TopSpin 2K25 Review

April 27, 2024

Topspin 2K25

It’s hard to not be nostalgic sometimes. The original Top Spin launched a year after the Xbox down under, and was immediately met with critical acclaim. We played it, we loved it. The sequels were a little rougher around the edges but Top Spin 4 left us wanting more. Two whole generations and thirteen years later, 2K and Hangar 13 (Mafia games) have brought the TopSpin franchise back to life and we couldn’t wait to restring our racquets and get back out on the court to see what’s new on Xbox Series X.

Firstly, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The two characters in the game’s title that separate this game from the previous ones in the franchise. 2K have taken the Top Spin name and added their wealth of sports gaming knowledge to it. Whether this is a good or bad thing remains to be seen by the community that will play and support it, but seeing the VC (Virtual Currency) spread throughout the game is somewhat unsettling. It’s not what we wanted, but if it’s the only way to get another Top Spin game then it can’t be that bad, right? Right? Wrong. Developing your MyPLAYER starts off fun enough. Participating in training sessions, special events and tournaments, signing with a coach and buying some new gear and your first house, but once the honeymoon period is over, levelling up to upgrade your player’s attributes quickly becomes a huge grind if you’re not willing to spend real money on the in-game currency.

With that said, TopSpin 2K25 is more than just the World Tour mode. The main menu is super easy to navigate and includes a recommended tab for newcomers to get an understanding of what to do next, starting with the TopSpin Academy which runs you through all the basic training scenarios before your first match. From there, you can go to create your character or you can jump into Exhibition or go straight to Online Exhibition and see how you stack up against players from around the globe. The exhibition modes are where you will find 25 famous tennis players at launch, ranging from all-time greats like Andre Agassi and Roger Federer to current stars like Naomi Osaka and Daniil Medvedev. Unfortunately, many past and current players are locked into contracts with the AO Tennis franchise, so don’t expect to find Ash Barty or Nick Kygrios. In fact, out of the 25 tennis stars available at launch, there’s not one Australian, while almost half come from the North America continent.

When it comes down to it, the most important thing about any sports game is how true it is to the sport, and TopSpin 2K25 does a fine job in bringing the feel of its predecessors into the current generation of 4K gaming. Moving around on-court, within the lines for the most part feels very natural and realistic, but occasionally we found the player got caught out going for a shot in the wrong direction, and not responding as quickly as the controller allows. Movement off-court is also quite limited, meaning you can’t have fun sending your player out to whacky edges of the court to go for long distance lobs. Invisible walls simply don’t allow your player to reach certain areas. We’ve always wished for a TopSpin game where you can move the character freely around the environments including before and after the matches, but alas we are not there yet.

Finally, 2K Tour mode gives you the chance to play online against other players as tennis pros. Here you can earn 2K Tour points and climb the leaderboard to become the greatest 2K Tour Pro of each season. We found this was a fun (and challenging) mode to mix up the gameplay a bit, and it’s a nice bonus mode that is often missing in sports games. What we don’t like though is that all modes of play except for Exhibition and TopSpin Academy require an online connection, meaning you can’t even play your MyCAREER mode if your internet isn’t on. This also delays the Quick Resume ability on Xbox Series X where we often had to wait 10-20 further seconds each time for the game to reconnect to the server.

TopSpin 2K25

TopSpin 2K25 has three main ways to unlock new items. One is through leveling up in World Tour mode, another is in the Pro Shop using VC, and lastly the Centre Court Pass which is the game’s battle/season pass rewards system which also offers a premium tier at a price. A lot of items in the Pro Shop seem to be priced reasonably, but we’re wondering how players will go long-term in purchasing items once they stop earning as much currency for playing the game. There was also a rather disappointing range of clothing and accessories available for the MyPLAYER at the start of the game, with probably close to 80% of it locked behind one of the three aforementioned systems.

Comparing the graphics of TopSpin 2K25 to any other tennis game seems a bit redundant when we consider that the last tennis game to come out, AO Tennis 2 (AKA Tennis World Tour 2 internationally) did so almost four years ago at the end of the previous generation of consoles. TopSpin 2K25 looks absolutely incredible, and the amount of effort Hangar 13 has put into developing the many court locations around the world left our jaws solidly on the floor, though once again most of these are locked at first. Courts range from famous ‘Grand Slam’ venues to small ‘Playground’ category courts with barely any room for spectators. We were gobsmacked by environments like the under-water Dubai Sports Complex and the tranquil Fuji Tennis Center, and yes, Rod Laver Arena has never looked this good.

TopSpin 2K25

Character models look amazing, even in close-up camera shots, with the MyPLAYER customisation being the best we’ve seen in a tennis game. While you can select from four default male or female MyPLAYER designs, you can customise them to your heart’s content, even adding prosthetic limbs which is a nice touch that we’d like to see in other sports games. Our only gripe with the visuals would be that the characters seem quite lifeless and the manoeuvrability can be a bit jarring on-court. Considering what we’ve seen in other 2K games like the WWE 2K series, it would be great to have some voice acting in future iterations, giving the players some actual personality.

On-court, TopSpin 2K25’s audio is perfect. Everything sounds amazing, there are different voices for referees and linesmen, and the sounds of the ball and feet hitting the surfaces sounds just like the real thing. The soundtrack however came off as very generic, though it probably tailors well to the general tennis fan community with artists like Fall Out Boy, Calvin Harris and Drake making up some of the main tunes. The monthly podcasts in World Tour mode are a nice touch, but don’t really add much to the immersion of the game, and with no in-match commentary, there’s not much else to say.

Every year the standard sports games are released: Soccer, NBA, NFL, NHL, WWE, F1, while other sports which are just as popular at the global level are left out. Tennis has been one of them, and despite there being a variety of attempts at making tennis games since 2011’s Top Spin 4, there has definitely been a gaping chasm of time since the last good tennis game. Sure, some may argue that Mario Tennis Aces helps to fill that gap, but the truth is that nothing has been as great as the original Top Spin, and that is still true today. While TopSpin 2K25 brings that Top Spin feel to the current generation of gaming, it disappoints on too many fronts to give it four stars or more. Whether it be the limited roster and clothing at launch or the always-online live service elements, unfortunately TopSpin 2K25 stops short of being as great as its predecessors.

Rocket Chainsaw reviewed TopSpin 2K25 on Xbox Series X with review provided by the publisher. TopSpin 2K25 is also available on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S. For more information, head to the official website.


- Stunning visuals
- Old-school Top Spin feel brought to current gen gaming
- Good variety of gameplay modes.


- Doesn’t feel like a complete package at launch
- Manoeuvrability needs some work
- 2K pay-to-not-grind.

Overall Score: