Thursday, April 25, 2024

Early Game Review: 'Top Spin 2K25'

Save for the occasional Mario Tennis release, fans of the sport haven't had much to cling to when it comes to gaming. But a baker's dozen of years between "Top Spin" releases has done the franchise well, and developer Hangar 13 has used the time well for what amounts to a relaunch of the franchise.

Helping "Top Spin 2K25," due out Friday, look toward the future is old-school favorite John McEnroe, who acts as a narrator and guides you through TopSpin Academy, a longform tutorial that guides you through the finer points of the game.

"Top Spin 2K25" hurls you into the mix with an intense showdown against Andy Murray. Playing as Roger Federer, you play out key points in an effort to come out victorious. After that, you are free to plunge into MyPlayer to craft your avatar. 

While the game launches as a single-player-only experience, online multiplayer is set to be added in an update sometime in May. The lack of a full suite at the outset may be discouraging, but at least the solo time allows you to hone your skills before the multiplayer scene opens up. Also, the player base will no doubt be stronger by the time the update comes along.

To get you going, you can trade serves with a slate of 25 current and past pros, including the likes of Serena Williams, Carlos Alcaraz, Iga Świątek, Frances Tiafoe and Andre Agassi.

With all four segments of the Grand Slam available, you can can serve and volley on the biggest stages in the sport. There are also MyCAREER and MyPLAYER modes available, matching the suite of options in the "NBA 2K" series.

The game looks and flows with gorgeous fluidity, surpassing past efforts, especially the Mario stuff, by leaps and bounds. 

With the confident burst of a first serve, "Top Spin 2K25" rushes the net with vigor and skill, marking an impressive return to form for the long-neglected franchise.

 Publisher provided review code.

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