Analysis of NBA 2K23 MT: Spectacular on the parquet, but with the usual evils off the pitch

Starting an analysis or criticism is never easy. The fear of the blank page, they say. I’m about to start my review of NBA 2K23 MT, and the only sentence that crosses my mind is this: How can I talk about this installment without sounding like I’m repeating my review from a year ago? Or the ones I’ve done in the past with other means. Because the NBA 2K saga is right now at a point that evokes the eternal return of Nietzsche. We relive the same things over and over again, the same strengths, the same weaknesses, the same aggressive monetization… 

The truth up front: I had a great time playing NBA 2K23 MT this week and will continue to play throughout the year. I mean, I’ve been playing this saga for a good part of my life, if I played it so much without enjoying it I’d be a kind of digital masoca. The other truth ahead: NBA 2K23 MT’s gameplay is the most polished in the series and offers a real difference on the court, but everything around it – the aggressive monetization and micropayments, the grinding, the invasive advertising, the bugs and the lack of interest in offline modes – it only gets worse. If it seems to you that you have already read this and that is what all the analyzes of the saga always say year after year, reread the first paragraph. When Visual Concepts wants to make their game different, you’ll read a different review.

That does not mean that -another year- we are facing the best sports simulator on the market. In general, because if we only talk about basketball we are facing the only one. And I don’t like to start as pessimistic as I do here, because I think there’s always something to enjoy in every game if you’re optimistic, so I’ll start by talking about the good things that NBA 2K23 MT has. I like playing NBA 2K23 MT, I enjoy playing NBA 2K23 MT games, that’s why I recommend everyone to buy NBA 2K23 MT. This year’s installment has focused on improving defense to the point where I daresay it’s even too dominant now. But it is all a matter of tweaking with updates, the game has been developed during a pandemic and it is understandable that they have had less time to balance everything to the millimeter. 

Defense, defense and defense

If you leave a moderately competent marksman alone, there’s a good chance he’ll hit it, yes. But now it’s very rare that someone manages to nail it when you put your hand on their face, even with badges. And the typical heavy online player who only knows how to feint from side to side one, and another, and again until he releases the shot… well, he has had this week to discover that he has to expand his repertoire. Adjustments on defense make players more proficient at stopping drives to the basket or following up on feints. It is rare to come across clean trays or shot windows of more than a few moments, as one would expect in real life. The gameplay in general is more physical – yes, read the first paragraph again – and the movements more real, although there is still that dribbling, that collision or that occasional animation that takes you out of the immersion. But now they are less frequent.

However, the plugs are broken, or at least that is the impression they make. It’s understandable that Joel Embiid sends for towels to my 1.88 meter point guard, but when you see Trae Young blocking players who are head and a half taller than him, being one of the worst defenders in the league – you can’t imagine what it hurts him to say this to a Hawks fan like me- you know there’s something wrong with defensive balance. Again, this doesn’t take away from how good NBA 2K23 MT’s gameplay is compared to the previous installment, and the defense has made a real leap in quality from one year to the next. Want to get more info? You can rely on NBA2King!