TopSpin 2K25 Review: An absolute ace

TopSpin 2K25 Cover

TopSpin 2K25 Cover

Tennis is one of the biggest sports in the world, but in the video games world, it's been quite some time since a tennis title has stolen the spotlight.

Plenty of tennis video games have been released in the last couple of years but they all seemed to lack something. Some weren't immersive enough, others didn't have great gameplay, and many missed that little spark of magic that turns a good video game into a great one.

So when TopSpin 2K25 was announced I was excited, but most of all I was hopeful that this game would be able to bring back the golden age of tennis games.

So does it? Well, pretty much yeah! Let's take a deep dive into what makes TopSpin 2K25 the best tennis video game of the last decade.

A welcoming game

TopSpin 2K25 is not just for hardcore tennis fans, as the game is beginner-friendly and does a good job of introducing players to all of its mechanics and controls.

The first time you enter TopSpin 2K25 you play a brief game against the AI, that allows you to experience the controls.

Once that game is over, you are welcomed by tennis legend John McEnroe, who in a surprisingly calm manner, teaches you everything you need to know about the game's basic controls in the TopSpin Academy.

TopSpin 2K25 Academy.
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TopSpin Academy is the best tutorial mode in sports video games I have ever seen!

The TopSpin Academy is a brilliant way to introduce players to the game, especially players who aren't familiar with tennis titles or previous TopSpin games.

It teaches you the basic and advanced controls of the game, allowing you to have a good understanding of all the controls before you hit the court. Furthermore, it also explains the weaknesses and strengths of the various playing styles in an easy way to understand.

The TopSpin 2K25 Academy was created to serve as an in-depth tutorial and it excels at that. Oh, and you have John McEnroe as your teacher and mentor, and who doesn't want that?

Quality over quantity

There are five game modes in TopSpin 2K25, MyCAREER, Exhibition, Online Exhibition, World Tour, and 2K Tour. Some of the game modes are interlinked, such as Exhibition, which has a mode for online play and another for offline play.

The Exhibition mode allows you to play a normal game with one of the 25 players in the TopSpin 2K25 roster against the AI, while in Online Exhibition you play against another player.

MyCAREER is connected with the World Tour, as the World Tour mode allows players to use the character they created for MyCAREER to play online tournaments.

The 2K Tour is a traditional online competitive mode. Users can pick one player from the star-studded TopSpin 2K25 roster, and battle against other players to win points and climb the rankings.

Top2K25 Main Menu
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TopSpin 2K25 clearly prioritized quality over quantity, as all of the game modes deliver a good and unique gaming experience.

Furthermore, TopSpin 2K25 also does an excellent job of explaining what each game mode is about and what you need to do to find success in it.

But let's take a detailed look at the game mode everyone wants to know about, MyCAREER.

An immersive career

MyCAREER is a key pillar of TopSpin 2K25, together with the gameplay, and it's one of the things that propels this game from good to great.

To start, the level of customization you have when creating your MyCAREER character is astonishing.

Apart from being able to customize all your facial features and skin tone, you can also choose the grunting noise your character will make when performing a serve or a power volley, which is unique to say the least.

You can also select your serving, backhand, forehand, and return animations. To make it even better, the TopSpin 2K25 apparel section is incredible, allowing you to style your character as you see fit.

The apparel section also includes a prosthetics section, where players can choose from many different prosthetics.

TopSpin 2K25 Locker Room
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The MyCAREER story is very straightforward, you are a rookie that analysts and pros think is incredibly talented and expect to be the next big superstar of tennis.

In other words, you are Carlos Alcaraz. He is literally in the MyCAREER game mode image that shows up in the main menu.

However, reaching the top of the mountain in the MyCAREER mode won't be easy, as you will star in the 250 TS and will have to battle your way to the top of the rankings.

Your character has eight attributes, and you start with 30 points in all of them. 100 points is the maximum you can have in an attribute, but you can't max all the attributes. Furthermore, after an attribute reaches the 70 points mark you can only upgrade it using coaches or fittings.

This forces you to think carefully about what attributes you want to upgrade, and you need to take into account what style of play better suits you.

However, it's also possible to choose one of four playing styles when increasing your attributes, and this will automatically allocate the attribute points. To earn points you just need to play games and complete weekly challenges or daily objectives.

TopSpin 2K25 MyCAREER Game Menu
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One of these players is a two-time ATP 250 winner, and it isn't Warin Ito!

You will face players with much better attributes than you, especially at the beginning of your career. This makes games harder and more challenging, but for some reason that helps you get more immersed in the game.

I had a 45-minute game in the semi-final of a 250 ATP event, against a fictional character, where every point was played like our lives depended on it.

Yes it was exhausting, and I sweated like I was playing an actual match, but that's because it felt like I was playing one. This level of immersion is something I haven't experienced in a sports game for a very long time, and it's what makes this game not only great but magical.

The only downside of MyCAREER is that there aren't a lot of fictional characters, who will be your opponents until you reach the Masters and Grand Slam events, so you will face the same players in multiple events.

But apart from that, the TopSpin 2K25 MyCAREER mode is among the best MyCAREER modes in sports video game history.

Immaculate gameplay

TopSpin 2K25's gameplay is truly impressive. It's realistic, immersive, fun, rewards good plays, punishes bad ones, and it's challenging but not too hard to get decent at. It is everything you want from a tennis game.

At first, it might seem quite hard, but you will notice your performance improving drastically as you play more and more games. The TopSpin Academy also helps a lot in that department.

TopSpin 2K25 Gameplay
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TopSpin 2K25 gameplay is fantastic!

It's challenging but not to a point where you think about dropping the game because it's too hard to learn, but in a way that gives you motivation to improve.

The controls are very straightforward, which also helps make the gameplay more enjoyable. I could sit here praising the gameplay for hours and hours, let's just say the gameplay is fantastic and most tennis players will certainly enjoy it.

Nothing is perfect

Unfortunately, TopSpin 2K25 is disappointing in three particular aspects, the graphics, facial expressions of players and fans, and its roster.

The TopSpin 2K25 graphics are by no means bad, but I was expecting slightly better graphics, especially from 2K who has done a great job in NBA 2K24 in that department.

While the TopSpin 2K25 graphics aren't bad, the same can't be said of the players and fans' facial expressions. Players have little to no facial expressions, and the facial expressions of fans look and feel robotic.

It's the biggest downside of TopSpin 2K25 and the only thing that hurts the immersion aspect of the game.

TopSpin 2K25 Roster
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It's not much but it certainly is honest work.

Last but not least is the extremely small roster of TopSpin 2K25. Yes, the game has legendary players such as John McEnroe, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, and Andre Agassi. However, it only has 25 real life players.

Some of the best tennis players in the world like Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Jannik Sinner, among many others, aren't in the game. To make things worse, we don't if or when they will be added in the future.

Hopefully, TopSpin 2K25 will add more players to its roster in future updates.

The Best Tennis Video Game of The Last Decade
TopSpin 2K25 delivers an immersive gaming experience, with spectacular gameplay, great modes, a plethora of customization options, and the best tutorial mode I have ever seen in a sports video game. It has been a long time since we had a great tennis game, but now we have one. If you enjoy sports video games this is a must-play game, especially if you love tennis.
8 out of 10
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