NBA 2K23 | Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Monday, September 12, 2022

NBA 2K23 | Review | Switch

Like clockwork, 2022 brings another entry into the NBA 2K series with 2K23. While a lot of the attention this year (and last year) seems to have went to the next gen version of the game, 2K still continues to put the game out on all current generation systems, Switch included. With a plethora of returning features and one completely fresh one in the Jordan Challenges, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth taking at look at the game on Nintendo’s platform. Buckle up, because that’s exactly what we’re here to talk about. 

Gameplay & Modes
Although the next gen versions of NBA 2K23 have been getting most of the attention, the Switch version is full of plenty of modes that will keep you busy for dozens and dozens of hours. Quick Play, MyLEAGUE, MyTEAM, the ability to play as WNBA players and more. For this review and my time with the game so far, I focused mostly on the new/refreshed Jordan Challenges and My Career. 
Gameplay should feel pretty familiar to veterans of the series. Just as with previous years, defense feels pretty solid while offense seems like a bit of an upgrade over last year. The changes to last year’s shot meter made playing the game a bit tough, however, for 2K23, I’m finding it easier to make shots, even as a scrubby MyPlayer low life. Overall, things are solid all around when it comes to gameplay this year. 

Jordan Challenge
Although the Jordan Challenge is kind of a rehash from NBA 2K11, I think what’s on offer here is pretty fresh. For the record, I owned and played the heck out of 2K11 on Xbox 360, but I don’t remember trying out the Jordan Challenges back then. In that game, there were ten challenges to play through, but for 2K23, there are 15 challenges and a variety of ways to tackle them. A majority of the missions have you play through entire games, while others will put you in short, key situations.
Each of the 15 challenges contain three different goals to clear. These range from simple tasks, like just winning the game, to more challenging things, like scoring a certain number of points, getting XX amount of rebounds/assist to preventing a rival from scoring. You can’t access all of the challenges from the start, however, they will unlock subsequently as you play them. There is no need to clear the goals to move on, but if you’re looking for an honest to god challenge, there is some payoff to clearing as many of them as you can. If you can clear 40 of the 45 available goals, you will nab some in game items for My Career and MyTEAM. 

The retro filter and era-specific broadcast graphics are a super nice touch in the Jordan Challenges. Other additions, such as retro footage of the cities during the pre-game show and comments from NBA legends before each challenge add to the experience. This attention to detail is fantastic and truly makes it feel like you’re watching/playing a game from the specified period. You are also able to turn off the filter at any time, so if you want a clearer picture versus something grainy, 2K has you covered. The gameplay even changes a bit here, too, providing a bit more era specific level of play. Basketball in the 80s and 90s was a heck of a lot more physical, and I think that shows here with harder fouls inside and just a bit of a slower pace game overall. 
Overall, I’ve had quite a bit of fun with this mode and am glad that it was included in this year’s version of the game. If you’re a bit of an older basketball fan or are just interested in this aspect of NBA history, the Jordan Challenge in 2K23 is a must play. 

My Career
With this year’s version of My Career, you’re once again put into the role of MP. After setting up your player, you’ll choose your college and then the pro team that you would like to be drafted by. As your player walks across the 2022 NBA Draft stage, he’ll be greeted by boos from the crowd who are appalled by their team choosing YOU for a variety of unfounded reasons. Right off the bat, you learn about another big mouth kid named Shep Owens who was overlooked in the draft by your team of choice. He’s kind of salty about it, so he lets you have it verbally. 
I found the interactions with Shep are actually pretty funny. Of course, being NBA 2K, you have some options when it comes to responding and you can do this in any way that you wish (well, in the parameters of what is available to say). I found this iteration of MP to be pretty down to earth, which I’m sure some of you out there can relate to. Additionally, there are a number of conversations, interviews and more that you can take part in throughout the experience. 

Although you are put directly into the NBA right off the bat, you do have the option to play through “Flashback Games.” While it’s not quite the same as what we saw in 2K titles of the past, this does provide a small peek into college basketball. I kind of get this decision as some people just want to play games as an NBA player immediately in this mode. On the other hand, I really like the idea of building up your player from high school and/or college and then bringing him into the NBA. 
Just as last year, The City is locked to the PS5 and Xbox Series systems, however, The Neighborhood is still here. There is a boat here again, but there is also a small urban section that you can meander about, too. The boat serves as a hub for online play and offers a variety of missions that you can take on from NPCs. Honestly, this aspect of the game (online, missions, etc) doesn’t really interest me, so I didn’t do much with it. However, if online competition is your thing, or if you just want something different with NPCs and missions, this is here. 
I was able to do the face scan for My Player this year, and the results were…well, about the same as what they were in previous games. It’s passable. Player progression this time around is also pretty similar to last year. Sure, it still can be tough to make an impact when starting out, but you’ll get to the point where you can be effective after a handful of games. 

Visuals, Audio & Performance
Of course, the Switch version is quite a step down from all over the other versions of the game, however, it still continues to look pretty good. Players still sport a decent amount of detail and the stadiums look great. White guy hair can look a bit weird (which seems to be an issues across all sports games on the platform), but it’s good enough. As with the past few entires on Switch, the game does run a bit choppy during cut scenes - namely during My Career. Thankfully, this (by and large) doesn’t seep into the gameplay. Other aspects such as the commentary, general sound effects and overall presentation are amazing, as always, really giving players an immersive NBA experience.  
I’ve spent about half of my time with the game playing in handheld mode on my Switch OLED and things have been pretty decent there. I could just be imagining things, but overall, the text seems to be a bit bigger in some cases, which makes things a bit easier to see when playing on the go. Performance here is also pretty much the same, though I did see a few jumpy cutscenes here and there. As with playing in docked mode, nothing affected the gameplay too much. Whether you’re looking to play this on the OG Switch Switch Lite or OLED, things are pretty solid in 2K23. 

Overall, there’s not a major difference between 2K23 and the games that came before it on the visual front. Even with that said, things here are good enough graphically and fantastic with the sound and presentation. 

I was pleasantly surprised with 2K23. While I usually just stick with My Career, the addition of the Jordan Challenges brought a whole different element that I could enjoy on top of that. The attention to detail - uniforms, filters, broadcast graphics and gameplay - is fantastic. The visuals overall get the job done in this version, however, the audio, presentation and general performance are all top notch. If you have sat out on NBA 2K on the Switch for a few years, 2K23 is a great game to pick up. If you’re a a fan of Michael Jordan or the old school Bulls like me, this is almost a no brainer.

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