Home Tech TopSpin 2K25 review: Play, set up and match in an exciting tennis simulator

TopSpin 2K25 review: Play, set up and match in an exciting tennis simulator

0 comment
TopSpin 2K25 review: Play, set up and match in an exciting tennis simulator

tEnnis is one of those sports that video games have only intermittently benefited from. The occasional big series pops up, like Pete Sampras, Virtua Tennis or Smash Court, but we’re often left relying on old favorites (take a bow, Super Tennis). It’s been 13 years since TopSpin 4 was released, and that title is considered such an authentic simulation of the sport that people are I’m still looking for copies for this day. But maybe not anymore: 2K Games has finally produced a sequel, and it’s a real championship contender.

Right from the start, TopSpin 2K25 has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a modern licensed sports simulator. All the key stadiums and championships are here, although the game environments are only sufficiently detailed, rather than the stunning photorealistic theaters we’ve come to expect from EA Sports. There are 25 star players in the initial squad, from Emma Raducanu to Andre Agassi. It’s not a huge selection and image quality varies, but it’s good enough and 2K says it will add more in the future.

If you don’t want to dress up as Carlos Alcaraz, you can participate in a full career mode with your own player. Mine is adorned with striking pink spandex and a pair of neon yellow sunglasses, a look I could very well carry into real life. There are exhibition matches to play quickly with the AI ​​or up to three friends (online or split-screen), or you can participate in online ranked or friendly tournaments. Your appearance and skill set are fully customizable with a variety of outfits earned by playing the game or (in a feature that now seems inevitable) purchasing the season pass or browsing the store. It’s great that you can also choose to build a player with a prosthetic.

What really counts, of course, is the experience on the court, and that’s great. The control system is complex but also accessible: the joypad buttons give you access to the flat, slice, lob, topspin and dropshot options, while the power is controlled by how long you hold the button. As with TopSpin 4, timing and positioning are crucial skills. This isn’t a Mario Tennis-style game of chance: if you hit a shot too early or too late, it will land in the net, shoot into the upper stands, or give the other player an easy hit. At the same time, you are constantly thinking about where your player is on the court in relation to the shot you are about to take and your opponent’s possible return, a decision process made more demanding due to the extremely good physics of the player. that replicate weight positioning and body momentum with subtle precision. Super proud of that cross-court shot you just hit? Good luck getting back to the baseline for a thunderous return from Serena Williams.

For players accustomed to the more instinctive feel of Virtua Tennis or the forgiving generosity of Mario Tennis, a demanding learning curve awaits. This is underlined by the presence of TopSpin Academy, an in-depth learning mode, which constantly guides you from basic groundstrokes to advanced serve tactics and individual player techniques. Learning time on your own will require a few hours of play. You don’t need to stress too much if you’re just playing the odd game with friends, but if you want to progress in career mode or play online against human opponents, you’d better hit shots with “good” or “perfect” timing at least 75 % of the time.

But this is a good thing. 2K Games has created a game that feels like a proper simulation, in terms of the variety of tactical options available at any given time and the demands it places on the player’s skills. Completing the TopSpin Academy really taught me a lot about real-life tennis strategies and how professional players differ in their use of baseline and net play. It’s also clear that I have plenty of room to grow as a player, experimenting with powerful shots, perfecting tricky shots, or redistributing my player’s attribute points to aid different tactical approaches.

Thirteen years is a long time to wait for a new tennis simulator, but TopSpin 2K25 is worth it. If there’s one thing this game teaches you, it’s the value of determined patience. Well, that and the fact that you can Combine pink Lycra with yellow sunglasses and look amazing.

skip past newsletter promotion

TopSpin 2K25 will be released on April 25; £49.99-£64.99

You may also like