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NBA 2K23: The Kotaku Review - Kotaku

NBA 2K23: The Kotaku Review - Kotaku

NBA 2K23: The Kotaku Review - Kotaku
Sep 20, 2022 2 mins, 42 secs

What could possibly be left to say, for a series whose relentless pursuit of player’s time and money “sucks the life out of the basketball itself”, and in 2022 just keeps on doing it?

If 2K were going to keep tossing out the same predatory shit year after year, as the main focus of the series became increasingly disinterested in the sport of basketball, why should I keep reviewing it at face value?

I instead want to take this year to review 2K23's wider place in the world of video games.

I don’t want to have to work just to enjoy a game of basketball.

I just...want to enjoy a game of basketball.

Let me get this out of the way up top: If you are someone who just wants to play an old-fashioned sports game, one where you can get through some seasons controlling an NBA team and maybe run one for a bit, have friends over and pass a controller around, that still exists here.

You can, in theory, buy NBA 2K23 and play like this, just these game modes, like it was 2009, and go about your life.

MyCareer and MyTeam are 2K23's flagship game modes, the ones where all the gimmicks and attention are lavished, because these are the modes specifically designed to extract money from you at every turn, even though you’ve already spent $60 just getting the game in the first place.

The game on PC also appears to be frozen in time; while sports game developers will always crow about advancements to some technological buzz word, in reality the on-court experience in NBA 2K23 is eerily similar to not just 2K22, but 2K21, 2K20 and even 2K19.

I wouldn’t know, though, because despite getting the full-price PC version of the game, and downloading 130GB of data, I have been playing the PS4/Xbox One edition of NBA 2K23, as for the third year running 2K have decided against bringing the next-gen version to PC.

Like, yes, there’s a basketball game in here somewhere, which in theory should appeal to basketball fans, but it’s not to be found in the game’s main multiplayer mode, MyTeam, which is actually just gambling (and resale) with a veneer of basketball plastered over the top.

I just want to play basketball.

This game sucks, and gets worse every year, but it’s the only game in town.

I want to ask 2K why they can’t spend a little more of their profits on genuinely improving the game, not just fine-tuning its exploitative economy.

I want to scream at one-time rivals EA, who haven’t managed to release a competing basketball game since 2018, and ask why they can’t mobilise some of their own billions to release something that lights a fire under both series.

This game isn’t even about video games anymore.

For 2K23 the basketball is just the vessel, the excuse.

Because as I’ve found after years of railing against this series, there’s no amount of exasperated reviews on video game websites, or frustrated Reddit comments, or pissy tweets at Ronnie 2K that will move the needle on this.

Simply being around this video game


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