NBA 2K23 Review BannerThe tip-off of the official 2022/23 NBA season is just weeks away, now is the perfect time to hit the hardcourt with NBA 2K23. The NBA 2K franchise returns to the PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and PC platforms again this year. There’s a lot to like about NBA 2K23, and developer Visual Concepts has made improvements to the graphics, gameplay and depth of game modes. Some of these changes are more pronounced than others, but it all adds up to the best sports simulations on the market.

NBA-ZionNBA 2K23 Details

Platform(s):  Nintendo SwitchPlayStation 4, NBA 2K23
Xbox OnePlayStation 5Xbox Series X and PC 
Reviewed on: Xbox Series X
Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Sports
Genre: Sports
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

I Wanna Be Like Mike

The first thing I dove into when firing up NBA 2K23 was the “Jordan Challenge.” This mode lets you revisit 15 playable moments from Michael Jordan’s career. This is accomplished with the incredible presentation, complete with CRT television effects, and retro graphical overlays. The commentary and gameplay also better reflect each chapter in Jordan’s illustrious career. This mode has appeared in the series before in NBA 2K11, but this year’s addition is so much more.

NBA-2K23-JordanAlong with updated gameplay and better graphics, there are also interviews with players, coaches and other key figures before each playable milestone. The game lets you experience significant moments in his career first-hand, from the early days as a college sensation to his game-winning shot in the 1998 NBA Finals. You’re tasked with not only recreating the outcome of each game but also achieving key statistical milestones that Jordan reached. It’s a great mode for both basketball fans and those looking to take a trip down memory lane.

NBA-SunsNBA 2K23 Graphics and Presentation

One of the most important aspects of any sports game is how it looks and plays. In this department, NBA 2K23 shines. The player models are incredibly realistic and the attention to detail is amazing. Clothes wrinkle and deform realistically as players move, while jersey logos look like they’re stitched on.

The broadcast angles and commentary once again are the benchmark in the sports video game genre with stellar visuals and audio. Small things like this might not seem like a big deal, but it all comes together to create an immersive experience.

The game also features an excellent soundtrack that includes current hits and classic songs. There are also licensed tracks from artists like Megan Thee Stallion, Drake, 21 Savage and more.

NBA 2K23 WNBANBA 2K23 Gameplay Enhancements

The new gameplay features improved animations, more realistic skill moves, and accurate player builds. These provide a more authentic experience with increased control. The enhancements focus on shooting, playing defence, takeovers and AI gameplay. The gameplay is overall far more balanced especially for those looking to build something outside of “sharpshooter.”

My NBA ErasNBA 2K23’s MyNBA is incredibly deep

The fresh take on MyNBA Eras lets you explore different “what if” scenarios and rewrite the league’s history. As you play, you can relive memorable moments in pro basketball, or create new league-changing moves. Visual Concepts clearly has some of the biggest fans of the sport in their midst, because this mode is incredibly deep. It’s a love letter to NBA fans both new and old. For example, you can play around with draft classes and reposition your picks to build a multi-generational dynasty. You can also keep franchises like the Seattle Sonics, or Vancouver Grizzlies in their original hometowns.

Along with this, there are multiple voice commentary teams to match the era you choose, helping to keep things fresh. Overall, MyNBA is an incredibly deep mode that should keep fans of the sport engaged for hours on end.

MyCAREER J ColeA more fleshed-out story in NBA 2K23 MyCAREER mode

The all-new MyCAREER experience is one of the most extensive and intricate I’ve ever experienced in a sports game, period. After you are drafted into the NBA, you need to strike a balance between your professional and personal life to grow your brand. The game does a great job of fleshing out the story, with interesting cutscenes and dialogue that will pull you into the plot. There are some cringy moments, sure, but overall, I was constantly entertained. Along with your on-court performance, you’ll also be navigating your career through music, fashion, and business.

MyCAREER Elite

The choices you make will determine how your career pans out. For example, if you’re drafted by a small-market team, you might have to decide whether to try and lead them to glory or force a trade to a bigger market. There are also important relationships to manage, like with your agent, coach, and teammates. The new MyCAREER is an engrossing and well-written experience that should not be missed.

THE CITY FireworksNBA 2K23 carves a path into THE CITY

With so many modes, it’s great to see MyCAREER integrating more directly into THE CITY mode. This urban area acts as an expansive online hub, with different neighbourhoods to explore. The narrative around the mode has you completing tasks to win over fans of different districts. There’s plenty to do, including streetball games, pick-up games, dunk contests, and more. You can also interact with other players, or just explore the world. Visual Concepts has done an impressive job of creating a living, breathing world where you’ll be able to show off your player creations.

THE CITY KOBE CourtMore heart in THE CITY

This year THE CITY experience is driven by your player’s career narrative, assigning tasks to help you to continue to grow. For example, you might be asked to put on a dunk contest to win over a certain district. Completing these will help unlock new gear, courts, and players for use in other modes. It’s a great way to keep players engaged, and it’s something I hope other sports games adopt in the future. 2K also listened to player feedback and thankfully increased the density of the city and added subways that are fast travel points. Previous instalments saw players have to contend with lengthy travel times, now it’s much more manageable. Overall, THE CITY has made some great additions that give MyCAREER mode even more legs.

NBA 2K23’s implementation of virtual currency

While there are some terrific new additions to NBA 2K23, the overuse of virtual currency still hampers the experience. You’ll be able to use real money to buy in-game items, which can give players an unfair advantage. When it comes to both MyPLAYER and MyTEAM you can beef up your attributes and team by spending extra money. For those who actually put in the time, it’s a daunting task to catch up. It’s a shame that this microtransaction system tips the scales in favour of those who are willing to spend more money. Hopefully, 2K will address this issue in future instalments and find a better balance to the formula.

Giannis dunkFinal Thoughts on NBA 2K23

NBA 2K23 is one of the deepest and most engrossing sports games I’ve ever played. There’s so much to do, and it’s all presented in an incredibly polished package. While the microtransaction system is still a concern, it doesn’t take away from the wealth of content that is offered. If you’re a fan of basketball, or just want to experience one of the best sports games out there, I highly recommend NBA 2K23.

+The Jordan Challenge is a fantastic homage to the sport has ever seen
+ Extensive MyCAREER mode with interesting plot and characters
+ THE CITY mode is much more fleshed out and offers plenty to do
+ Improved visuals and commentary create a more immersive experience

– Microtransactions give players who spend more money an advantage
– There’s a steep learning curve, so be sure to get an early handle on the fundamentals

OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF NBA 2K23

Gameplay: 3.75/5
Graphics: 4.5/5
Sound: 3.5/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5

Overall Rating 3.9/5 (78%)

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Matthew has been involved in all things tech related since the start of the digital era. He shares his passion for technology in his day job as a teacher and via multiple media platforms. As a long-time veteran of the video game and tech industry, he's covered interactive entertainment and esports on the web, in video series, podcasts, and on international television. You can follow Matthew's tech-venture filled lifestyle on twitter, instagram @dapper_tux and his website www.dappertux.com

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