Goatesco or Bidesco? Like every year as the new NBA season approaches, Take-Two unveils its basketball simulation with legend Michael Jordan in the spotlight this year, along with Devin Booker, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and J Cole. And the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions have 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, graphics / technical capabilities and content. This test covers the PS5 and Xbox Series version, while a version for PC, Switch, PS4 and Xbox One was released in parallel. A mobile version is scheduled for October 18.
Expected every year in the technical field, NBA 2K23 does not disappoint this season. Apart from some application crashes on PS5 during some missions, probably temporary before the first updates, the title is at the level of the last generation of consoles. Last season’s overly bright lighting in some rooms has been fixed, some failed models have been revised, and the collision engine is still just as flawless on PS5 and Xbox Series. Finally, remember that in terms of sound, every 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 a lot this year. New lay-ups, new dunks, counter in the game, one-handed shots in ave maria, the possibility of clinging to the basket for a long time, the licensing specialists will be shaken from this point of view.
Seemingly minor, the changes in gameplay will force even “meta” addicts to scramble to create the best player in their career and teams in place to reinvent themselves. No more acquisitions per team (when each player’s abilities have increased tenfold) that can be activated when only one player is on the boil, now it is necessary for every member of the team to perform well. Also, a setter can only attempt an explosive dribble 3 times per possession, otherwise he will be weak in finishing on the last attempt. It will be necessary this season to play collectively, and not just 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 about to enter, this animation now only occurs as soon as the ball touches the basket or enters. Ditto for the indications of defense and imperfect timing if the option was checked in the parameters. Knowing that timing is more challenging than last seasonwe recommend that you remove the shot bar in the settings to have a shot bonus in case of good timing, and not to give any indication to the opposing team that it will not directly start the fast break in case of missed bar.
The theater of dreams in my career
It is also more difficult this season to develop a perfect archetype. During player creation, some skills are interdependent, for example in shooting skills. It is no longer possible to have a three-point shooter without them having free throw or medium range skills, or a good free-throw center without any medium-range shooting attributes. Compromises to be made that will reduce defensive capabilities or badges to unlock, for example, to limit ultra-complete players. Once you have created the player and launched the Career, there is a whole new city, smaller (about 20%) than the previous one. Less expansive but much more functional with a subway system, and a brand new and more immersive squad room (it’s possible to be in the corridors!), It’s just as lively and enjoyable as the one in NBA 2K22.
In terms of 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 most cinematics, but you can skip them. Once the NBA entry missions are completed, the player can move on to the missions of several main courses (fashion, music, nba, college flashback). Sometimes boring or difficult to perform depending on the location, 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 mode salvo this year just to illustrate it, we have for example a mode reserved for players with less than 75 overall, the Clutch mode with possessions of only 12 seconds or one with a 4-point line.
The return of Michael Jordan
As for the solo overview of the iteration, Take-Two perfectly respected the Michael Jordan tribute aspect by bringing out 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 match, it is too the opportunity to (re) discover the immense career of His Airness with the rules and TV skins of the time and through visual effects specific to old TVs. A sort of “The Last Dance” with the music of Sirius by Alan Parsons Project in the background (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, there’s something for everyone in My NBA!
One of the great satisfactions of the game is its depth in the usually solitaire mode, but possibly playable online, My NBA (the association from 2021 of the former My GM and My League). We embody a franchise manager with a 200% configurable championship 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, right now a ten-year choice is fundamental: the 80s with Magic Johnson and Bird, the 90s with the Bulls of Jordan, the 2000s with Kobe Bryant, or the modern era dominated by the Warriors. All teams and staff are adapted to the time, the TV skins of the era, the visual identities of each franchise … and even the drafts that can be done! An XXL addition and a real pleasure in diving. What coal for hours on the running of his favorite decade.
Cooperative in My Team 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 of all, it is now possible to play co-op in MyTeam in Triple Threat (match 3 vs 3, first team at 21 points). Each team member plays with an NBA player acquired on the card, a big step forward and a good alternative to Career, as this time we control a current or historical NBA player. Another novelty is the possibility of “blocking” a position, that is to control only one player for the whole game and leave the computer to control teammates. Useful if you don’t feel 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 in which opponents of the same level are faced without constraint (MyTeam unlimited) or with team constraints to be respected (MyTeam limited) and therefore the 3 against 3 possibly in a cooperative. A small regret this season on The W, a female-only career mode in which the player created by the WNBA (American Women’s League) joins a franchise and starts at 75 overall before progressing into matches. The latter is almost unchanged from last year and earns less VC.
The color of money
The point where the shoe pinches in this edition, and sadly no surprise, is at the virtual currency level. Like the latest license titles, it will take more than 260,000 VC to raise a player from 60 to 85 in the overall valuation, or € 60 in VC. All without spending money in MyTeam mode! The need to find the right archetype the first time is therefore crucial. Note that this season the “rebirth” mission which allows you to remake a player and take him straight to level 90 if you have enough VCs is available by taking his first basketball player to 90 and winning a game of hide and seek with Ronnie 2K. To finish in the gray areas, career matchmaking for REC or Pro-Am modes is always limited, unbalanced with clashes and combinations of positions that sometimes turn into a nightmare. But with the many satisfactions brought by the opus, we will pass for this time.
- Lifespan further improved!
- Lots of new and fun animations
- The shooting system, more challenging and right timing …
- … and over 15 caliber choices
- An ideally designed city with the addition of the theater
- The return of the Jordan Challenge, taking
- The best licensed My NBA mode
- Graphically and technically at the top
- My team is gaining depth
- XXL career mode is fun …
- … despite some tedious research
- Some career crashes
- The W hasn’t improved enough
- The need for VC has 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 of it: NBA 2K23 PS5 and Xbox Series version is arguably the best license opus released to date. In addition to the already gigantic lifespan, further enhanced in solitaire and multiplayer thanks to a My NBA mode enhanced by the choice of 4 eras, the return of the Jordan Challenge, the cooperative mode in My Team and Career Theater, the gameplay will delight some. Former crazy dribblers are now limited online and have to think collectively, the timing of the shoot is more challenging, but much fairer, and lots of new animations come to rock the regulars. Graphically flawless, dipping into old-school skins for vintage matches, the title enters the Hall of Fame. Only gray areas, the usual desire (or even need) to pull out the credit card to get more VCs and advance your player, a still quite unbalanced matchmaking and some crashes in some career quests. MJ can also have flaws.
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