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'NBA 2K23' New Gameplay Features And Enhancements Change The Game

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'NBA 2K23' New Gameplay Features And Enhancements Change The Game

The NBA 2K franchise is returning on September 9th, and to keep things fresh, there are a bunch of new features for players to enjoy. Check out the first look trailer below.

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A lot of the changes in NBA 2K23 come directly from suggestions made by the community, or how the game is actually played when someone has a controller in their hands. Mike Wang, Gameplay Director at Visual Concepts explains: “We value community feedback when deciding how to bring each version of NBA 2K to life, and this year’s gameplay enhancements reflect many of the changes our community was calling for the most.”

One of which being the introduction of a new ‘Semi-Pro’ difficulty setting. It’s designed to make the game more accessible, especially for new players. Currently, 2K’s lowest setting is ‘Rookie’, which was often deemed to be way too easy. Even if you knew nothing about basketball and had never played a sports game in your life, you’d probably still win the championship. The next step up was ‘Pro’, which was sometimes too hard. ‘Semi-Pro’ creates a middle ground in skill level, allowing new players to have fun and learn the game of basketball. 

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NBA 2K23 Gameplay Screenshot (2K Games)
NBA 2K23 Gameplay Screenshot (2K Games)

Wang continues, “From focusing on how players can attack the basket, to more realistic on-ball defence and a new tiered badge system, all the features we’ve brought to life in the game this year will create a more authentic gameplay experience that is enjoyable for everyone.” It’s clear to see that no matter what some people may say on social media about how similar sports games can be year-on-year, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to create the most realistic and enjoyable experience for players across the globe. 

A major concern for the development team was that often offensive play would be one player, say Giannis Antetokounmpo, dribbling through every single member of the opposition - so a new feature is being added to change the way you attack. Adrenaline boosts are consumed every time a player performs an explosive sprint, and once their three boosts are gone, players will notice their speed and acceleration decrease significantly for the remainder of the possession. The idea is to make gamers more creative in their plays by using the entire team, in a similar way to real-life matches. This will undoubtedly reduce the pace of the game but may increase your basketball IQ, which can only be a good thing, right?

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NBA 2K23 Gameplay Screenshot (2K Games)
NBA 2K23 Gameplay Screenshot (2K Games)

Another major addition for this year is the inclusion of shooting attributes, which give each signature jump shot its own unique shooting stats that help determine effectiveness. Think Luka Dončić, he’s one of the best young talents and scorers in the NBA. His jump shot is effective, however it’s relatively slow, which doesn’t translate well to the game. Players want to get their shot off as quickly as possible. However, with specific shooting attributes - such as ‘Defensive Immunity’, which makes your player harder to block - Luka’s shot can be more desirable in-game.

There are also five new shot meters to choose from, with 15 more that can be unlocked through 'Seasons' over the coming year. Mike Wang told us he wanted to get rid of any indication that a shot was 100% going in the basket before it leaves the player’s hands. It can be anti-climactic if you know you’re hitting a three instantly, instead of nervously watching that buzzer-beater spin around the rim, not knowing if you’ve won the game until the last. Therefore the green flash that players have grown accustomed to seeing is disappearing to add the drama of a real life basketball game.

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Furthermore, shot blocking is much more realistic. Giants like LeBron James will still have those massive moments where they leap like salmon to knacker the ball into the crowd, but smaller guards won’t be able to pull off blocks as easily. Realism, people. 

NBA 2K23 Steph Curry's Iconic Sleeping Celebration (2K Games)
NBA 2K23 Steph Curry's Iconic Sleeping Celebration (2K Games)

AI gameplay also vastly improves. Much like on a Tuesday night in Phoenix, if Devin Booker is dominating the game, the opposing coach will make tactical adjustments to try and stop him. Teams will now dynamically adjust in NBA 2K23 to do that as well. Though, I’m not sure there’s much you can do to stop Steph Curry from scoring threes from the half court. 

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In addition, there’s the aforementioned brand new tiered badge system. 16 badges will populate each attribute category: eight in Tier 1, four in Tier 2, and four in Tier 3, with the basic idea being that players need to equip a certain number of lower tier badges before progressing to the higher tiers. The same badges were being used over and over in previous games so this is a way of mixing things up.

When asked about his favourite addition in NBA 2K23, Wang said, “Rim hangs are a lot of fun, it feels like a finishing move in a fighting game where you’re flaunting on your opponent.” I reckon that’ll be used in a very similar way to the ‘shush’ celebration in FIFA. 

Featured Image Credit: 2K Games

Will McCue
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