Once again this year, the Visual Concepts team offers several versions of its basketball game. Indeed, the experience is not the same on PS5 and Xbox Series X as on the other platforms, but on the latter NBA 2K23 is trying to get back on the top step of the podium. Have the problems of the last opus been corrected? Has the title struck the right balance between a sports simulation and an RPG? The answer in this comprehensive test!
- Release date : September 8, 2022
- Style : Simulation, Sport
- ESRB/PEGI rating : E / PEGI 3
- Developer: Visual Concepts
- Publisher: 2K Games
- Operating language: French subtitles
- Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PS5 et Xbox Series X/S
- Tested on Xbox Series X/S
- Price during the test: 79,99 $ CA / 69,99 €
- Official site
- Version sent by the publisher
Career mode fixes
One of the big positives of the franchise developed by Visual Concepts has always been its career mode. NBA 2K23 continues in this line with the return of the semi-open world and an all-new storyline. The latter is very classic, but I felt the developers wanted to offer something a little different. Our character, always customizable from head to toe, has already completed his university course and we are drafted by the team of our choice. I also found it a shame not to be able to be drafted by a random team, but this is not the first time that the series has allowed you to choose your organization. Always referred to as MJ, the protagonist is however not well liked by supporters who would have preferred his biggest rival instead.
On paper, the story is believable, but in the dialogues it is something else entirely. The main reason why supporters of our news prefer our rival is that he is physically stronger. However, we can have the weight and size that we want even before starting our career. The argument of the scenario then becomes a little wacky when we find ourselves taller and bigger than our rival. Otherwise, the other flaw that I quickly noticed is that the cutscenes are omnipresent even after dozens and dozens of hours of play. You could say that it’s fun to have a game with a story, but in the long run we no longer really want to listen to the characters we meet.
A little smaller town
I remember during the introduction of the famous city in the series that it was much too big. The NBA 2K23 developers seem to have withheld press and player feedback. This new fictional town is smaller and it’s much nicer to walk around. It is always via this gigantic hub that you can access several online game modes or simply your missions in the career mode. The latter are, moreover, closer to each other and considerably reduce travel time. The ability to use a skateboard to get around is back as is the ability to maneuver on it. However, there has been no change in terms of playability at this level.
Still precise gameplay
It is once again a joy to play NBA 2K23 on the court. The developers continue their good work by improving the gameplay little by little. If it felt like the defense was a bit too strong last year, I didn’t feel the same this time around. The stamina gauge has also been completely revised and it is no longer possible to constantly chain spectacular points. The whole thing adds a lot more realism. A momentum system has also been added to give some advantage to the team that stands out the most on the field. For my part, I don’t feel that this feature has a real impact on my way of playing. For fans of 3-point shooting, know that you will have to be more precise this year. Indeed, the timing is more difficult to understand at first even if you get used to it quite quickly.
A tribute to Michael Jordan
While featured on the Special Edition cover, Michael Jordan made his comeback in NBA 2K23. The famous player is even entitled to a game mode entirely dedicated to his career. Called Jordan Challenge (present on NBA 2K11), it is possible to relive Jordan’s greatest glories. It is therefore possible to complete the 15 most important games of the career of this basketball icon. I would have liked to have had a little more, but overall I was very happy to relive some of those moments. Without forgetting that the developers of the Visual Concepts studio have also adapted the visual and sound design to correspond to the era of each of the encounters.
Nostalgia in My NBA
In sports games, I always take control of my favorite team and bring it to the top. I was, however, very surprised in NBA 2K23. The developers have pulled out all the stops to satisfy us, while it is possible to start your career as a manager in one of the 4 eras offered by the game. We find the 80s with Magic Johnson, the 90s with Jordan, the 2000 with Kobe Bryant, or the modern era with Lebron James in particular. Each of its periods offers its own rules, sound effects and visual design. It is even possible to continue your career as a manager to recruit our favorite players via the draft and change the course of history. Clearly, 2K Games has set the bar high with this franchise mode and is adding many hours of gameplay.
Some changes in the My Team mode
NBA 2K23’s Ultimate Team mode does not offer any major changes, but we can now note the possibility of playing with friends. It’s not a simple co-op, because you have to play as one of the players whose card you have to compete against other players around the world. Also know that for your usual matches, you can lock the position you want to play and play only one member of your team. These are small changes, but should please fans of online games and My Team mode.
The return of microtransactions
It’s no secret, and I feel like I repeat myself every year, NBA 2K23 features microtransactions. It is only through the virtual currency of the game that it is possible to improve your character. If we win a few coins during matches, we would have to be very patient to increase our player’s average rating as much as possible. I’ve always struggled with this system at 2K Games, as it affects all game modes. As long as the studio continues in this line, it will be difficult for the license to climb to the top step of the podium. It’s a shame especially since the rest of the game is of very high quality.
NBA 2K23 is catching up with the issues we experienced last year for next-gen consoles. Visual bugs have been fixed, especially for lighting effects, and the loading time has been optimized. Note that we have not had the opportunity to try the version of the other platforms and it is important to point out that there seem to be several problems on the latter. The franchise mode is complete, the gameplay still fun while the career mode is still impressive. Clearly the developers of the Visual Concepts studio do not seem to rely only on their achievements and that is a lot of good for an annual license.
NBA 2K23 test: a successful free throw
An increasingly immersive career
A smaller city that is pleasant to drive around
Even more fun gameplay
The Return of Jordan’s Challenges
An XXL franchise mode
A finally optimized visual appearance
The presence of microtransactions
Cutscenes a little too long
The WNBA present, but not enough