TopSpin 2K25 Roger Federer
TopSpin 2K25 Roger Federer

TopSpin 2K25 Preview: A Grand Slam Hit

Sporting games are a staple for gamers; however, tennis has yet to find a foothold as a title warranting year-on-year releases; with TopSpin 2K25 on the way, will it be the grand slam we need?

2K recently announced their return to the tennis circuit after 13 years away from center court. Fortunately, they hosted an event giving Game Crater some hands-on playtime with TopSpin 2K25. During our play session, we were given access to the TopSpin Academy and the local Exhibition Mode. The Academy mode is the skills tutorial, and I’ll be honest, I absolutely hate tutorials. At least, I usually do.

TopSpin Academy is broken up into three sections: Basic Lessons, Advanced Lessons, and Playstyle Lessons, which explain the strengths and weaknesses of different playstyles in tennis. Even if you’re a tennis game veteran, I’d strongly recommend checking it out. It did a great job of teaching me the nuances of positioning, shot placement, and serving, to name just a few, and it did it in a way that I somehow enjoyed. Spending the time in the tutorial turned out to be well worth it, as I trounced a fellow member of Game Crater who decided to skip through it. You know who you are…

It feels fantastic hitting a cross-court winner after perfectly constructing a point.

One mode that will define this game is MyCareer. In this, you’ll be able to create your own character and battle it out against the legends of the game to win yourself a Gram Slam. Since we didn’t have access to it, we’ll have to wait for the full review to see how well the mode is fleshed out.

TopSpin 2K25 In-game Screenshot
TopSpin 2K25 In-game Screenshot

I love tennis, awful player, but I’m a big fan. Strangely, I’ve only ever really enjoyed one tennis game in the past: Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64. It’s somewhat surprising that I couldn’t get into the genre because of how much time I spent playing that game. Points were usually over within three shots as you could hit the ball at blinding speeds perfectly in the corner almost every time. You could essentially overhead smash anything above ankle height; what a time!

TopSpin 2K25, on the other hand, requires much more tact, timing, and positioning to achieve success, which is a good thing. You’ll need to work much harder to plan out the point and outsmart your opponent, which is arguably one of my highlights in TopSpin 2K25 so far. It feels fantastic hitting a cross-court winner after perfectly constructing a point.

You’ll have a huge amount of directional control in your shot selection of top spin, slice, lobs, and drop shots.

After my few hours of gameplay, I noticed that there appears to be quite a high skill ceiling to grow into. Tennis fans will know the shot arsenal well, and you’ll have a huge amount of directional control over your selection of top spin, slice, lobs, and drop shots. A huge element of skill comes into play here as you have split seconds to choose the right shot. For example, if you try to lob your opponent and they are in the middle or back of the court, you’re going to have a bad time as they smash it straight past you.

Roger Federer in TopSpin 2K25 shaking hands with Alcarez
Roger Federer in TopSpin 2K25

To hit the ball, you press and hold in one of the shot action buttons as the ball approaches you. You’ll notice a timing bar start moving above your head towards the green section. Release the shot action button within that zone to hit the “perfect” shot, giving more power and control. Releasing the button too early or too late will mean your balls have much less power and a higher chance of hitting the net or landing out.

Serving was something I didn’t quite get a handle on with my short playtime. It’s certainly an area in which players will be able to dominate opponents if they can master it. It works in a similar way to hitting ground strokes, but the placement of the serve is much more difficult to control. You’ll be able to see a small circle on the ground where you’re aiming, which grows bigger based on your player’s serving skill, fatigue, and how well you time the serve.

Most of the time, I had to rely on just knocking my second serve into play to avoid double faulting fifty times a match. Next time I play, I’ll head straight into the TopSpin Academy and get berated by the coach, John McEnroe, until I figure It out.

It’s incredibly fun, but strategically difficult gameplay has left me wanting more.

There is a huge 25-player roster, including superstars such as Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Carlos Alcaraz, and Iga Świątek, to name but a few. I obviously opted to play with my equally bald and beautiful counterpart, Andre Agassi, during my playtime on TopSpin 2k25. Check out our full player and brand roster article here.

Carlos Alcaraz in TopSpin 2K25 at Wimbledon
Carlos Alcaraz in TopSpin 2K25 at Wimbledon

When it comes to sound design, the developers have done an incredible job of incorporating everything from the squeaks of shoes on the hardcourts to the gritty sounds of sliding around on the clay courts of Roland Garros. It gives an authentic feel to the game that kept me invested in each point. From what I’ve experienced of the soundtrack, it appears to be stacked with great tracks that rock and dance fans will enjoy.

TopSpin 2K25 is shaping up to be a hit with tennis and sporting game fans alike. It’s incredibly fun, but strategically difficult gameplay has left me wanting more. I’m excited to see how the MyCareer mode pans out, as I believe that will be a critical factor in the game’s success.

The release date for TopSpin 2K25 is just around the corner, landing on April 26 for the standard edition. If you’re eager to take center court earlier, grab the deluxe or grand slam editions to have early access from April 23. You can check out our full pre-order guide here, and if you want to see more coverage of the game, you can view our Guide Hub.