NBA 2K23 Is absolutely enormous. Look, we know that’s not necessarily what you were expecting to read – you thought we were going to tell you this is another copy-paste basketball sim from 2K Sports – but this is much more than just a roster change. The game has old issues when it comes to gated progression and microtransactions, but you could comfortably put 500 hours into this version and still find plenty to do. it’s just that great!
Where to start then? Well, on the pitch it seems as good a place as any. Arguably the biggest adjustment this year is the addition of adrenaline boosts below the stamina bar. While there is a lot of complexity here, they basically reflect intense actions, like jumping for rebounds or advanced dribbling moves. The idea is that you only get three of these per possession, meaning you can’t spam your opponent into submitting. Balance the game.
While we think the system is a smart addition overall, we argue that maybe it’s also balanced. It doesn’t really make sense that the league’s superstars are drafted in exactly the same way as a bunch of lowly bench players, but we’re guessing that fairness in the game trumps authenticity, and the best players obviously have huge attribute advantages. . There may be more tweaks 2K Sports could consider for next year, but the overall concept is solid.
Apart from the adrenaline boosts, the developer has also been busy adding a lot of animations. There’s so much here that we’d do our full word count listing them all, but things to look out for are new contact dunks and more creative layups. You can also hang off the edge if you want, and you can even twist your body to flex on your posterized opponents! There’s an obvious learning curve to a lot of these moves, but it ultimately means there’s a lot you can dig into.
Speaking of which, we’re also looking into some of the general AI tweaks. Teams are much more dynamic in general and will adapt to what is happening on the pitch; they’ll double down on the players who are giving them a hard time, or change their focus entirely if they’re chasing the game. It all makes for a more authentic experience that forces you to be more considerate of your own play style – how are you going to win the game?
This kind of variety also applies to the extraordinary industry-leading Franchise mode, called MyNBA Eras. While you can still take control of a current team and take it to the promised land, there’s also the opportunity to start your game based on three famous periods in NBA history: the Magic vs. Bird era, the Jordan era, and the NBA era. Kobe. Effectively, what this does is go back in time, recreating the NBA as it existed in that specific period.
So instead of choosing a team and creating your own unique future, you can change the past. And this gets insanely deep: You can choose to veto certain significant moments that happened in NBA history, like rule changes or relocations. It means that you are able to play God throughout the league, reshaping its history to suit your personal tastes. What was already the best Franchise modality on the market has been taken to an unprecedented level.
And that’s not even taking into account the various facets that make this mode unique: teams will play differently in the 1980s than they did in the 2000s, with totally different playbooks and strategies. Additionally, 2K Sports has created unique visual filters to reflect each era, with period-appropriate replay packs and overlays. While you can disable some of these if you wish, it’s an outstanding new feature that reflects the care and attention that has gone into the package as a whole.
All of these features also apply to the Jordan Challenge, a single-player mode based on a similar mode in NBA 2K11 that highlights 15 of the Chicago Bulls shooting guard’s most memorable moments. All of these have unique commentary and interview footage, as well as some pretty demanding competition conditions that will really help you appreciate His Airness’s most impressive NBA feats. Completing this mode 100 percent will probably take you about 10 hours or so on your own.
And we’ve come this far without even mentioning MyCareer or the City, the flagship sandbox mode that lets you create your own build my player and lead them to NBA stardom. So first the bad: the over-reliance on virtual currency remains, and it is still an outrageous task to put together a competent competitor. You can’t exactly pay to win, as you need to be playing and performing to unlock Insignia and improve your max rating but upgrades become too expensive you will need to pay real money.
The story feels like a step backwards in many ways this year, though we appreciate 2K Sports’ attempts to streamline certain aspects, including reducing the overall size of the online open world to cut down on unnecessary walk times. In short, because he’s not going to win any awards, you’ll be competing against an impressively irritating rival named Shep Owens, who for some reason is the town favorite and you need to prove the fans wrong.
You will do it by playing basketball games and conquering different districts. This is where the campaign explores its fashion, business, and music aspects, with J. Cole and several other household names making cameo appearances throughout. The biggest problem is that sometimes you just want to play basketball, and while we appreciate the overall ambition, handing out flyers for a vegan hot dog stand owner isn’t much fun. And yes, that’s something that happens pretty early in the plot – we told you this game was ridiculously massive, right?
The other big draw to the City is competing with friends and strangers alike, and while additions like the Theater make it a bit easier to match up rather than wait for the courts to be empty, it just doesn’t feel as snappy and approachable. as it should be. Also, the netcode makes the game much more floaty and less responsive overall – we’re far from pro gamers, but things feel more streamlined in single player for us.
On that note, there’s actually a lot more single-player content to explore in the Ultimate Team-style MyTeam mode this year, with the addition of the high-octane Clutch Time. Aside from this, the mode is largely unchanged from last year, but the removal of contracts and the introduction of co-op are welcome, and we still consider this to be one of the most generous team-building modes out there, alongside with MLB The Show 22. Sure, you may need to spend real money on ridiculously expensive card packs to compete at pro levels, but realistically, if you just want to put together a reasonable roster to play, locker codes and the standard Seasonal Progress will give you what you need.
It can be easy to accuse sports games of offering the same experience year after year, but that just can’t be said for NBA 2K23. The game still struggles with its overemphasis on microtransactions in MyCareer and, to a lesser extent, MyTeam, but the new MyNBA Eras mode is a revelation, and the Jordan Challenge campaign is a lot of fun too. On the court, 2K Sports has made some nice balance tweaks and also improved the overall AI to make matches more dynamic and competitive, and when you combine all of that with all the new animations, you end up with a basketball simulator that is the definition itself. of a nail