Can Nostalgia and Its Crazy 'Eras' Feature Carry NBA 2K23?

A guide to NBA 2K23.
IMAGE SHUTTERSTOCK

It's that time of the year again. NBA 2K23 is here and internet law dictates that we should rip it to shreds for being the exact same old game we had a year ago. We reckon that aggression is more about the Devin Booker slander more than anything else. Well, sorry, 2K Twitter, this edition of NBA 2K has been a pleasant surprise so far, despite the macro-ad placements all over "The City" and the betrayal of the upgraded pro stick (or maybe this is more of the author being a noob).

Blame it on the development cycle for the fatigue, not the game itself. In this edition, the graphics, as always, are world-class. Meanwhile, the unrealistic sharpshooters of last year have regressed to the ranks of their real-life counterparts (like Tristan Thompson, who, for some goddamn reason, turns into Stephen Curry sometimes in NBA 2K22). These are good starts.

Here, let's get into some of the video game's new stand-out features, from the updated "Jordan Challenge" to "The City" and more.

Thoughts on 'The Jordan Challenge'

Photo by VISUAL CONCEPTS/NBA 2K23.
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You don't have to be a Jordan fanboy to understand the beauty of 2K's latest "The Jordan Challenge." It's the first time we're seeing this in the game since the wildly successful NBA 2k11 version. This remake of sorts takes us even further into the Jordan timeline rabbit hole, and it all starts with his North Carolina roots.

Here, we get to play 15 of Jordan's most memorable college games with the Tarheels. We, of course get to still relive the most pivotal moments of his career, from when a young MJ had a 63-point barrage against that '86 celtics to the Last Dance shot against the Utah Jazz in 1998.

A key difference between the first iteration and now is the era-appropriate filters and old-timey arenas. The retro-on screen graphics and bystanders are nice touches, too. We even get new interview segments from Jordan's contemporaries. It's a Jordan retrospect in video game form, really.

'The City' Blues

"The City," which had a 30-percent reduction in space after some harsh user reviews, is what separates NBA 2K from all the other basketball games we can't take shots at for legal reasons. A key addition to this year's version is "The Theater." Here, players get these side quests where the rulebook just doesn't apply. We also have skateboards and bikes again, which is great, even with the occasional lag. Remember that we can always take the subway.

Microtransactions are still there, unfortunately, and they can be pretty annoying, especially after seeing your seventh Mountain Dew logo. The presence of a pay-to-win thing is more invasive, too. Hey, we guess that's just how the world works, right? As the Gen Zers say, "it do be like that, homie."

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Product placement, like ads from Gatorade, Nike, and Nokia, among others, are woefully apparent, as well. But overall, it doesn't really dampen the experience.

'MyNBA Eras' and a Shamelss Love for 'This is Game'

With "MyNBA Eras," we get to drop into any period in NBA history and just live the life of the Magics, Birds, and Kobes of yesteryear. Some of the choices include "The Magic vs Bird Era," where we get taken to 1983, "The Jordan Era," where we get our start in 1991, and "The Kobe Era," where we can draft Shaq, Kobe... and even LeBron James. That's just crazy.

As for "This is Game," what can we say? What could be more immersive than playing as your favorite NBA and WNBA teams or stars? The improved player AI (in general) and the accuracy of the historic teams are nice, too. We played Lebron for four hours and we unapologetically loved it.

Things like the atrocious defense, less-than-desirable ad placements, and some glitches are excusable. All in all, the new 2K is all about nostalgia, quirky side quests, and an improved user experience. The adrenaline boosts and design feels more like something out of an online game. NBA 2K is still the most accessible and arguably best basketball video game we have, and it continues to deliver.

For more on gameplay enhancements, it's best to check this link out for an easy cheat code.

The NBA 2K23 Michael Jordan Edition and the Standard Edition at the NBA store. The NBA 2K23 Michael Jordan Edition is available for P5,090 for PS4 and PS5, while the Standard Edition is available for P2,990 for PS4 and P3,490 for PS5. For more information on NBA 2K23, please visit the official website. Follow NBA 2K on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook for the latest NBA 2K23 news.

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About The Author
Bryle B. Suralta
Assistant Section Editor
Bryle B. Suralta is the assistant section editor of Esquire Philippines.
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