Is NBA 2K23 the best sports simulation? | Review

Is NBA 2K23 the best sports simulation? | Review

September 2022 is an intense month for fans of the wedge ball: while the Eurobasket stars ignite the parquet and the WNBA finals come to life, it's time for basketball also played with NBA 2K23, the new chapter of the basketball by Visual Concepts. The real NBA will only resume next month, but the new virtual sports season will not make you miss the biggest clashes that fill the arenas, indeed, this year the NBA show transcends the ages and calls to itself old. and new players.

In NBA 2K23, Visual Concepts chooses to pay homage to another, great, number 23: Michael Jordan, and therefore, after NBA 2K11, the Jordan Challenge returns in a version revised and expanded that takes into account past rules, presentations and playing styles for an immersive basketball simulation. Anyone who has never seen Jordan play or heard of his exploits from The Last Dance documentary will be able to relive key moments in his career from the 1982 National Championships between North Carolina and Georgetown to Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals against Utah. Jazz.

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The AI ​​will tend to apply patterns and tactics of the time and physicality under the basket will be one of the points to master to block the opponent's game. Being able to tap into the park of movements and offensive skills with the renewed gameplay of the series gives a lot of fun, especially since the Jordan Challenge is a mode that certainly requires tactical attention to complete the required challenges, but it is above all a way for players of all levels to search the showmanship in games that have marked the sport.

For those who love the basketball there is no better way to celebrate this sport than by tying your shoes and taking the field giving your all. Each era has its rivalries, its protagonists and the potential of this mode are all in the will of the player who can start his path by choosing between four eras: Magic vs. Bird era, the era of Jordan, Kobe and the modern era to start from what is the now stable experience of the last few years.

The WNBA and The W also continue to expand in NBA 2K23, but the feeling remains that this is a minor gaming experience that still has a long way to go to reach its potential. The game has adjusted admirably to include the All-Star game, the Commissioner's Cup, however, The W and continues to be a separate and less in-depth experience than MyCareer's male counterpart, both in character development and in narrative level. The online is separate and lives on a community of its own and not integrated into The City. In this mode, there are a number of objectives that the community can achieve together or you can complete other objectives individually to unlock rewards.

Your player, the your team

Among the pillars of NBA 2K23 we can include "My Career" and "MyTeam" that marry that combination of online and single player game that can accompany the player for a long time and with numerous gaming activities. In MyCareer we go from history to online gaming by crossing the streets of "The City" - available only on next gen -, in practice a more contained hub than in the past in terms of size but rich in content such as unique basketball courts, gyms, shops and side missions. The direction taken by the team is shaping the contents to take on an increasingly marked role element, at least in the number and type of missions, but in terms of quality and depth of the contents we always remain within the boundaries of fetch quests designed to make places and people known. and allow the player to explore the possibilities offered as he faces rivalries, builds his business and imprints his career.

This role-playing influence still doesn't quite convince us, especially when the narrative that supports all events is far from being incisive and engaging. The distribution of missions and events often ends up weighing things down, only lengthening the time between one game and another. We perceive a general slowness in the progression that also extends to the gain of VC to be reinvested in statistics and customizations. Those who want to get everything immediately can buy credits to improve their character and it is in this way that the greatest gap is created between those who try to obtain, with a lot of effort, the same results and those who put their hand to their wallet.

To mitigate a little that sense of slowness and emptiness that could come by navigating the spaces of The City, this time the NBA 2K23 team has implemented a system of movement through rapid journeys by subway or by other vehicles like skateboarding. Fast travel works well, skateboarding is a bit more woody starting from the control of the vehicle. Sometimes we accidentally got stuck on the stairs with no ability to remove the skate from our feet. There is still a little something to refine, as well as stability. Generally the game in its most action-packed parts remains at 60fps but within The City there are performance drops also due to the number of people present in the same area.

For those who love challenges on the pitch to test your build, The City still remains the main destination and the most attractive. For those who prefer to replicate the 1vs1, 3vs3 or 5vs5 experience having the greatest NBA champions available, then MyTeam remains the point of reference this year too. In terms of content, it has good additions and we can see a simplification of some mechanics that could bring a greater audience closer, perhaps more interested in the collectible aspects than in the management per se of the team.

In NBA 2K23 contracts have completely disappeared and in Dominion, Challenge and Triple Threat for single player you can restart the game if the result is not what you hoped for, perhaps too easy. Among the new features are the Decisive Moment, a 5-minute game with special rules such as 4-point shooting line, 14 seconds of time to reach the conclusion and 2 timeouts available, and Triple Threat Online Co-op to play with friends even against the CPU or even face the competitive aspect by challenging other players online.

There are several possibilities to get packs or unlock players by working hard and climbing the reward rankings in an attempt, albeit shy, to reduce the gap between those who spend and those who don't. In the end, however, you have to come up against the fact that MyTeam is one of those modes on which the specter of microtransactions always hovers, especially if you play online. It is much easier to meet people who have invested money and put together a dream team with much more simplicity and less time.

Is NBA 2K23 the best basketball simulation?

When it comes to basketball video games, the 2K series is a bit like those Bulls of 92-93: winning overwhelmingly. Competition, in this case, is practically nil and without great stimuli coming from the outside, one might think that one relies on the usual certainties year after year without bringing about a real evolution. Lovers of sports games regularly find themselves wondering if it is not appropriate to proceed with a simple update instead of spending 80 euros for something that closely resembles the game of the previous year. NBA 2K23 introduces some innovations with a considerable impact on the flow of the game, which now appears less plastered and angular both in attack and in defense.

If last year the development team focused on defense, this he year to benefit from the main improvements were the attack and shooting mechanics, an essential component of every final phase with a well-built basket. In this edition, the shooting indicator makes a return, filling up to the ideal release point and then retiring. Basically there are five versions so that each player can find the most functional to his style of play to refine the jump shots.

The variety of shots is guaranteed by the high number of animations and the presence of shooting attributes that determine speed, release height, effectiveness against deployed defense and timing. The level of control for those who use the pro stick is much more precise and boasts a wider range of shots at the basket. Whether it's a pad or a massive dunk, the game is smoother. Even ball handling sees a greater number of solutions and possibilities that will surely make point guards happy who love to confuse their opponents with a nice crossover.

As nice as it is to be able to dribble showing off all your skills, Visual Concepts put a limit to indiscriminate dribbling by introducing the concept of adrenaline. Keeping a dribble too long for its own sake will only reduce one's energy level, making the movements slower and inaccurate, as well as trying to overtake the opponent simply by accelerating will only consume one of the three bars of adrenaline available, ending up making us lose control or becoming more approximate.

It is a measure that goes first of all to stem some problems of the online game often embodied by the abuse of forced penetrations in acceleration and by the long times of dribbles that do not benefit the team. As for the defensive phase, the most striking addition in NBA 2K23 is a new indicator under the player in possession of the ball that shows the three zones the defender can cover. The area highlighted in red is the area that is covering the defender and is divided into left-handed, frontal or right-hand coverage. A good positioning makes it difficult for the opponent who could stop the dribble or lose the ball.

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