It’s been the same refrain for years and the beat goes on here with NBA 2K24 edging out MLB The Show 23 for best career mode in 2023.
The other part of that chorus is of course the microtransactions that plague 2K’s career mode. MyCareer remains the most diabolical version of microtransactions in a sports game, and it seemingly only gets worse year after year. It haunts this mode, and yet it’s consistently voted as either the best or second-best version of a career mode.
Does that say as much about how little other sports games are doing in this area? Yes. Still, things like The City are impressive even beyond sports games, and it’s easy enough to find the joy in the mode if you can look beyond the microtransactions. The best way to do that is simply not play online. As an offline career mode, it’s hard to debate anything else comes close to MyCareer in terms of the sheer amount of stuff available to you.
And really that’s 2K’s strategy here (and has been) in terms of winning people over with this mode. The gameplay loop is solid enough, but it’s all the extras here that don’t exist elsewhere in sports games. The narratives in MyCareer are incredibly stupid almost without fail, a lot of the mini-games are forgettable, and a lot of the wandering you do in The City feels perfunctory. Regardless, even if there’s a lot of garbage, you’re going to find something that grabs you and keeps you coming back if you’re into this sort of mode.
No other sports game can quite pull that off. The Show just does not have the depth to compete with NBA 2K, and so while The Show’s mode is more “pure” than 2K’s, The Show’s version has wandered off the beaten path just enough in the last couple years that 2K sneaks out a victory.
Separated by just a couple percentage points, NBA 2K24 beats out MLB The Show 23. EA Sports PGA Tour came in a distant third with 13 percent of the vote, and then WWE 2K23 came in fourth with 10 percent of the vote.