NBA2K23 is adequate but flawed

The+cover+art+for+the+Michael+Jordan+edition+of+NBA2K23.

The cover art for the Michael Jordan edition of NBA2K23.

Dominique Moise, Senior Writer

When I got to play NBA2K23 for the first time, I had a lot of mixed feelings. As an avid basketball fan, I’ve cherished memories of watching my favorite players make gravity-defying, heart-pumping, and jaw-dropping plays. For years, I’ve cheered on superstars like LeBron James, Devin Booker, and James Harden. I have spent hours on end at the park or in my driveway reenacting some of the NBA’s greatest plays. And for millions around the world, NBA 2K is the closest to the NBA they’ll ever get. You can play quick games however you want, create a player and raise them to superstardom, or manage a franchise while leading to that illustrious Larry O’Brien trophy. 

However, some of NBA2K23’s aspects are shaky and distract players from what matters most: emulating NBA basketball. To me, the three biggest features of the game are Play Now, MyCareer, and MyNBA (franchise mode). So, let’s dive into what this year’s game has to offer.

In Play Now, there’s a lot of new and exciting features in NBA2K23. With the legendary Michael Jordan on the cover for the Legend Editions, 2K celebrates his iconic career with the return of The Jordan Challenges. You start off playing as Jordan in the 1982 NCAA Championship when he played for North Carolina, and you progress from there. In each challenge, there are three objectives you’ll need to complete to move on. It ends with the storybook ending of game six of the 1998 NBA finals against the Utah Jazz. It immerses players with retro graphics and for Jordan fans, it’s nothing short of a nostalgic joyride. As for the regular experience, the gameplay is solid and for the most part, the A.I gets the job done.

In MyNBA, the introduction of Eras mode is groundbreaking. Rather than having to use custom rosters or mods, you now have the ability to play four of the NBA’s most definitive time periods. There’s the Magic vs. Bird Era (80s), Jordan Era (90s), Kobe Era (2000s), and the Modern Era. Each era has a different presentation, gameplay style, and flair that allows players to fully plunge into their favorite decade.

But the MyCareer mode is where NBA2K23’s biggest problems exist. A virtual city dedicated to all things basketball,“The Neighborhood”, is visually stimulating. However, it is flawed. Yes, the opportunities are practically endless, but it tends to be a bit too time-consuming. Traveling around is difficult, the mandatory side missions get boring quickly, and online play gets spotty at times. 

Although, the most infamous downfall of all is the microtransactions. Having to spend a few hours just to get enough virtual currency to buy basic sweatpants isn’t right. Grinding won’t get you very far because other players are spending hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars just to get an overall boost. Even if you get a bundle with 100,000 VC included, you’ll have just enough to compete with others online. Playing through the story mode takes longer than ever and the storyline is nonsensical. It feels like it’s only a matter of time before the game exasperates you.

Overall, I would give NBA2K23 a 6.5 out of 10. The conflictions of solid gameplay, exciting new modes, and predatory microtransactions make any argument for the game sophisticated. Without a doubt, 2K23 is the best basketball video game there is. No other title matches the graphics, content, and style that it possesses. But as long as spending as much money as possible is more important than playing the game, it won’t get any high praise in my book.