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Topic: Off the Bench - Our In-Depth NBA 2K23 Review
Steve Farrelly
AusGamers Editor
Posts: 9492
Location: Sydney, New South Wales

Monetisation has, for better or worse, made its way into the traditional gaming space as a key pillar. Sat alongside feature points like "open-world", "multiplayer" and "ray-tracing", as if it was a developer tool baked into Unreal Engine, "in-app purchases", loot boxes and more permeate the space. And problematically, for all the 'won't pays' out there, there's more 'will pays', which leaves publishers and devs leaning, more often than not, into not only what works, but what makes the most money. Sometimes at the detriment of the core experience.

Enter the NBA 2K franchise and its latest installment, NBA 2K23...

2K and Visual Concepts get a lot right in this franchise. And its flavour and tone, which is normally a culture tilt into the broader world of basketball, from street ball and music, to NBA pathways and the big time, has always been a selling point. But over the past while the actual game of basketball has taken a backseat to trinkets and bells and whistles. Like being told you're off to the court with your carer to play some basketball, only along the way they've stopped at every damn store they can so when you finally make it to the court, you only have five minutes to shoot around before it's too dark to play.

At least that's the sentiment Joaby walked away with from his review of the game -- a deliberately belated piece to get deep on every inch of what's on offer in NBA 2K23.

Here's a snippet:
The more cynical take on the weirdly out-of-place MyCareer mode is that it's designed to frustrate people into spending money. That the tedious back-and-forth and cringe-inducing questlines are carefully honed to convince players that maybe dropping a bit of cash to get a few levels wouldn't be so bad.

And sadly, that's where I land in the end. On the cynical side of things. NBA 2K is a billion dollar enterprise, it doesn't do things by accident. It chose to put MyCareer front and centre, to put MyTeam right below it, to bury the ability to simply play a game of basketball in layers of menus.

The shame of it is that I genuinely think it's the best representation of basketball ever...
Click here for our full NBA 2K23 review.

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