When it comes to tennis games on Xbox, it's been a pretty rough decade on the whole. The likes of AO Tennis 2 and Matchpoint: Tennis Championships have tried to fill in the void left by Top Spin and Virtua Tennis back in the Xbox 360 era, but the reality is that none of them have managed to replicate the success of those classic franchises. We've been crying out for 2K or SEGA to return with a major tennis title ever since the Xbox One's launch back in 2013, and out of the blue, we've suddenly got one in the form of TopSpin 2K25.

Although it's been 13 years since the last entry in the series, TopSpin 2K25 basically carries on where Top Spin 4 left off. Ever since its 2011 release, TS4 has been hailed as one of the best tennis games ever made, offering up a simulation-focused gameplay experience that's easy to pick up and play, but suitably difficult to master. TopSpin 2K25 basically reuses the gameplay formula from Top Spin 4, so it feels almost identical to the Xbox 360 classic, albeit with a few tweaks here and there. The result is a game that's still absolutely fantastic to play in 2024.

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It's hard to put into words what makes TopSpin's gameplay so good, but we'll give it a go! Firstly, the animations are really well implemented and have a sense of momentum attached to them, so where in other games you'll see players awkwardly snap into different stances to play their shots, TopSpin 2K25's players naturally move around the court and control much more smoothly than in certain other tennis titles. The timing system for playing those shots is also really satisfying to use, requiring you to hold and then release your chosen input at the right time - the closer you are to the "Perfect" window, the more likely you are to trouble your opponent.

Timing is situational as well, so if you're in the perfect position to play a great shot, you'll get a longer timing window to pull it off. Conversely, if you're being forced to chase for a point while losing a ton of stamina, the timing window will be smaller - and even playing a "Perfect" shot won't always be enough to turn things around. The key is learning how to manage these situations effectively, varying your strategies and constantly finding new ways to outsmart other players.

There are a few minor gameplay differences in TopSpin 2K25 compared to Top Spin 4, such as a new timing meter that shows you exactly how early or late your timing is, which initially seems a bit intrusive but you soon get used to it. Serves are also slightly adjusted, requiring you to aim your serve and then hold the left analog stick in place until the ball leaves your racquet. For the most part though, there's very little difference between the two games on the court, and that's definitely a good thing. It's still extremely enjoyable to play, endlessly addictive, and simply provides the best game of tennis we've seen on Xbox in 13 years.

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Where TopSpin 2K25 does differ a little bit is in the game modes department. As expected, the MyCareer mode takes centre stage here, allowing you to create your own MyPlayer and then take them on a single-player journey to become the #1 player in the world. You start off by playing some of the lesser tournaments before eventually advancing to the Grand Slams, and along the way there are training drills to engage in, Special Events to take advantage of, attributes to upgrade, coaches to hire, and various other ways to get ahead. It's a simple but enjoyable career mode that 2K estimates takes around 20 hours to complete when using the "Dynamic" match length format, and there's potential to extend that significantly if you want to make your matches longer.

The career mode directly ties into another mode called World Tour, which is where you can take your MyPlayer online and compete with others. Here, the best players are likely going to be the ones with the best attributes (everyone's XP is capped at Level 30 though), so your offline progression plays a big role in giving you an online advantage. For those who don't want to put in the grind, there's also a 2K Tour online mode that's basically the same thing but with real tennis players, where you're always guaranteed a balanced matchup in the attributes department. We'd have loved to compete for some exclusive cosmetic rewards in these modes (or some other kind of non-gameplay altering incentive), but leaderboard bragging rights will do just fine for now.

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It's good to see support for offline and online Exhibition matches as well, and the TopSpin Academy (voiced by John McEnroe) is a well-designed tutorial package for learning the ropes. Sadly, there isn't a way of playing offline tournaments outside of MyCareer yet, and there's no sign of online doubles at launch - nor can you invite friends to an online match until the feature is added in May. The good news is that TopSpin 2K25 has full crossplay support across all modes, so finding online opponents shouldn't be difficult between Xbox, PlayStation and PC.

Elsewhere, the Centre Court Pass system makes its debut, which essentially acts as a season pass where you can earn customisable items along with a few other bonuses for completing tasks in the game. There is a paid "Premium" version of this (it's 2K after all), but it's limited to just cosmetic items aside from a small selection of XP and VC boosts that crop up along the way for your MyPlayer. The Pro Shop allows you to acquire certain items with real money if you really want to, but it doesn't seem massively intrusive because of the focus on cosmetics and an XP limit for all players.

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We should also talk a bit about the overall presentation in 2K25. Yes, you've seen how ugly some of the player models and crowd members can look at their worst, and at times they do stand out like a sore thumb. To be fair though, there's a large number of licensed arenas and stadiums that look great in TopSpin 2K25, and when you're viewing everything from the standard in-game camera, it all comes across perfectly well. There's obviously room for improvement in 2K26 or whatever's next, but for the most part we've been happy to gloss over the less attractive sides of the game.

As for the selection of licensed pros at launch? Well, it's not bad at all. There's a pretty big list of stars to play with - the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Serena Williams and Emma Raducanu are amongst them - however there's no sign of Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal, for example. 2K says more players will be added to TopSpin 2K25 post-launch, and the nice part is they'll be entirely free additions to the game. There's no word on who these players might be, but if they're free, we'll pretty much take anyone!


Top Spin 4 was so good that it continued to thrive for 10 years past its sell-by date, and TopSpin 2K25 feels just as enjoyable to play in 2024. Sure, the character models don't look great, and the game could do with a few tweaks and additions in certain areas, but the key thing is that developer Hangar 13 has nailed the gameplay. We've been waiting such a long time for a tennis title to really grab our attention like Top Spin 4 did back in the day, and we're pleased to say that TopSpin 2K25 is comfortably the best tennis game we've played in over a decade.