NBA 2K23 Review (Switch) | Nintendo Life

Captured on Nintendo Switch (docked)

Once again it has come to that time of year when another entry in the NBA 2K slam-dunks franchises on our consoles. Yes, it’s sometimes hard to muster much excitement for these annual installments, and it’s easy to write them off as yet another incremental update that looks and plays nearly identical to the previous season’s effort. Nevertheless, NBA 2K23 It’s worth getting a little more excited about than usual, as it combines a great new Michael Jordan Challenge mode with, what we think, is the best on-pitch action we’ve seen from the series so far, even if this Switch port has had. to make some cuts here and there.

Let’s start with the new Michael Jordan Challenge mode, which feels like a fully fleshed out and richly rewarding part of the game. Here you’ll take part in 15 specific challenges based on events from MJ’s career, with each and every one of them presented in great detail, with era-specific stadiums, kits, commentary and screen filters giving everything a look. deliciously aged. Look. This isn’t a throwaway mode, it’s a complete history lesson to sink your teeth into that truly brings to life the early days of MJ’s career and the biggest moments in the NBA.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (docked)

Unfortunately, on Switch, as well as PS4 and Xbox One, the new MyNBA Eras mode hasn’t made the leap from the flashy next-gen versions of the game, so we’re missing out on a ton of fun retro action. from the Magic, Jordan and Kobe eras. It’s a real shame that this core content had to be removed, but it feels like it’s a step too far for older consoles to handle. We guess there has to be a point where the new generation of hardware retires, and this certainly feels like that moment with regards to NBA 2K.

In more positive news, MyTeam, our gateway mode, sees a number of improvements in 2K23, including the removal of the game’s annoying player contract system and the introduction of the excellent Clutch Time as one of the main ways to earn those VC. . points and level up your squad. Getting rid of contracts was a much-requested change in the last couple of years, and it honestly feels so good not having to fiddle through menus every few games to make sure your players are ready.

The MyPlayer portion of the game has also seen some big changes this year, but unfortunately, this is another area of ​​NBA 2K23 where the Switch loses out. Where newer consoles get a vastly improved ‘City’ for skateboarding, we instead have to put up with a watered-down GOAT Boat neighborhood. The story here, which sees him go toe-to-toe with another newbie named Shep Owens, survives the cut, but it’s another sign that next-gen consoles are struggling to keep up, as the best parts of this game’s MyPlayer experience year have been discarded here. .

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (docked)

On the court, NBA 2K23 has seen improvements in every department. The shot meter is easier to read, can be tweaked if it doesn’t fit 100% with its default settings, and matches are slower paced giving the action a more open and purposeful flow. You have more room to maneuver, pass the ball and have time to accumulate shots at the net. There are also new dunk controls that allow more flexibility in how you show off on big shots, improved animations and physics, and improved AI that makes opponents sharper in single player modes.

A lot of work has also been done on ‘shot ratings’, with stronger offensive players feeling noticeably more capable and able to pull off some magic on the floor in tight spaces, while weaker shooters will have a much harder time. . He can no longer rely on bringing up any old player and then getting some points regardless of the stats; this time you will have to plan your attacks and involve the greatest talents of your team to see the best results.

We also found that later movements are easier, or maybe we should say more intuitive — to achieve it in NBA 2K23. We’ve included them in our overall game now, and the challenges in MyTeam do a great job of teaching you the ins and outs of some fundamentals that will help you improve the way you run your business on the pitch. In fact, from the moment you kick this one off, accessibility seems to be something 2K has really focused on this year. You’ll get a tutorial of each mode and how it works, the basics are explained in detail for newbies, and the general flow of MyPlayer and MyTeam encourages you to challenge yourself and learn the basics more than ever. If you’re willing to put in the time, NBA 2K23 has a lot to teach you about the sport you’re simulating.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (docked)

Of course, not everything is perfect in the world of basketball and, unsurprisingly, NBA 2K23 is a very microtransaction-heavy game. If you’ve been playing the franchise for a while, this won’t come as a surprise, but newcomers should know that especially in MyPlayer mode, people who spend their money in real life will have a huge advantage here, especially in the early game. days and weeks, before those of us who work hard have a chance to catch up.

As for the technical performance of the Switch port, it’s still impressive to see a sports game of this size running on Nintendo’s handheld console. For the most part, you’re seeing a solid 30fps across the board while on the pitch. However, load times can be excruciating at points, especially in Michael Jordan Challenge mode. The graphics have also, understandably, taken a big hit compared to other versions of the game, with things feeling a bit heavier, slower and sketchy at times in action as a result of the frame rate being halved. Another thing to note here is that 2K has once again blocked in-game screenshots on Switch (we used a capture card to get some for this review), and honestly, we’re not sure why they’re doing this. Yes, there has been a degradation of the images, but it is not like that. that bad boys.

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Captured on Nintendo Switch (docked)

In the end, all of this technical stuff is understandable and expected at this point, of course, and what you get here is still a portable version of NBA 2K23 that works well enough and gives you a near-full experience: except for NBA Eras and the City, which you’ll find on other consoles.

Overall, it’s another solid year for NBA 2K. This time around, the on-pitch action feels markedly improved over previous outings and the new Michael Jordan Challenge mode is a very nice addition to the proceedings. If you’ve been enjoying this series on Switch thus far and can stomach the necessary cutbacks in content and graphical downgrades, here’s another eminently playable port, though it really looks like this could be one of the last. in the series that manages to stretch out on our favorite handheld console.

conclusion

NBA 2K23 makes the inevitable downgrades and cuts we see every year with this franchise on the Nintendo console, and like other versions of the next-gen game, it’s also missing The City and the new MyNBA Eras. Load times can be frustrating, and 30fps basketball feels noticeably heavier than the 60fps found in other builds. However, if you can stomach these necessary downgrades and slight technical shortcomings, this is still a solid port of an excellent basketball sim that’s packed with enough content to see fans through another season.

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