First NBA Game To Feature A Rapper?
Another year, another sports title, and another NBA 2K game arrive at our virtual doorstep for fans to enjoy as 2K23 celebrates the legacy of Michael Jordan with the Jordan Challenge. The cover athlete for the regular edition of NBA 2K23 is Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns, one of the rising stars of the Mavs as well as the NBA itself. Following up with last year, the WNBA athletes are also as prevalent as the organization is shown with the NBA teams on the covers and in-game.
Like most versions of 2K, there’s also a special edition, this time the aforementioned “Dreamer Edition” edition. NBA 2K23 celebrates the inclusion of rapper and player J.Cole, featuring the artist on the cover as well as having a cameo appearance in this year's MyCareer mode. As with previous years, there are current-gen and previous-gen versions of the long-running series, with the previous gen having fewer features. Of these, we have the outlier of the group. I am of course talking about the Nintendo Switch.
NBA 2K23 Is A ‘Switch’ In Progress
It was the Switch version that I was interested in looking at, however, because the Switch has been the console that players are least likely to play on. After all, why play a significantly inferior version when the Series X and PS5 versions are right within grasp? Well, for research purposes of course, but also to serve as a learning experience. Take it as “We did this so you don’t have to.” You'd think I already learned my lesson with NBA 2K22... Why the negativity before the game is even started? Well, because for first-time 2K players on the Switch, you will need a few accessories before you are even able to play the game. A micro SD card is a requirement as the game demands at least 38 GB of space to be installed on the Switch.
While there is game data on the cartridge, the majority of the data is download only. (Ringing any bells from our previous Mass Effect first look?) The fun doesn’t stop there as the WiFi capabilities of the Switch have always been lackluster, especially when downloading full-size games from the eshop via personal experience. This is why players interested in downloading Switch games must invest in a USB wired LAN adapter, as downloading games via ethernet is a billion times faster than Switch’s WiFi. I’ve learned this the hard way as the amount of time it has taken to fully install the game on the Switch has totaled around two hours.
Needing Hardware To Enjoy The Bare Minimum
NBA 2K23 is a massive game across all consoles so it’s best to leave it running overnight or when you have nothing better to do, but on the Switch, it’s so abysmal it’s laughable. If you have the OLED Switch, however, enjoy your newly added ethernet port that was much needed. The OLED Switch also has more than double the size of the original Switch so an SD card isn't needed, but for those who have the original Switch and Switch Lite, well, it's not worth it.
My first thought when the game finally downloaded and I reached the main menu screen was how laughably low-resolution everything appeared. While on the recording it may not look as bad, on the TV it was abysmal as the Switch version used probably the lowest resolution of Jordan they could find in their database. For reference, the PS5/XSX versions require at least a hundred gigs of space. This required 40, a mere fraction of the space, which made this version appear dated even by Switch standards.
Cutting NBA 2K23 Some Slack
I will give credit where it’s due, as the cutscenes shown in MyCareer are for the most part faithful to their original counterparts. The models look pretty good, with details and facial animations to appear realistic as possible. In an exhibition match, the pre-match starting lineups and pre-game interviews are also a nice touch, showing that the game itself is rather positive presentation-wise.
However, the Switch is simply an inferior console, so corners had to be cut in many ways. Back to MyCareer mode, the apartment that the player is in is as lifeless as staring at a blank room with no form of texture added whatsoever. I jokingly stated that the interior reminded me of CJ’s House from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas but looking back at the images I captured, I wasn’t far off the mark.
Everything Is A Painful Experience
Even gameplay-wise it’s a bit lagging
and it's even WORSE this year, offering a simplistic model in which the AI will score every basket possible but your own AI flounder about like gasping fish. I’m sure I’ll hear “Why didn’t you go to 2K University if you were unsure of the controls!” and to that I say, I wanted to see the game in motion and not spend over an hour learning the game. In motion, the game looks really good that I often forget I’m playing on the Switch until close-up of the models and the crowd snaps me back to the reality that I placed myself in.
The major positive I can attribute to NBA 2K23 is its expansive roster, with probably the largest number of available players I’ve ever seen in a basketball game.
The game intends to celebrate the 75 years of the NBA’s existence and 2K pulled no punches, including almost every prominent team from the past 75 or so years. This also includes the “greatest players” that played on each team as a form of an “All-Star” team for each existing NBA team. Even the main roster includes bonus teams such as the All-Star Game teams and the Olympic teams, except for the recent 2020 Olympic team.
There's Literally No Difference Between This Year And Last Year
Yeah, even this year it's the same teams except for Team Lebron and Kyrie from this year's All-Star Game. Last year's "celebration" was just a ruse for giving us more of the same this year and I've been hoodwinked, bamboozled, and lied to.
So yeah, if it wasn't obvious already, this entire review is a copy and paste from last year's NBA 2K22 because Visual Concepts, 2K, and everyone involved didn't even bother fixing things from last year. It's the same exact game but a different MyCareer, same questionable graphics, and just a waste of money. As my words echo from before, don't get NBA 2K23 on the Switch.
NBA 2K23 is available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and Nintendo Switch.