STAFF REVIEW of TopSpin 2K25 (Xbox One)

Wednesday, June 19, 2024.
by Brent Roberts

TopSpin 2K25 Box art When you're looking to serve up a sports game, most of the time you think of the big sports such as, Football, Basketball, Soccer, etc. However, there is a sport that doesn't normally get enough attention, and that is Tennis. Since its original launch, TopSpin has devoted itself to being the premier and industry leading tennis game. Thankfully that trend of excellence continues with this latest release of TopSpin 2K25 from 2K games. With a focus on bringing an enjoyable, innovative tennis experience, how does this latest entry shape up? Lace up your shoes because we're about to take a deep dive into TopSpin 2K25.

Loading the game up you'll see that TopSpin isn't "feature" heavy. This actually plays to its advantage right from the beginning. Normally now we see sports games with what feels like 30 menus on the main screen, but not in TopSpin 2K25. Instead of tons of menus you have only 3: Home, Local Play, Online. Home consists of only 4 options: MyCareer, MyPlayer, Centre Court Pass (this is TopSpin 2K25's version of a Season Pass of content), and the Pro Shop. The Court Pass options allow you to unlock various cosmetic content for your player as well as in game currency and experience boosters.

The Pro Shop is where you will find all items available from cosmetic stylings, to currency, experience boosts, and even upgrade your court pass to 'Premium'. The cosmetic items are quite extensive providing more than just shirts, shoes and shorts, but tennis bags, player animations, rackets, accessories such as glasses, socks and more. Each item requires in-game currency to purchase, but thankfully that is easily obtained through playing your career, so you don't need to focus on spending real money; just play enough and you'll quickly earn enough to pick up the gear you want.

The Local play menu also contains the MyCareer title, but also offers Exhibition and Training options. The exhibition mode allows you to play local matches against human or AI opponents, also able to switch between singles and doubles play, as well as courtside selection. You can either use pre-made professional tennis players or you can even use your own created character. Each one of these characters has different attributes and stats which I'll delve into shortly. Once you have your players selected you can set the rules for the game. You can choose the court surface, time of day, games per set, scoring system and more. It should be noted that some of the courses will remain locked until you unlock them in the MyCareer option.

The last part of the Local Play menu is the TopSpin Academy. It's here you will get to train on the mechanics of the game itself. In TopSpin 2K25, your shot selection is based off the following buttons: A, B, X, Y and RT, and which button will determine a lot of what kind of shot you will hit. It should be noted you can hit normal shots by pressing the button or you can hold the button down to hit a power version of the shot type.

Button - Shot type:

A - This is your basic flat shot. You can get high control and pinpoint accuracy with this shot.
B - Top Spin shot. Think of this like a high rolling, low height shot that is designed to be quick and low.
X - Slice shot. When you want to put some curve on the shot, this is the type for you.
Y - Lob shot. Sending the ball high in the air and to the back line, this should only be played when your opponent is at the net.
RT - Drop shot. Looking to have the ball end right over the net? This is the shot type for you.

Your movement is setup where the Left Stick moves your character around the court. You can use the LB to quickly reposition your player and you can use the Left Trigger to hit what is called an "inside out" shot where you can shift your player to play the opposite style shot that you normally would. Meaning you can hold LT, approach the ball, and where you could normally hit a forehand you would now hit a backhand. Based off your character state that could be critically important to play to your strengths. If you want to rush the net you can do that with Right Bumper and your character will follow their shot up with an advance to the net. The Right Stick though is where you will aim your shot, and it's here you will either make or break your gameplay, because depending on your shot type, position of the stick, accuracy and power will determine if you make the shot in or not.

Another aspect of the gameplay is your timing. In TopSpin 2K25 this will become the most challenging concept to master. When a ball is hit your direction, as it approaches you, you will see a horizontal bar with a green square on the right-hand side as a slider bar that travels across it. The concept is simple: press the button of your shot type when the slider is in the green box. While simple in design, the speed at which it moves is challenging and becomes the quickest pain points of the game.

All of these aspects can be directly influenced by your player stats. This is another area where TopSpin 2K25 shines brightly. The stat list is as follows:


Each one of these stats starts at 30 and can be upgraded to 70, and each level up you gain 6 points. With 30 levels max for your character, you can earn 180 points total, so choose what you would like to upgrade. Personally, I upgraded my Stamina first so I can play more events in the career, and once I maxed that out to 70, I switched gears and focused on my forehand, backhand and power, with the remaining points going into reflexes.

Another aspect of your player creation is the coach you can hire. Here you can choose what coach you want to hire, and each comes with some unique bonuses. To unlock these bonuses you will have to complete certain requirements first, but then the boosts become permanent until you fire the coach. The last part of the player creation is the fittings. There are 3 sections of your gear (strings, grip, and frame) that you can upgrade to provide even more stat upgrades. Should you get a third tier fitting, however, you can even add additional skill and unlock other skill sets.

Your MyPlayer will primarily go through their career, and this is the main mode of the game where you will spend the majority of your time. Your career is broken down into months of the year and within each month there are 3 events: Training, Skill Game, and Tournament. The training modes will take you through mini games that will test your striking ability, accuracy, power and more. The Skill Games will give you chances to unlock new courts, houses and items, and the Tournaments will be where you can raise your character level through completion.

Each one of these aspects is also broken up into various tier challenge categories where they provide different challenge difficulties. The online games are broken down into a tournament style World Tour, an Online Exhibition and the 2K Tour. The World Tour uses your MyPlayer character to play these online tournaments but the 2K Tour is pro only.

It goes without saying that TopSpin 2K25 is an absolutely gorgeous tennis game. The tennis environments look very well crafted with the animation cut scenes before and after the matches with highly polished character models. One of the biggest surprises though has to be the audio. While yes recording hitting a tennis ball sound is one thing, but making sure that you use the tournament country's language is an audio touch that tips the scales when it comes to attention to detail. I also have to touch on the soundtrack that is one of the best soundtracks I've ever heard but that's because I’m 100% biased, and even in my DJ shows have played a lot of the tunes found in the game.

Overall TopSpin 2K25 is an absolute smashing success. It finds a simplistic and streamlined way to bring a lot of depth and fun to a tennis game. While some of the 'rinse and repeat' formula is found everywhere throughout this game, this is how a sports game should be presented. If you're a tennis fan, TopSpin 2K25 should be at the top of your list.

**TopSpin 2K25 was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 8.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.2 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 8.8 / 10


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