Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Major League Baseball 2K10 for Xbox 360

Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: Sports, Baseball
Rating: E for Everyone
Release Date: May 12, 2009
Publisher: Take 2 Interactive, 2K Sports
Developer: Visual Concepts

With the Major League Baseball exhibition season just underway, it is time to load up my Xbox 360 with this year’s edition of Major League Baseball 2K10. Major League Baseball 2K10 is the only option for realistic baseball for Wii and 360 owners, since Take-Two Interactive owns sole third party rights to the Major League Baseball license. Exclusive rights are what have prevented this game from achieving great potential in the past. When there is limited competition, you’re able to put out a sub-par product without suffering from reduced sales.

Included are a lot of game modes; franchise mode, online mode, home run derby and drills. Most notably is the newest edition to this year’s version, called My Player. Much like the “Road to the Show” in the MLB The Show series, you create a player and begin their career just after they’ve been drafted. Your goal is to perform good enough to be noticed by coaches in the Majors and eventually be called up. This game mode is nice for people who might want to experience playing an entire 162 game season but don’t have the time for it. Unlike in all other game modes, where you have the ability to control anyone on your team, in My Player, you only control your player when he is involved in the action. Everything else is skipped over, only showing you a gamecast like summary of the action.

2K10 really takes advantage of the right analog stick in all areas of gameplay. Both hitting and pitching are performed by moving the analog in certain ways. Power swings consist of moving it backwards, then quickly forward, whereas making a contact swing is just a forward push. Pitching consists of moving the analog in a predetermined motion that’s unique to each type of pitch. The timing and accuracy of the movements, affect the pitch’s speed, movement and accuracy. This is one of the few aspects Visual Concepts does better then the MLB The Show series.

A lot of the little problems make it feel as if 2K10 was rushed through the testing phase. I’ve noticed players wearing incorrect numbers as well as aspects of stadiums being wrong. There are also some well documented instances of players batting while their bat is lying on the ground next to them (search for it on YouTube). Other things just display a lax in the editing phase of production. For instance, almost every player looks like their hat is about three sizes too big. Fortunately, this edition doesn’t seem to have as many problems as last year’s did, but that’s no excuse for allowing it to happen.

The sounds, on the other hand, are great. Ambient stadium noise couldn’t sound more realistic. Things like random crowd shouts and organ music make you feel as if you are actually out at the ballpark. Alternately, the announcers often say things that are untrue, such as a ball was foul when it was actually fair or a player stopped at first base, when they were standing on second. Even their little one-liners get repeated way too often, sometimes three or four times a game.

Major League Baseball 2K10 takes some big strides in being a successful baseball simulator. Unfortunately it is full of bugs and mistakes that shouldn’t have ever been seen by the consumer. If you own a Sony system, you should probably buy MLB 10 The Show instead, because it better exemplifies the little aspects of the sport. For everyone else, you’ll enjoy the My Player mode enough to get a couple weeks worth of play out of it, but the $60 price tag is a little high.

The Gaming Savant says: Good Buy.

March 17, 2010

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