Top Spin 2K25: Hands-on Preview

Top Spin 2K25: Hands-on Preview

Playing Tennis in video game form is a grand tradition that goes back decades. It could even be argued that Pong is essentially the first virtual tennis experience. So it makes me sad to see the state of the genre as it is at this point in time. Recently, things have been pretty dire. We have had some ok entries like Matchpoint Tennis, some absolutely shocking entries like World Tennis Tour and some games that sit in between the two extremes like AO Tennis. The sad thing is we haven’t had a truly great Tennis game since the 360/PS3 era. That game was Top Spin 4 and it really nailed the feel of playing tennis with fantastic sim elements and a career mode that captured the feel of a touring pro. Well, it seems like I am once again looking to the Top Spin franchise for my tennis fix because the series is coming back and frankly it isn’t a moment too soon. 

top spin

Thanks to 2K Australia, I got the chance to go hands-on with a limited version of the game for a few hours last week and I have to say, things are looking pretty good. The version I played allowed me to play some exhibition matches on courts from the Major tournaments around the world. Roland Garros, Rod Laver Arena, Wimbledon, the big ones were all there. I also ran through a very comprehensive training mode that has none other than John McEnroe guiding me through the gameplay systems and features. I have to say that Top Spin 2K25 is really focusing on the sim side of things so spending some time with John is a good idea. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t get him to swear at me or the umpire, so the game isn’t 100% realistic, but they have to keep that G rating right? 

top spin

Diving into the gameplay, it is easy to say that things are shaping up nicely. On-court movement felt fluid and realistic. Positioning, just like in real life, is the key to success. Learning to return to the centre of the court and prepare for the next shot is just as important as the ability to rip a killer backhand down the line, in fact, it is probably more so. Making shots is a little strange at first, with the game using a timing system that takes a little getting used to. That said, it wasn’t too long before I started to find my feet and get a good feel for how the shots would play out. The ball also reacted realistically and appropriately to the court that I was playing on. At Roland Garros, the ball sat up more and slowed down after the bounce, while in Melbourne it kicked on with speed. This is something that a lot of Tennis games fail to get right, so it is great to see. 

top spin

Perhaps the biggest disappointment from what I saw is the graphics. Look, this isn’t an amazing-looking game. Character models are average at best and the while the stadiums and courts look good at first inspection, it doesn’t take too long to start seeing the dull textures and lack of detail. I wonder if this is a result of 2K continuing to support the PS4 and Xbox One (It is hard to ignore all those consoles from a business perspective, that is for sure,) just as they did with WWE 2K24, or if resources were tight and gameplay was the focus. Either way, gameplay is king, so graphics aren’t going to deter me from the game in any way, but there is no denying that they are a bit below par. 

top spin
top spin

One thing I really want to mention is the couch co-op. This is a game that absolutely shines with four friends playing on the couch together. I was lucky enough to have a match where I teamed up with sometime P2 Contributor Jam Walker to take on past P2 Writer Chris Button and all-round legend Alice Clarke in a doubles match and frankly it was the most fun I have had in a video game for what felt like a while. Online multiplayer is great and all, but there is nothing quite like sitting down with good people sharing a TV and engaging in some healthy sledging and shit-talking. It is so good for the soul and makes me long for the days when it was more common. 

The key, I think anyway, with any sports game is the career mode and since the last Top Spin game, this is an area that has vastly changed in other sports titles. Sadly I didn’t get to see how this section of the game is shaping up, but I feel like it will be the make-or-break component of the game. If the devs can nail the career mode there is no reason to believe that Top Spin 2K25 will be anything other than the best Tennis game we have seen since… well.. Top Spin 4. Sure it doesn’t look the best, but the gameplay feels just right and it really captures the nuances of the real-world sport. I guess we will find out for sure when it hits just about every system known to man on the 23rd of April. I am certainly keen to see more. 

Have you seen our Merch Store?

Check out our Most Recent Video

Find us on Metacritic

Check out our Most Recent Posts