Goatesque or bidesque? As every year with the approach of the new NBA season, Take-Two unveils its basketball simulation with this year the legend Michael Jordan in the spotlight, alongside Devin Booker, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and J Cole. And the PS5 and Xbox Series X version particularly marked us.
Three different builds for NBA 2K23
A quick reminder of the NBA 2K license, as since the launch of the latest generation consoles, NBA 2K23 offers 3 different versions in terms of gameplay finesse, graphic/technical capabilities, and content. This test covers the PS5 and Xbox Series version, while a PC, Switch, PS4 and Xbox One version was released in parallel. A mobile version is scheduled for October 18.
Expected every year on the technical field, NBA 2K23 does not disappoint this season. Apart from a few application crashes on PS5 during certain quests, probably temporary before the first updates, the title is at the level of the last generation of consoles. Last season’s excessively intense lighting on certain rooms has been corrected, certain failed models have been revised, and the collision engine is still just as impeccable on PS5 and Xbox Series. Finally, remember that in terms of sound, each NBA room now has its own official speaker. Often criticized for the variety of its animations, numerous but unchanged for several seasons, 2K has raised the bar very high this year. New lay-ups, new dunks, counters in the race, one-handed shooting in ave maria, possibility of hanging on to the hoop for a long time, the license specialists will be shaken up from this point of view.
Seemingly minor, the changes in gameplay will also force “meta” addicts to rack their brains to create the best career player and teams in place to reinvent themselves. No more takeover per team (when the capacities of each player are increased tenfold) that can be activated when only one player is boiling, it is now necessary for each member of the team to perform well. Also, a dribbler can only attempt an explosive dribble 3 times per possession, otherwise they will be weak in finishing on the last attempt. It will be necessary this season to play collectively, and not only to use the leader-pivot connection. Finally, let’s talk about shooting. While previously a fluorescent green animation accompanied perfect timing and a shot from the start of the ball, indicating to everyone that the shot was going to go in, this animation now only occurs as soon as the ball touches the hoop or goes in. Ditto for the indications of defense and imperfect timing if you checked the option in the parameters. Knowing that the timing is more demanding than last seasonwe advise you to remove the shooting gauge in the settings to have a shooting bonus in the event of good timing, and not to give any indication to the opposing team who will not start a counter-attack directly in the event of a missed gauge .
The Theater of Dreams in my Career
It is also more difficult this season to develop a perfect archetype. During player creation, some abilities are interdependent, for example in shooting abilities. It is no longer possible to have a three-point shooter without them having any free-throw or mid-range ability, or a good free-throw center without having any mid-range shooting attributes. Compromises to be made which will cut back on defensive capacities or badges to unlock, for example, to limit ultra-complete players. Once the player has been created and the Career launched, there is a whole new town, smaller (about 20%) than the previous one. Less vast but much more functional with a metro system, and a brand new and more immersive team room (it is possible to be in the passageways!), it is just as lively and pleasant as that of NBA 2K22.
In terms of the scenario, no epic staging like last season, but a rivalry with Shep Owen, a player chosen in the middle of the Draft like you and in the same position. It’s the NBA 2K with the highest number of cutscenes, but it’s possible to skip them. Once the NBA entrance quests have been completed, the player can move on to the quests for several main courses (fashion, music, nba, college flashbacks). Sometimes tedious or difficult to perform depending on the position, these quests are still a good way to discover the city and its novelties such as theater. New building that adds 6 temporary online game modes, renewable over the seasons and a perfect alternative to the park. For the first salvo of modes this year just to illustrate this to you, we have for example a mode reserved for players with less than 75 of general, the Clutch mode with possessions of only 12 seconds or one with a line at 4 points.
The return of Michael Jordan
Regarding the solo pan of the iteration, Take-Two has perfectly respected the tribute aspect to Michael Jordan by bringing out the closet the Jordan Challenge mode. Already present on NBA 2K11 (with 10 challenges), it is a succession of challenges where we relive the 15 most important games of MJ’s career. With 3 objectives to complete per encounter, it’s also the opportunity to (re)discover the immense career of His Airness with the rules and TV skins of the time and via visual effects specific to old televisions. A sort of “The Last Dance” with Sirius music by Alan Parsons Project in the background (the Chicago Bulls’ entrance music) with some particularly high challenges (scoring 63 points against Boston, getting 8 rebounds in the university final , etc.).
From Bird to LeBron, in My NBA there is something for everyone!
One of the great satisfactions of the game is its depth in the usually solo mode, but possibly playable online, My NBA (the association since 2021 of former My GM and My League). We embody a franchise manager with a 200% configurable league system, but this season a novelty will not go unnoticed for the most nostalgic. Even if we could integrate historical players via Fantasy Draft before the season, now a choice of decade is essential: the 80s with Magic Johnson and Bird, the 90s of the Bulls of Jordan, the 2000s with Kobe Bryant, or the modern era dominated by the Warriors. All the teams and staff are adjusted to the time, the TV skins of the time, the visual identities of each franchise… and even the Drafts that can be carried out! An XXL addition and a real pleasure in immersion. What coal for hours on the management of his favorite decade.
Co-op in MyTeam mode
If the MyTeam card game, similar to the “Ultimate Team” games of other sports simulations, does not radically change its formula, it improves on several points. First, it is now possible to play in co-op in MyTeam in Triple Threat (match 3 against 3, first team to 21 points). Each member of the team plays with an NBA player acquired on the card, a great step forward and a good alternative to the Career, since we control a current or historic NBA player this time. Another novelty is the possibility of “blocking” a position, ie controlling only one player throughout the match and leaving control of teammates to the computer. Useful if you are not comfortable controlling the whole team, if you want to progress in a position or win a challenge to improve the player’s card. For the rest, the lifespan is consistent with the many online/solo challenges, the classic seasons where you face opponents of the same level without constraint (unlimited MyTeam) or with team constraints to respect (limited MyTeam ) and therefore the 3 against 3 possibly in coop. A little regret this season on The W, an exclusively female career mode where the created WNBA (American women’s league) player joins a franchise and starts at 75 in general before progressing over the matches. The latter is almost unchanged from last year, and earns less VC.
The color of money
Where the shoe pinches in this edition, and it is sadly not a surprise, is at the level of virtual currency. Like the last titles of the license, it will take more than 260,000 VC to raise a player from 60 to 85 in general rating, i.e. 60€ in VC. All without spending currency in MyTeam mode! The need to find the right archetype the first time is therefore crucial. Note that this season the “rebirth” quest allowing you to redo a player and raise him directly to level 90 if you have enough VC is available by raising his first basketball player to 90 and winning a game of hide and seek with Ronnie 2K. To finish on the gray areas, the career matchmaking for the REC or Pro-Am modes is always limited, unbalanced with confrontations and combinations of positions sometimes turning into a nightmare. But with the many satisfactions brought by the opus, we will pass for this time.
- Lifespan further improved!
- A lot of new and enjoyable animations
- The shooting system, more demanding and fair timing…
- …and over 15 gauge choices
- A city ideally designed with the addition of the theater
- The return of the Jordan Challenge, taking
- The best My NBA mode of the license
- Graphically and technically at the top
- My Team is gaining depth
- XXL and enjoyable career mode…
- …despite some tedious quests
- Some career crashes
- The W not improved enough
- The need for VC further increased
- No matchmaking overhaul
At the end of a more than convincing episode with NBA 2K22, Take-Two had to live up to the athlete of its cover. And in the end, the GOAT Michael Jordan can be proud: NBA 2K23 version PS5 and Xbox Series is undoubtedly the best opus of the license released to date. In addition to the already gargantuan lifespan, further improved in solo and multiplayer thanks to a My NBA mode boosted by the choice of 4 eras, the return of the Jordan Challenge, the coop mode in My Team and the Career Theater, the gameplay in will delight some. The former crazy dribblers are now limited online and must think collectively, the shooting timing is more demanding, but much fairer and a lot of new animations come to shake up the regulars. Graphically impeccable, taking in immersion with old-school skins for period matches, the title enters the Hall of Fame. Only gray areas, the usual desire (or even need) to take out the credit card to get more VC and advance your player, a matchmaking that is still quite unbalanced and some crashes on certain career quests. Even MJ can have flaws.
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