TopSpin 2K25 Review – First Serve Fault

Reviewed April 26, 2024 on PS5


Xbox One, PS4, PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S


April 26, 2024




Hangar 13

A new entry in the Topspin series has finally happened after 13 long years. Yet wildly, after all this time Novak Djokovic is still the world’s number one men’s tennis player, just like back then. This fact perfectly encapsulates TopSpin 2K25: the more things change, the more they stay the same. The formula for the game was not broken 13 years ago, so they did not try to fix it. However, the game finds itself lacking in some other areas.

My first thought when loading up TopSpin 2K25 on PlayStation 5 for the first time was: “That’s meant to be Roger Federer?” It did look like him, but given the available hardware, I expected more than players who looked like wax figures with hair from games from 13 years ago; especially since this is a game made by the devs who made the Mafia games. However, with that in mind, close-ups of the players do not occur that often. While they are building out the playable pro roster, not having Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal on release is a missed opportunity, the two will go down as some of the all-time greats. With Novak Djokovic having won the most Grand Slam Tournaments ever, it’s certainly an odd choice.

The tutorial in the form of Topspin Academy is a great tool to learn how to play the game. It gives you a training video to watch before letting you loose on the courts to practice what you have just learnt, with the ability to go back and rewatch the training videos. But I found the coach in John McEnroe to quickly get on my nerves with the almost constant reminders on how to time the shots. He was quickly met with me screaming “I’m trying, okay!” Before finally being muted in the settings. Regardless, new and returning players to the game should spend a while in this mode as they get the basics down pat.

The difficulty feels hard to tune; the AI would give up balls they could have easily made and had done so before, but would also smash a ball right past you if you gave it even half a chance on the lower difficulties. Still, that’s what the TopSpin Academy is for, emphasising timing and directing shots to win a rally, and teaching you to move back into position so you do not leave half the court open for the AI to put a shot right past you as easily.

Being able to win a rally is not helped by the stamina bar on created players being low to begin with. They can barely have a rally last a few shots before it’s just beneficial to let the ball go by and start afresh; otherwise, your player will stumble and miss the ball anyway and have no stamina for the next rally. Even the lowest-level players in the MyCareer mode have higher stamina than you, and they are meant to be the same level as you at the start.

The MyCareer tour mode in TopSpin 2K25 is fun, allowing you to train and play sponsor activities and tournaments alike, but the lack of licenced pros on release makes for interesting rankings. Having a bunch of not-real pros inside the top 10 can be immersion-breaking. Hopefully, as they update their roster of playable players they will not have to rely on fill-in players as much. The training events are just an extension of the topspin academy, asking you to complete certain objectives such as hitting certain spots on the court in consecutive shots. The sponsor activities build on this by giving you an opponent to beat while completing objectives.

Playing the tournaments is self-explanatory. Various tournaments from around the world are available to play, and winning them unlocks those venues for use in exhibition modes, though some are only unlocked by winning men’s or women’s tournaments. One little thing I liked when making my created player is the ability to give your player prosthetic arms and legs, which is a nice bit of inclusivity. Perhaps we will see wheelchair tennis in a future game.

Online has much the same game modes as offline, offering a ranked tour, exhibition matches and tournaments. Trying to find games was a bit of a chore and then once in them I often found myself outclassed by those who took to the game quicker than me. Finding a season pass and microtransactions available with the in-game shop was a surprise, as the game already gives you plenty of premium currency just by playing. There are items available in the shop for free, but including trophies for making your first purchase using the currency, and another for spending over 3000 of it, sends a shadier message.

But there is no other mode to play, which in a sports game in 2024 is rare. Testing yourself against greats like John McEnroe and Andre Agassi is strangely locked behind MyCareer when it could be a mode all in itself. To the credit of Hangar 13 and 2K, there is not a lot you can do with tennis to flesh out the game, it is not like they can add a MyGM mode like in NBA2K or MLB The Show. Perhaps a dedicated doubles career mode would add something else to the game, but they are limited in what they can do compared to a team sport.




  • The TopSpin Academy is a great orientation tool for old and new players alike
  • MyCareer mixes it up with training and matches to stop it getting stale as quick
  • Being able to give your created player prosthetic arms and legs is a nice bit of inclusivity


  • The Pro Player pool is small, not even having the men's world number one
  • The graphics could be better, with players looking like wax figures
  • A hard to tune difficulty can make this game hard to pick up

Hangar 13 did not try to fix TopSpin with this latest entry, but perhaps they should have. With less-than-desirable graphics, a lacking on-release pro player pool, and hard-to-tune difficulty settings which made picking up the game harder than it needed to be, the game is left with much to be desired. Despite that, the bones of TopSpin 2K25 are good, and hopefully, they will be built upon in future games.