TopSpin 2K25 Fujinomiya

TopSpin 2K25 Review (PS5): The Grand Slam Series Returns

Tennis gaming has had its highs and lows in the world of video games, with sporadic releases often failing to capture the essence of the sport. Over the years, we’ve had Virtua Tennis, AO Tennis, Mario Tennis, TopSpin, and many more. Still, none have delivered annual releases with the same foothold and desire as other sports games. However, Take-Two Interactive aims to change that narrative by marking the return of TopSpin to the tennis genre after a 13-year hiatus. While I’m not sure it’s the Grand Slam hit that many would have wanted, TopSpin 2K25 provides the much-needed foundations the franchise and sport needs for the next generation of tennis fans.

Apart from exhibition matches, there are four main modes in TopSpin 2K25, with the TopSpin Academy being the main mode for any new player. This surprisingly enjoyable tutorial mode 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, as you never know what you’ll learn. The TopSpin Academy does an incredible job of teaching you how to play the game without overexplaining and overwhelming the user. The tutorials are also completely voiced by John McEnroe, who has a surprisingly relaxing voice.

“Catching some falling fruit might have provided interesting nuances to the TopSpin 2K25 gameplay.”

TopSpin 2K25 has almost a natural progression to the gameplay modes. Once you have completed, or in my case, are ready to move on from the tutorial for the time being, you can create your own tennis rookie and aim to be world number one in MyCareer. Arguably, this is the centerpiece of TopSpin 2K25, where players embark on a journey to tennis stardom, competing against real tennis players along the way.

MyCareer offers a large amount of content for players to enjoy, from various training sessions to exhibition matches and tournaments; you’ll have your hands full with objectives to complete. On top of this, you must manage your player’s energy to avoid serious injuries that can set back your career. While the TopSpin formula has always been concentrated towards a more serious approach than its competitors, catching some falling fruit might have provided interesting nuances to the gameplay. Unfortunately, after numerous hours of competing to reach world number one, you’ll likely be exhausted by the end of it. 

Topspin 2k25 In-game Screenshot of MyCareer
Topspin 2k25 In-game Screenshot of MyCareer

“Don’t expect to relive your MyCareer highlight of winning the Grand Slam in World Tour.”

Luckily, World Tour and 2K Tour are your next steps once you’ve conquered MyCareer. The former allows you to continue using the player you’ve built and cultivated, taking on other users’ players in tournaments online. In theory, this sounds promising, but on top of occasional lag and no limitations on skill gaps or player levels, I struggled to win points with my player due to its level.

Many players online already have characters with maxed-out stats, so it’s incredibly hard to compete with any of these players when you are matched up against someone with max power in their hits. Fortunately, it’s not all bad, though, and you will find some winnable matches, but don’t expect to relive your MyCareer highlight of winning the Grand Slam before you are at a reasonable level. 2K Tour plays out similarly to other ranked sports games where you pick a real tennis player and compete against other players online in matches. There are daily challenges to spice up the gameplay, but it’s essentially the standardized online mode.

Topspin 2K25 In-game Screenshot of World Tour
Topspin 2K25 In-game Screenshot of World Tour

“Who doesn’t want to play tennis at dusk with a Japanese shrine and pagoda in the background?”

Additionally, standard modes such as Exhibition allow you to play singles and doubles with a friend in local multiplayer. There are 25 players available on the roster, which feels pretty barebones after playing a few games. Venue selection varies between multiple real locations, such as Rod Laver Arena, and some entirely made-up locations that I wish were completely real. I mean, who doesn’t want to play tennis at dusk with a Japanese shrine and pagoda in the background?

There is also an online Exhibition mode, but as of the time of writing, you can’t play with friends. All of these modes are tied together with a unified currency called VC, which is used to purchase cosmetic items, MyCareer elements, upgrade coaches, and much more. VC can also be purchased with real money, but you earn it by completing matches, so I never felt the need to swipe my card.

TopSpin 2K25 Fuji Tennis Center Stadium
Fuji Tennis Center in TopSpin 2K25

“TopSpin 2K25 delivers a smooth gameplay experience.”

TopSpin 2K25 features a modern season pass, the Centre Court Pass, with six seasons planned for the game based on different real tennis events in the calendar year. The passes don’t expire, so you can stop playing for a period of time and return to complete any of the passes without having to worry about missing out on content. However, one of the biggest downsides is that you can’t play Mycareer while offline, and the servers are scheduled to end in December 2026, so you might be locked out of playing or completing the passes in the future.

TopSpin 2K25 delivers a smooth gameplay experience, running at a somewhat stable frame rate on PS5. There are some minor frame drops that occur when the ball is served, but once the rally begins, it holds solid. Despite its technical prowess, the game falls short in terms of visual fidelity, with character models lacking depth and detail compared to other sports titles. While animations are commendable, the overall aesthetic leaves room for improvement.

TopSpin 2k25 Screenshot of Player Selection
In-game Screenshot of Player Selection

Fortunately, the developers have paid meticulous attention to sound design, capturing the essence of tennis with authentic court sounds and a soundtrack that complements the on-court action. From the squeaks of shoes to the roar of the crowd, every auditory detail enhances the overall atmosphere, adding to the game’s immersion factor.

Ultimately, TopSpin 2K25 marks a commendable return to form for tennis gaming, offering a compelling blend of accessibility and depth. While its various game modes and audio design are highlights, the limited player roster and visual shortcomings hinder the overall experience. Despite these drawbacks, TopSpin 2K25 sets the foundation for 2K to improve the formula and make a tennis game that warrants an annual release.

Disclosure: Game Crater was provided the game for this review.

TopSpin 2K25 Fujinomiya
TopSpin 2K25 Review
TopSpin 2K25 marks the franchise's return after 13 years with a solid foundation for tennis gaming. Its comprehensive tutorial, engaging MyCareer mode, and modern season pass model offer depth and replayability. However, the small player roster, limited offline features, and visual fidelity issues detract from the overall experience.
Authentic sound design
Comprehensive tutorial
Engaging career mode
Unified currency system
Visual fidelity
Limited offline features
Small player roster

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Final Score