NBA 2K23 Review: Setting a New Standard


As we settle into the current era of gaming, we are starting to see the true power of consoles. With NBA 2K23,  the team at 2K sports set out to honor old-school NBA/2K fans while making sure the “360 dunking green wigs on the black tap were looked after as well. So with this review we ask, did 2K set a new standard to which every other sports game will be compared?

NBA 2K23 Review

Presentation

A few years back, I recall wondering if sports gaming could ever get to a point where it is impossible to tell the game from a broadcast. While the game is not there just yet, the addition of the signature jumpers and player-specific movements added a deep layer of authenticity to the experience. One area in particular where 2K deserves a special shoutout is in its presentation. The way the players move like themselves is amazing. Even finer details like screen wipes and more replays, to bigger things like the existence of the Jordan Challenge. The amount of love and care the people behind this game put into you getting that fuzzy feeling deep in your stomach is amazing.

Gameplay

As far as actual on-court action, the developers have made another stride in realism. The addition of scoop shots is such a fun mechanic to pull off in traffic. For those who do not know, when done properly these can completely catch defenders off-guard. It is surprising the community ever lived without them, to be honest.

Shooting

The game has adopted a bit of a green or bust philosophy this year. I’m sure it is going to piss a lot of people off, but if left untouched, it will force gamers to know their jumpers like the back of their hand. Over the course of playing. I noticed a lot of people shooting like Shaq at the free throw line. However, offensive rebounds are a bit overpowered as well which hopefully balances things out. Additionally, the longer the game is out, the more badges people will get. Hopefully, this means the better they will shoot and the game will not feel as paintball-heavy. Time will tell.

Dribbling

Dribbling controls have been altered to involve more right stick movement. If you choose to veer that way instead of the button, that will take some getting used to. However, being able to switch speeds and playing smart and efficient with your dribbling is the name of the game this year. This also plays into the addition of Adrenaline Boosts which aims to prevent the low IQ dribble from being so prevalent. This does appear to balance the game as players are punished enough when using all adrenaline boosts and rewarded adequately for pulling off an effective move at the right time.

Paint Defense

One of my biggest problems with the game is how easy it is to score in the paint. I used to think it was because I’m directly under the hoop. After some tests, it appears it literally does not matter. You might as well start jogging back down the court if your opponent even gets close to the paint. I will say, although paint defense is nonexistent, there are things I do like. For example, the computer going for strips when players try to bring the ball up to shoot. I do not think it’s enough to counter the threat of even the most average paintballer in NBA 2K23 as of right now.

On Ball Defense

The defensive shading mechanic is a fun addition to the game, and positioning your player with the flick of the stick to cut off certain angles has been entertaining to learn. I wish to say, the game is a lot more punishing for gamers relying on weak shot contests like years before. It feels a lot more rewarding when you do properly get your hand in there and affect their shot.

Computer Defense

Playing against the computer, I always note how well they play the pick and roll. If it’s trash, it’s less of a challenge because you can just spam that all day. I will say the computer does a great job on the roll man using the hedge defender. The hedge defender in general makes sure things stay in order, but it falls apart a bit with the other defenders helping to contain the roll man in time and sticking to their man.  On offense, once again they do shine running plays and getting stars open for high percentage shots. They offer enough on-the-fly thinking to punish players because most would not expect the computer to see something late in the possession.

Game Modes

MyNBA

MyNBA was already the best franchise mode in any sports game currently. The amount of depth it has in every aspect of basketball is untouched, blowing Madden, FIFA, NHL, and MLB The Show out of the water. And it does not stop there. NBA 2K23 decided to write a love letter to lifelong basketball fans with the ability to play in different eras of the NBA (The Magic Bird era, the Jordan era of the 90s with the filters and old-school presentation oh my goodness…. the Kobe era, or current day). This is something I could see many just stopping at NBA 2K23 and playing this for years to come.

The Jordan Challenge

Now when I first heard about the Jordan Challenge returning to the game, I wasn’t that excited. However, after experiencing it in-game, I changed my tune. From the overall presentation to the interviews before each challenge, the overall mode is an A+. With this much love given to the mood, it would be great to get a Kobe Challenge.

My Career/The City

We all know the name of the game with 2K and MyCareer by now. If you want a nice head start, you have to pay an extra $100 just to keep up with everybody else on Day 1. The heavy cloud of microtransactions and the constant reminders to spend your money on the mode rather than grind away may steer away many who don’t want to go that route. It’s not like they made it easier for those who rather build their player up naturally either. Despite that 2K did bring their A-game to other modes. MyCareer comes across as rather dull and tedious as the game often keeps players off the court doing side tasks. I do love the different backdrops to the parks that they’ve added this year; they are cool to run around in.

MyTeam

MyTeam is largely the same with minor adjustments here and there. For example, like finally being able to save your defensive settings, contract removal celebration, and a new Triple Threat Online Co-Op to play with friends. 2K achieved what those of every sports game wishes. While the game has its microtransactions, all the other modes, and most importantly, the on-court experience, have seen major improvements. The gameplay is definitely more enjoyable than last year, and the addition of the Jordan Challenge and eras in MyNBA adds a lot more replayability.


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NBA 2K23 Review

Setting a New Standard of Excellence

NBA 2K23 is the latest official title in the world-renowned, best-selling NBA 2K series. Players create their own legacy on the blacktop and compete across new, revamped, and returning modes.

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