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TopSpin 2K25 Review (PS5) – A Formidable Return of A Beloved Sports Franchise

TopSpin 2K25 Review (PS5) – It’s been said all over the internet, but it’s worth saying again and again: TopSpin is back! It feels great to say that after thirteen years since TopSpin 4 released.

When it comes to sports games, which are generally annualized, anything can happen between releases, whether good or bad. In comparison, a time gap like the one that TopSpin has hanging over its head leaves a lot of room for error.

While not a flawless re-debut, TopSpin 2K25 brings back the same charm and attention to detail known to the franchise that fans will want to sink their teeth into.

TopSpin 2K25 Review (PS5) – A Formidable Return of A Beloved Sports Franchise

In general, the visuals of TopSpin look and feel engaging from the top-down view. Player motion impresses, channeling the same pursuit of excellence found in the other 2K sports franchises, in particular hair and clothing.

In general, loose clothing moves with believability without going overboard, but plenty of different types of loose shorts stay rigid despite not being tight sportswear. If there’s one aspect of the game I had to criticize, it’s the way that the in-game sunlight affects how many players look.

For some people, they look perfectly fine, but others look saturated enough to hide a lot of details. This can lead to some player models looking a bit dated, graphically speaking.

Outside of any of that, though, the hair movement continues to blow me away. I noticed all of the general movement while playing, but I didn’t truly take it in until I played as Naomi Osaka. From ponytails to matted hair, movement looks so believable.

Up close, you can see the hair in what I can only describe as bunches, and each bunch moves on its own based on player movement. From a close perspective, it looks like modern video game hair, but most games approach hair this way anyway.

You don’t see this as detailed up close outside of replays, which helps the illusion work so well mid-match. From the top-down view, hair flows in response to what you do with the player, and it adds so much to the verisimilitude of the simulation of tennis.

Naturally, improvements can be made, but this return to the franchise starts off strong.

The presentation of 2K25 impresses in a lot of ways. Personally, the level of attention put into each court, from its overall look to how players interact with it, is simply marvelous.

In particular, I get an extra sense of joy when playing on a clay court because players will slide a bit when stopping. It also delivers an impeccable sound byte of shoes sliding across gravel, delivering that next level of authenticity.

There’s also the hint of echo when the ball hits hard courts, which is a nice touch on its own, but personally nothing compares to that sound of gravel when on a clay court.

Hit the Court

What’s a bit of a mixed bag is how most of these court-level sounds come out of the controller’s speaker. Like the aforementioned gravel sounds, these work well since these are sounds that would take place below you if you were the one playing on an actual court.

The one significant sound you will hear through the controller is your player’s grunts and cheers.

While volleying, this works nicely and sounds appropriate. Then, when your player wins, they start making those same noises as cheers. It’s a little thing, but it happens every time you win a match. Thankfully, this can be skipped.

The other downside to this is that the court-level sounds cannot be customized easily, apart from increasing or decreasing the controller volume. For myPlayers, you can opt to not have vocal sounds when creating it, but that option stays with myPlayers and not with the pro players.

This may not bother everyone, but I wish I could at least turn down or limit the player’s vocal noises to certain types and still have all of the other sounds made on the court.

As to be expected, hitting the ball takes center stage in 2K25. While that sounds redundant, the team put great efforts into making the act itself engaging. To perfectly execute a power hit, you hold the desired face button until a meter reaches a green zone.

In theory, this works like the shot meter does in NBA 2K. The big difference between the two is the need to aim with the left joystick. This allows you to place the ball anywhere on the other side of the net you wish.

For the back right corner, hold the stick to the upper right, lower left for front left corner, etc.

Growing Into The Controls

This control scheme creates a lot of risk and reward for what you end up pulling off. Land a perfect shot, and the ball takes a sharper angle in a more specific spot. If you’re too early or too late, the ball ends up in the general area you intended to target, but the positioning is generally more favorable for your opponent.

This system took me a lot longer to get a feel for than I had anticipated.

Even then, hitting the ball perfectly every time proves challenging for several reasons. Most of the time, you’re naturally out of position or on the run.

Then, you use the left joystick for both aiming your shot and moving your character-more on this in a bit. Finally, needing to move your eyes from your player to the meter and back again demands a great deal of focus.

It does help after the volley that L2 automatically repositions you, though. Fortunately, focusing more on precision makes gameplay a little easier to manage. Just press one of the face buttons and then use the left joystick to aim your shot. These shots focus on accuracy over power.

Many times, I didn’t feel confident enough in my power shots that I got into long volleys. In hindsight, a lot of the fault falls on me, simply because I focused much of my early time on trying to nail power shots instead of playing to my immediate strengths.

Then again, coming from 2K, I expected something closer to an arcadey feel with gameplay. There, all you did was move to a spot, hold the face button to reflect the amount of power you wanted, and then aim with the left joystick.

This experience could be more unique to players like me, but it does highlight the fact that, unlike other sports games out there, TopSpin lacks a range of difficulty options with the controls. you go into the deep end right away.

Thankfully, John McEnroe voices over some well-tuned training sessions to get you acclimated to the control scheme. It gets complicated at time, but the payoff feels so good once you start getting the hang of it.

Different Ways to Play

When it comes to different game modes, TopSpin offers the standard fare found across most sports games: modes for a created character, for online ranked and exhibition matches, and for tournament play (complete with leaderboards).

The strongest game modes come in the form of myPlayer and myCareer. In general, these work in tandem with each other, since you progress through a career with your customized character; which, by the way, includes some decent customization options on par with many games but not to the extent available in NBA 2K.

As you progress, you soon gain opportunities to hire coaches and buy houses. Coaches help by increasing experience gained for certain aspects of your game, like backhands or volley pursuit.

If you responded to “buying houses” the same way I did when I found out about it, then I should warn you that these are strictly in the game to offer statistical benefits, like quicker recovery time on certain court surfaces.

So no, there’s no return of The Crib from NFL 2K05 here; and no, that’s not a negative toward the game-though I would love to see something like it in future releases.

The last point I want to make comes from my time spent on the court proper. 99% of the time, everything that happens makes perfect sense, like where the ball lands if my timing is off or when I slow down as my stamina depletes or even how the ball bounces off the racket in real time.

Every once in a while, though, certain things don’t quite feel like they behave the way they should, particularly when pursuing a volley. I run to where the ball will land and, while still in motion, I press the face button for the volley I want, hold for the necessary timings… but the ball goes by.

Consequently, this also happens to my opponents occasionally when I land a perfect power shot with perfect timing. It’s also necessary to mention that this mostly happened while still developing my myPlayer.

If I had to guess, this is a bit of a reward for perfect execution, requiring the volley to be handled perfectly while in a favorable position or otherwise the game calculates something of a caught-off-guard sort of response.

Again, it’s basically perfect 99% of the time. It’s just that these oddities come up in crunch time and you definitely feel it when it happens.

A Great Start to A Beloved Return

It’s easy to say that TopSpin 2K25 released at a favorable time, what with its potential competitors, AO Tennis and Tennis World Tour, offering mediocre gameplay loops at best.

Even without that, TopSpin 2K25 stands out simply because it brings back its wonderful presentation and precise gameplay that fans loved from the original franchise.

It still has room to grow, what with rather simplistic game modes and some limited customization and presentation options. Despite all that, this release makes for a stellar foundation for the franchise to keep it coming year in and year out.

TopSpin 2K25 is available now on PS4 and PS5.

Review code kindly provided by publisher.



The Final Word

2K comes out swinging with TopSpin 2K25, with this being the return to the popular tennis franchise. Presentation and gameplay meet the 2K Sports' standards that fans of the games come to expect, and TopSpin fans can feel comforted in the fact that the game still feels like it should. Controls ask you for more precision and discipline than the previous entries did, but this makes for a more satisfying experience once you nail down the control scheme. Some visual oddities, a rare gameplay simulation, and the lack of depth in setting customization ask you to forgive a few things along the way. Nonetheless, the experience far outshines any competition and leaves the door wide open for future success with a formidable foundation the franchise can firmly stand on.