. It is a pity that some of the accessories are paywalled, and some big names aren’t here at launch, but TopSpin 2K25 is still a compelling experience. With some back-and-forth games of tennis that can be immensely satisfying one minute to very unforgiving the next.

TopSpin - GameHype

A review code for TopSpin 2K25 on the Xbox Series X was provided by 2K and Hangar 13