The NBA 2K series has been the staple of the basketball genre for years. Nevertheless, the scope, the features and the gameplay are always at a very high level. On the other hand, the extremely penetrating microtransactions get a little more annoying with each edition. Therefore, the first question in NBA 2K23 is whether the developers have finally changed something about it. We’ll give you the (sobering) answer.
NBA 2K22 was already a real content monster that left nothing to be desired, especially in terms of features and game modes. The community was accordingly curious to see whether and in what form the developers could top it off with NBA 2K23. The short version of the answer: Yes, they could. For the longer version of the answer, however, we have to go back accordingly. The obvious first: Of course, this year’s episode of NBA 2K also boasts the full license package. Incidentally, this not only includes the NBA with all teams and players, but also the women’s league WNBA.
His Airness asks to dance
The “Jordan Challenges” should certainly be a special treat for the slightly older NBA fans. As the name suggests, these are special challenges all centered around “His Airness” Michael Jordan. NBA 2K23 has more than a dozen of these historical episodes ready for you, which recreate important stations or moments in Jordan’s career. That ranges from winning the college championship in 1982 to the big NBA finals in 1998, where he was in top form for the Chicago Bulls for the last time.
In each of these episodes, you must complete certain objectives to advance to the next chapter. Sometimes it’s about scoring a certain number of points, other times it’s about as many rebounds as possible. Since the presentation is also absolutely brilliant and, thanks to various filters, the respective epoch is displayed appropriately, the mode offers a wonderful excursion into NBA history.
Incidentally, this is also possible as part of the “My NBA Era” mode, which was known as “My GM” in previous games. At its core, it remains about taking control of an NBA franchise and making it a success. You also have the choice whether you want to act as a full-time general manager with the entire range of tasks or just take care of the individual games.
What’s new in the renamed mode is the ability to take over the franchise in a very specific era of the NBA. You are therefore not limited to the present, but can also let off steam in the 80s and 90s. Then you will inevitably meet legends like Larry Bird, Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. The presentation is also adapted to the respective era, which ensures a particularly gripping atmosphere. However, you can switch off these graphic filters at any time if you don’t like the associated blurriness, which is intended to imitate old television broadcasts.
The truth is on the court
All of this is just the tip of the iceberg, however, as NBA 2K23 has so much more to offer. Of course, the “MyTeam” mode is also included, which is the well-known counterpart to FIFA Ultimate Team. But more on that later. A career mode is also on board again, in which you march through a very busy staged city that acts as a kind of hub. Although this has been reduced compared to last year, it still offers many activities on and off the pitch. In addition, you can now get from one place to the next much faster via fast travel.
Of course, you also play individual games with all NBA and WNBA teams or complete training sessions – basically everything your heart desires. No, when it comes to scope, NBA 2K23 is hard to beat. With the sheer abundance of content, the question naturally arises as to how the events play out at all. You shouldn’t expect revolutionary changes to the basic feel of the game, because the predecessor was already at a high level in this discipline. Nevertheless, there is some fine-tuning in the details.
This is particularly noticeable in classic dribbling. This feels unusually sluggish at first, but this is both intentional and realistic. In NBA 2K23, the player’s mass plays a much more important role than before. In combination with other smaller changes, this ensures a very fluid, authentic and therefore believable game flow.
In addition, there is an improved AI, which delivers the running paths much better or covers particularly dangerous players twice. This sometimes makes it not so easy to pull to the basket. The developers have also adjusted the jump shots: their execution is easier and a little smoother than in the predecessor. If we now add the excellent presentation of the games, which come astonishingly close to a TV broadcast, we have arguably the best digital basketball game of all time in front of our noses.
A huge annoyance
So all signs point to Award, right? You would actually like to believe that after the last few paragraphs, but NBA 2K23 ultimately puts a lot of stones in the way of fun. The microtransactions, which were already heavily criticized in the predecessor, were not scaled down to calm the heated spirits of the fans – on the contrary.
Instead, you’re rubbed into your nose even more often that you should spend real money to make your life as a virtual basketball player easier. To speak of microtransactions here actually makes a mockery of the reality in the game: if you want to increase your actor’s values to a good level, you’ll quickly lose 100 euros! You can spend even more money on branded clothes in the city’s shops. Theoretically, it is again possible to earn the required VC currency. However, due to the low rewards, this is only an option for people who put every free minute into their NBA career.
NBA 2K23 – Heed the Call Launch Trailer
The new basketball title NBA 2K23 is available now.
The focus on spending money is also clearly noticeable in “MyTeam”. As in FIFA Ultimate Team, you will receive packs of cards with the players, which you can then use to create the most powerful squad possible. However, in order to be able to send a reasonably competitive team into the race, many such packs are required. Very many. You buy these in turn for a virtual currency. But here, too, the amounts that can be played are so measly that you can’t get to the pot without a heavy grind. After all, the contracts have been abolished, so you can now use your players as often as you like.
Nevertheless, the same applies in NBA 2K23: If you want to keep up without earning virtual coins for a long time, you will inevitably have to open your wallet. The microtransactions are therefore almost omnipresent. Coupled with the sometimes very obtrusive advertisements, this really spoils the mood and quickly makes you lose interest in the two modes mentioned.