THE G.O.A.T IS BACK!
The NBA 2K series is now 23 years old. Yes, this game has been around for 23 years. The Sega Dreamcast set it off and when that console went belly up we all thought it was over for 2K basketball. I know I did. Here we are now 23 years later and 2K has managed to still be here because 2K basketball is hands down best basketball game there is in gaming. This is not up for debate. What else is not for debate is who is the G.O.A.T when it comes to all things NBA basketball. It’s Michael Jordan, at least in my eyes. This is why 2K has blessed us once again with MJ on the cover and appropriately so considering it’s NBA 2K’s 23rd year doing basketball. The GOAT year
MY SECOND YEAR PLAYING NBA 2K FEELS BETTER
This is my second year of really going all in on NBA 2K for a full season. To the masses this is not an important detail at all meaning my personal journey. However, for anyone that wants to jump into NBA 2K that hasn’t previously played game, NBA 2k22 was sort of a turning point for the NBA 2K games in terms of mechanics and ease of play for all skill levels and this years’ game further improves on that.
NBA 2K23 is very inviting to the new player and that’s the point. Most of the players that jump into a new version are recurring players so to able to be new and play the Jordan Challenge, MyNBAERAS, MyCAREER, multiplayer and team play are all part of the package and for me being a second year go hard player this was essential to bringing me back
NBA 2K23 PACKS A TON OF CONTENT
Just like every year that we get a new NBA 2K game you can expect there to be a ton of content and special editions to spice up your collection. This year we got a collaboration of music with J.Cole not only gracing one of the covers of this years’ game, He brought Dreamville with him. In the MyCITY mode there’s Dreamville courts as well as Dreamville artists Bas and Elite making appearances in the game, you’ll see.
Content is not a problem for NBA 2K23. That’s one of its more involving elements of a 2K game that always makes you feel like you got a lot for a little money. 2K does this very well.
WHAT’S NEW IN NBA 2K23 GAMEPLAY?
The thing that always made NBA 2K such an incredible experience was how real the game seemed relative to an actual basketball game that we watch on TV. Of course they aren’t the same but to be able to play a video game that looked as good as what you see on TV is one of the things that draws you in.
2K in this game has made it so that it feels like you’re really playing a game of basketball aside from how it looks. The character design is second to none. Arenas and stadiums are so well designed you can’t help but admire the work 2K put into NBA 2K23. Player movement and mechanics were paramount this year. The players move fluidly and don’t seem to move in frames. Ball handling was a pleasure and if you’re good enough and have somewhat mastered the movements on the controller you’ll feel like Kyrie Irving with the rock.
Shooting was improved upon last year and 2K didn’t mess with it much at all. It’s still much easier to setup and find your shot. Of course practice makes perfect but you won’t be pulling your hair out trying to find your shot while escaping stifling defense that mimics your every move. This game focuses on spacing, finding your man and knowing when to make adjustments. Yes, it’s easier to play this game but you can’t just leave your best player or starting 5 in the game all 48 minutes or however long you play and hope to be effective. Nope. This is a simulation basketball game in its purest form.
MyNBA aside from the Jordan Challenge is the best part of this game. You can play a standard season according to the current players and league scheduled games OR you can play in MyNBA ERAS mode and compete with defining era teams and try to win a chip within that respective era. Every player than played on those teams is in this game. So, if Kobe Bryant is your guy you can play with the Shaq and Kobe Laker teams that dominated the early 2000’s, The Magic vs Bird Era, or play with Jordan’s 72 win Bulls and run through the league. It’s really the jewel of this game in my humble opinion.
THE JORDAN CHALLENGE
“Be Like Mike” is the phrase and we all know the song. If you bought this game, yes, you wanted to play some ball but you also wanted to play as MJ and play through some of his most iconic moments on the basketball court. Since I’m an old guy (according to young people) I don’t have to relive those moments since I saw them as they happened but it was still an incredible experience to be able to play the “Flu Game”, the “Shrug”, the last shot versus Utah, the hand switch vs the Lakers in the finals in this game. You see where I’m going with this? No NBA player has had more iconic moments than MJ and NBA 2K23 did an incredible job of making those experiences playable once again since 2011.
You can play the finals minutes of game six against Utah with Jordan holding the pose, The fist pumping final shot against the Cavs (you know the shot, everybody does). This mode is in my opinion the most engaging and the most fun. My obvious Jordan bias aside the Jordan Challenges are my favorite part of NBA 2K23.
2K Games went all in on making MyCITY an environment unlike any other you’ve ever seen. It’s still beautiful, it still has all the best courts and It’s a pleasure to play games on the variety of courts that you can play on in 2K23. There isn’t much to elaborate on in terms of MyCITY. 2K clearly did their homework in creating the feel of the pickup game as well as the courts that their played on.
MyCAREER is the game mode that probably, If I’m guessing, that at least half of NBA 2K’s core audience if not more plays the game for. While its gotten so much better in certain respects in that you can really follow a story that you can relate to that doesn’t seem cheesy, its having to depend so much on VC that’s the problem. 2K got a lot right but that’s the one major thing is what kinda kills MyCAREER mode.
The path to becoming an NBA player in MyCAREER is incredibly fun as you try to earn love from the fans as a somewhat unknown drafted player. It’s executed very well and you really have to earn your way in the pro ranks. You’ll have in game assignments and requirements that you’ll need to fulfill to improve your player skills as always. The in game challenges push you to learn the game according to the philosophy of the team you’re on. Learning the game is just as important as playing it in MyCAREER.
MICROTRANSACTIONS IS WHAT SUCKS ABOUT MyCAREER
MyCAREER is an awesome game mode but what can possibly make it an unpleasant experience depending on who you are is the pay to play system that MyCAREER has become. As contentious as a topic that MTX transactions are, I can’t figure out why 2K for all the greatness that they packed into 2K23 made MyCAREER such a transactional system. That’s not to say that you can’t have any fun at all in MyCAREER but the message that it sends is that you can’t be your best player unless you spend some money, a lot of money. Even if you try to earn some kicks or gear through playtime, the economics translates to not much. For example 100,000 worth of VC may only be able to buy you a pair of socks in game, not saying this is the case but you get it. In my opinion 2K should patch this and make things a little more affordable instead of relying on a microtransaction system that’s really unnecessary.
NBA 2K23 is the best basketball video game hands down. What I’m saying is not hyperbole. I used to play it a little bit going back to the Sega Dreamcast days and completely tuned out after 2K10 but since the last year’s game I’ve decided to go all in on 2K22 and 23 and my experience has been great. If you aren’t good at basketball in real life then playing 2K will make you feel like at the very least you have an understanding of the game while being good at it. It’s an almost perfect game. The thing that makes it not so perfect is it not in its look or feel but the dreaded microtransaction. Make no mistake, most of us don’t have a problem with the occasional dollar going to some VC but it seems as if there is a pay to play element of this game that shouldn’t be there. That is the only real flaw I found with this game.
The Jordan Challenge is fantastic. MyNBAERAS is also fantastic. MyCity is top notch, what more can you ask for in an NBA focused basketball game? 2K games is on a good upward trajectory with the new and much needed changes to NBA 2K. It’s been great and that can’t be denied. NBA 2K23 is a solid yearly entry to the 2K basketball series and that’s that.