We need to talk about NBA 2K23



Giovanni Valentine, Opinion and Entertainment writer

NBA 2K23 is the newest installment in 2K Games’ annual basketball video game release. It’s surprisingly not bad, especially after players were forced to experience last year’s 2K22, or as I would refer to it, “a never-ending Cheese-fest.”

Namely consisting of overpowered builds that were near impossible to play against to annoying exploits and glitches, 2K23 seems like a nice breath of fresh air for myself as well as the 2K community.

It launched on September 9th and is available now on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox One S, Nintendo Switch and Steam for PC. It offers four editions of the game: Standard Edition, Digital Deluxe Edition, Michael Jordan Edition and Championship Edition.

To keep things fair, I will not downplay the game for the micro transactions because that has been a part of the 2K Games for as long as I’ve been playing. I won’t join the club of complainers and crybabies.

I felt a lot of nostalgia, which isn’t surprising since most of what’s here is almost, if not the exact same, as the previous years. But in all honesty, there are a few elements of this year’s release that make it stand out a bit.

A frontrunner is The Jordan Challenge, a returning feature that hasn’t been seen since NBA 2K11 makes its triumphant return in 2K23. This mode is a monument to the legendary career of Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest of all time.

I think it’s pretty funny that they’re showcasing some of Jordan’s best moments in this installment considering his number for most of his career was 23. Fifteen of Jordan’s career-defining moments have been elegantly recreated for a newer generation of Basketball fans to experience.

From his first All Star game where he scored 40 points and was voted as the MVP in 1988 to him squaring off with a young Kobe Bryant in 1997 (Kobe’s second NBA season). All the way down to his “Last Dance” in 1998 with the Chicago Bulls, clinching their sixth and final championship.

Even Erick Boenisch, Vice President of NBA Development at 2K Games and Visual Concepts Entertainment, said on the Bulls Talk Podcast, “It was a passion project. We spent all year getting every single detail.”

I have loved every bit of playing this mode since Michael Jordan is one of my favorite players. Seeing and experiencing all of these moments like you’re really watching him live is so insanely thrilling, not to mention the graphics are phenomenal.

Another new addition to this year’s 2K23 is MyNBA Era. Some players have done their best to customize their leagues to replicate leagues from the past. However, MyNBA Eras allows players to choose an era, pick their team and play Association MyNBA with that league including that time’s rules, rosters and TV presentations.

I have played this mode, but it is not really my thing. However, it is an interesting concept, so I hope players that like this mode enjoy it to its full potential.

Now we’ve reached the star attractions, MyCareer and Park. MyCareer is pretty straightforward except for a few things. The MyPlayer builder has been completely overhauled compared to other previous installments.

One of the newest features being the Leadership system, replacing last year’s takeover system. Takeover still exists, although in a less extensive role. The better a player performs, the more their Takeover bars fill up over time. The first bar is for your Secondary Takeover; second is for your Primary; third is for Team Takeover.

I like this change because it makes players need to rely on themselves a lot more rather than just getting carried by their teammates.

I, myself, like being a lone wolf (unless I’m playing with the squad) so if the “randoms” (random people) I’m playing with start “selling” (playing terribly) then I can come back myself and get us the win, angrily calling the randoms trash while simultaneously giving myself praise.

It also gives players a reason to vary my style of play from one game to the next, slowing down the cold, creeping touch of stale-ness that is unfortunately inevitable.

Okay, enough about MyCareer. Let’s talk about the annual festival of consistent toxicity and suffering that is Park. NBA 2K23 continues the push of “Next-Gen” consoles such as the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

Basically, Park is split between the generations of consoles. The City for Next-Gen and The G.O.A.T. Boat for current-gen. Before you ask, no, there is no cross-play between next-gen and current-gen.

PS5 and Xbox Series X owners have the choice of playing either the next-gen or current-gen version of the game. PS4 and Xbox One owners are limited to playing the current-gen version only.

The City should really just be accessible to all players no matter what console they play. And to make things worse, cross-play between PlayStation and Xbox still isn’t an option for this game.

Anyway, Park is kind of the same as in previous years. Broken builds, people greening shots from half-court, people still trying to constantly dribble, etc. Most veteran players will say nothing’s changed, but I disagree. I feel that the developers at 2K did their best to make a better experience for this year.

Now, aside from the yearly, money-draining time waster of a mode known as MyTeam (the second most source of micro transactions) and The Inclusion of the WNBA for the third year in a row, that’s pretty much a quick gist of NBA 2K23.

2K23 feels like just a complete breath of fresh air. Even though haters and critics may say It’s just 2K Games annual cash grab, I feel that It’s much more than that.

The developers really did their best to make this installment stand out from its predecessors, making this feel like a new experience entirely. Even though I haven’t had too much time to let the game settle in with me (or severely anger me), I still have hope for this game. Not high hopes, just hope.

However, as previously mentioned, staleness and/or burnout is inevitable when it comes to these games. I, for one, will do my best to enjoy this game to its fullest (at least until I have to pay $100 more for next year’s game).