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Top Spin 2K25

Top Spin 2K25

Wearing a headband, neon-coloured shorts and holding a racket, Conny has been sweating on the tennis courts. This is his verdict on the latest tennis game...

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Tennis is the perfect video game sport. Something Pong, even if it would be technically similar to table tennis, proved already in 1972. It is a sport that is so stripped down and free from so much else that it can transfer to video games very easily. Just two people, a ball and a net between them. However, this does not mean that a tennis game needs to be as simple as possible. Just like with other games in the genre, sports games usually feel good about being as realistic as possible in terms of visuals, at least if that's what you're looking for. There are plenty of arcade-like versions, but this one leans towards feeling realistic both in presentation and in terms of the sport itself.

With a good setting, the latest version of Top Spin invites me as a player in a way that is both familiar and accessible. If you have played any of the football, hockey or golf games of recent years, you will feel familiar menus accompanied by hit songs that are played well again. The game opens right up with a match starring Roger Federer where you get to play the final decider in a match. Then you are out at the menu, looking around and the legend John McEnroe's voice tells you it would be a good idea to practice the basics. All said and done, I'm embarking on a few lessons that are mainly about learning the timing of this game.

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When you hold a button, you have to release it in a green field to get the best shot possible. Such visual aids can be turned off as well, which I do when I get the hang of it all. Precisely timing the shot is the key to getting good shots that the opponent is unable to return. It feels a bit like when you swing a golf club in the older golf games where you would simply time a stroke. Here, instead, you hold the button and release it at the right moment to get a good swing and then there will be slightly different types of strokes based on which button you press. If the opposing player is in front of the net, you want to try to lob over, for example, and even if this type of button press may not feel so innovative, it works well. As a whole, the control feels tight and as I said, it is possible to turn off various visual things to make it harder and make it feel more realistic when various interfaces disappear. Something that, in my opinion, is the very highlight of tennis are those duels that go on for quite a while. Where positioning and concentration are really put to the test.

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Top Spin 2K25

Top Spin certainly invites a lot of that. The very nerve and essence of finally taking that point with a well-aimed shot, or losing it because you lose concentration for a second. When you remove everything other than the actual feeling of the game and just concentrate on what happens when two people hit the ball back and forth in an attempt to find the opening, then you understand again why tennis works so well as a sports game. This is exactly where Top Spin feels at its very best, too. It approaches the sport in a stripped-down way, letting the matches be a highlight and the main thing to have fun with. The whole setting is relatively nice and apart from slightly unfunny faces of characters that have a real model, such as when Federer is seen right at the beginning, the character models look quite good without directly blowing one off the chair. The same applies to audiences that do not immediately impress at close range, but the matches look nice from a little longer distance with good flow and good animations. I think maybe this could have been polished a bit more towards realism as it has a bit of a cartoonish feel to it and could definitely have looked better. However, I like details such as sweat being noticeable on the neck and shirts the longer a match goes on, these are small details but I can appreciate just such. The sound quality is a bit tame and apart from some good music in the menus, there is something here that I actually wanted and that is a commentator. Now, tennis is not at the same level as soccer and hockey, but a little commentary between sets and raucous rounds could have done a lot for the atmosphere. It's a real shame that it's missing.

Top Spin 2K25Top Spin 2K25

The main game mode in Top Spin is called "My Career". It is not a career mode with a story or similar, it is rather very stripped down, so you quickly switch between tournaments and the matches. I'm not going to say that the contents of Top Spin feel tame, because there's actually most of what you could want, but nothing particularly exciting is laid out. For those who want an uncomplicated experience where the matches are at the forefront, you will definitely find it here, and of course that is the most important thing.

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It is very easy to start the game and start a match, regardless of whether it is via your player's career, online or against a friend. There are plenty of difficulty levels to choose from, and you can also choose how long the matches should be, which also affects how many experience points you get after them. In the career mode, it is mainly about a world ranking where you climb after wins and even if you only win a single match in the tournaments, every win is counted in the total. It is also possible to rest past certain months, which you especially need to do if you have sustained an injury. During the matches you have a meter for endurance and you will make more mistakes if it runs out and you don't time your shots well. There are different surfaces and tennis courts around the world and things like skill points and levelling up occur in the career mode.

Top Spin 2K25

Top Spin feels most like a fun tennis game when you are in a match but not doesn't really create that feeling elsewhere. I like the feeling of facing a tough opponent, I like the animations of the players and I especially like when a set becomes really competitive or when you pick up a disadvantage or feel that you get a good flow in the game. All of that works well and there really isn't much to criticize there. It's also not really like I'm missing that much more than maybe a little more technically stylish graphics.

I don't quite know what it is, but there is an overhang of everything being "just good" that exists here. It is clearly a well-made version of tennis as a game and is at its very best during nerve-wracking matches where it really captures how well tennis actually works with its controls. But the visuals could do with a little more detail and a certain measure of more realism rather than the slightly cartoonish feel it has. I also wished there were little things like reactions to rulings like if a ball was a questionable out and a little more excitement in how the career mode was laid out. Simply those minor things that could have taken it one or more notches higher. It is difficult to get more words about something as simple as a sport where two people hit a ball between them, especially if the content does not offer much extra. So, in the same way that Pong didn't need much more than to function at its very best when that ball flew between players, that's also where this shines brightest and still makes Top Spin a fun tennis game.

Top Spin 2K25Top Spin 2K25
07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
+
Good animations, puts a lot of focus on the matches, the game mechanics of timing the swings feels good.
-
The career mode feels disconnected, sad that there is no commentator, lacks a measure of more visual realism.
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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Top Spin 2K25

REVIEW. Written by Conny Andersson

Wearing a headband, neon-coloured shorts and holding a racket, Conny has been sweating on the tennis courts. This is his verdict on the latest tennis game...



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