I know absolutely nothing about the sport of basketball. It was one of the many sports I was forced to play for a minute as a child. Since then, I’ve only ever played pick-up games with friends on rare occasions. That was until I saw the career mode trailer for NBA 2K23 that featured Willem Dafoe. I am a Willem Dahoe, so I immediately reached out to review the game, letting 2K know that I was approaching it with zero knowledge of the sport. They were interested in the angle and said they’d get me a review copy but quickly informed me that the trailer I had seen was fan-made…so I was locked into a review with no Willem. After a good amount of time with the game, I can safely say that NBA 2K23 is far more robust as a game than I expected from a sports title and is extremely easy to pick up.
Sports games were never my cup of tea because I was also hesitant to try without knowing the strategy and different ways to play the sport itself. Luckily, there is a mode in NBA2k23 to teach you everything about the sport of basketball and how to play the game. It shows you tutorials with text and live gameplay that you can jump into to learn the skill. It really made the whole thing approachable for me in a way I wasn’t expecting. Although, I did start the game and jump right into a game playing as the 95-96 Chicago Bulls, which even I knew was one of the greatest team line ups in history. It was an easy game to just pick up and play. I was really enjoying the game despite knowing having no idea what the controls were, but I picked them up naturally, which I think is important to making a game accessible. Even when I was scoring 3-pointers, I still felt the tinge of pain from not seeing Willem’s face in the game.
Speaking of the MyCareer mode in NBA2k23, I was really excited to create my character. I learned that there was an ability to upload a photo of myself via an app, but it wasn’t out on launch day (says the very angry fans on twitter,) but none the less, I persisted. I had to play this and become the best player I could…it’s what Willem would have wanted if he was in the game, but he’s not. The career features a full voice cast and original story complete with your very own rival! I played my first game and was like, “this is neat!” but then I learned about the City. This basketball game has a fully explorable map where other players can show off their characters like some sports MMORPG. I was absolutely blown away by how vast this game truly was, even though in it’s vastness… he wasn’t there.
Being that I am so removed from the yearly cycle of sports games, I don’t know how this has improved from last year’s. But I can say with my full chest that I do not regret this flub on my end. I’ve played the game in any free moments I’ve had to just pick up a quick game. It’s such a nice thing to zone out, throw on a podcast, and just take out any turmoil I have on the court. I’ve spent a lot of time looking throughout the options, such as making your own shoes. I don’t mean customizing shoes. I mean, you pick the brand, then from the ground up, you build your shoes. I was blown away by the ability to tweak something so small such as shoes to the ultimate level. The game allows you to do so much with beautiful graphics, a ton of modes, and customization out the wazoo. But even now…I just wonder what Willem would look like in the shoes I made for him. Anyway go pick up NBA 2k23 if you’re a basketball fan, but even if you are just looking for a fun sports game to try out!