NBA 2K23 (PlayStation 5) Review

By Athanasios 09.04.2023

Review for NBA 2K23 on PlayStation 5

It is common knowledge. Annually-released sports titles are pretty much 1.1 versions of what came before. They offer the same thing, albeit in a fancier package, along with some extra stuff… if lucky. The NBA 2K series follows this exact formula, with NBA 2K23 basically being a mix of more of the same, despite it feeling like a step forward when it comes to a couple of things. The good news? It's quite enjoyable, even if that 'step forward' bit isn't that substantial.

You begin the game, the loading is lighting fast, and you are now in the arena. The "battlefield" is electric, the crowd goes wild, and players look and act the way they are supposed to. The series has always been a step above the rest in terms of look, and this is a perfect example of that. There are flaws, though, and you don't have to look too hard for them; stuff like wacky eye-movements, or clipping bodies. Audio-wise this also very well-crafted, with probably the only bit that can be annoying being how the broadcast starts to feel repetitive and stale after a few games. All in all, an audiovisual spectacle that NBA fans will adore, despite a few blemishes here and there, or the fact that this isn't really a next-gen kind of upgrade.

Gameplay wise this controls mighty fine, with some small mechanical improvements when it comes to some moves, like smoother scoops and reverses for example. The ball also rarely gets passed into nobody, the shot meter is much better adjusted than the one before it, and finally the AI moves in a more realistic way and doesn't just focus on attacking the one holding the ball. Could there be more to talk about? Sure, this is a welcome, but for all intends and purposes, small update, and it's not without flaws, albeit nothing that big that's worth mentioning.

The most popular mode, MyCareer, follows a blossoming star, who tries to fight through the ranks. It's the typical pseudo-RPG that many major sports titles have right now, with dialogue choices, and "missions" that boost your stats. Players are thrown into an online-shared hub world filled with quest markers and POIs that require lots of walking around, with somewhat tedious tasks that have a boring, mini-game-esque aura. Oh, and don't forget the microtransactions. The story, and whole experience is good, but this basically an MMO where those who don't have enough real coin to spend will have to struggle in order to turn their worthless amateur… into an unimpressive amateur. Get ready to gawk at player characters that bought their way to the top.

Screenshot for NBA 2K23 on PlayStation 5

Truth be told, fans of the sport will find more joy in Eras, which enables playing on one of four major periods, from the '80s to NBA's recent history, like the Michael Jordan era or the Magic vs. Bird one. Each separate "chapter" has different options and rules. As fun as this mode is, it soon starts to feel the same because the action of the court doesn't really change that much from era to era. In terms of presentation it rocks, as everything, for the player models, the broadcast, and when it comes to older periods, the vintage "filter," is perfect… but maybe the true highlight is the Jordan Challenges mode; a set of 15 games where you play as the Legend of the Chicago Bulls.

The Jordan Challenges is a journey that begins with the NCAA championship of 1982 to the 1998 match against Utah. A great ode to one of the best and most popular athletes of the 20th century, this revolves around playing some games, and completing a set of challenges (hence the name) in order to go to the next in line. The enjoyable gameplay of the mode is complemented by authentic commentary, with big names parading in front of the screen before each match. This '80s kid particularly loved the VHS filter and overall retro vibe of it all, which managed to send him back to that distant era.

In the end, what all need to know is very simple: expect a strong feeling of déjà vu. This is almost customary in annually released, major sports titles. Simply turn NBA 2K23 on, and then have your friends guess whether this is the new game in the series or 2K24. There are some improvements here and there, but this isn't the fully priced, next-gen installment some have been waiting for. Good game but better wait for a neat discount.

Screenshot for NBA 2K23 on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The problem that plagues all triple-A sports titles can be found in here as well. There's not much to say concerning the differences between NBA 2K23 and the previous entry. In other words, maybe only super-fans of the series or major basketball aficionados should care. If you have the patience to wait for a discount, what you'll find here is a great NBA game, with some cool modes that transport you to the past of the organization, with chief among them a meaty tribute to Michael Jordan.


Visual Concepts







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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