Brief look at NBA 2K23
After playing 2K23 for a while, thanks to the early release of its fancier Michael Jordan Edition, I realized there was still something to write about. But this isn’t a review. An alert. A plea.
So, this is not a full, all-around review of NBA 2K23. If you want to know how defense has changed, how it feels to dribble through traffic, or if the changes made to MyGM mode are better than last year, I’m not the person to ask. I’d rather use this year to look at 2K23’s place in the world of video games as a whole. If you want me to review a basketball game, I’m sorry, but 2K isn’t really interested in making one, so I guess we’re even.
Because NBA 2K, like most other big sports games, always has the same content, here are some parts of my NBA 2K22 review that, even though they are old, will be used as if they were new:
The game’s constant hustle and nagging off the court wears me out so much after so many years that it takes the fun out of basketball. MyCareer is so bad because of its off-key branding and constant ads that I didn’t even care that the story was made up. I didn’t want to spend any time in the multiplayer modes either because they are so full of microtransactions, grinds, and ads.
I think the fact that you have to try so hard to ignore the shakedown in a full-priced retail game should be enough to make even the most laid-back fans suspicious. The way 2K22 makes money is always in your face, nipping at your heels in every menu and teasing you on every splash screen. Things like the fact that every cutscene in the game can be skipped right away except for the first five seconds of a heavily Gatorade-branded timeout will drive you crazy.
Best Basketball Game ever
I don’t want to have to work to watch a basketball game. I just want to watch a basketball game.
If you think I’m being lazy by just reposting those old takes instead of writing new ones, this game might not be for you.
Let me say this right off the bat: If you just want to play an old-school sports game where you can control an NBA team for a few seasons and maybe even run one for a while, you can still do that here. Just invite some friends over and pass the controller around. In theory, you could buy NBA 2K23, play just these game modes like it’s 2009, and then go on with your life. You might even have a lot of fun doing it, because even though it’s old, the product on the court is still pretty good (I’ll talk more about this in a minute).
There are some bad things about this game.
The real point of NBA 2K23, on the other hand, isn’t what’s being talked about in all the marketing and pre-release hype, nor is it what’s at the top of the game’s main menu. MyCareer and MyTeam are the most popular game modes in NBA 2K23. They get all the attention and gimmicks because they are designed to get you to spend money, even though you already paid $60 for the game. We all know that the only thing NBA 2K23 cares about is getting money from you.
I’ve spent the last week playing NBA 2k23 on PC, and I’ve noticed that it hasn’t changed much in the last three or four years. In fact, some things have even gone backward. MyCareer mode is a shell of what it used to be. Not only does it keep last year’s weird cruise ship setting, but it also keeps your character’s nickname. It turns out that 2K19’s lovingly corny storyline was the series’ high point. The broadcast tie-ins for 2K23 are not as good as those for previous games. The game’s economy has also changed. To level up your MyCareer character, you will need more VC (the game’s virtual currency, which can be earned in-game but is best bought with real money) and time than last year. If you don’t know what this mode is, it’s a single-player campaign in a $60 game you already bought.
Still worth every penny
If you like the shakeup or don’t mind paying full price for the half of the game that hasn’t changed, keep buying it. But if you’re tired of this game’s focus on making money off of you and you want something to change, you’ll have to stop buying it and get a lot of other people to do the same.