MLB 2k10 ReviewMatt Andrews
Fresh spring air, hot dogs, and overpriced beer; it has to be baseball season. 2k Sports is back again this spring with MLB 2k10 to try to capture all that America loves about its favorite pastime. Each year baseball stays the same, but baseball videogames must change, and this year MLB 2k10 has its hits and misses.
MLB 2k10s hit is its all new pitcher vs. hitter technology. There is no denying that MLB 2k10 has taken virtual pitching and batting to a whole new level. As a batter, youll face pitchers who seem to analyze and understand your every move. Swing at a ball out of the strike zone and expect the pitcher to try to get you swinging at that same spot later in the at bat, and even later in the game. Crack a line drive up the gap though, and expect a few more balls than your last at bat. Pitchers in MLB 2k10 give artificial intelligence a whole new meaning. Batting itself is controlled with the right stick, allowing you to swing for the fences, try to just put the ball in play, or take a defensive swing at that questionable third strike pitch.
User pitching is equally dynamic. Each pitcher has his own series of pitches with one best pitch. Throwing your best pitch every time wont strike out every batter. In fact, throwing the same pitch for an entire at bat makes striking out any batter nearly impossible. Youll have to mix up your pitch selection and placement, and understand a few key concepts of pitching to be a truly effective pitcher in MLB 2k10. Pitching is also controlled by performing a two-part motion with the right stick. Losing focus and making the wrong motion will result in a wild pitch, and timing the motion just right results in a little extra juice on your fastball or bight on your curve. The AI of batters is slightly less impressive but that is mostly by the nature of batting itself. When most players only get on base once out of every three at bats, it is hard to call that one occurrence anything but simple probability. None the less, the games mastery of batting and pitching is clear.
Combine great pitching and hitting with solid fielding mechanics, and the core game play of MLB 2k10 is solid, and really quite impressive. The game is certainly one of the most enjoyable baseball games to date if quick play and online multiplayer are your games of choice. Unfortunately, with Sonys MLB 10 The Show as its very respectable competitor, MLB 2k10 needs to go above and beyond in terms of its game play modes and audio visual experience, and unfortunately it falls just a bit short.
MLB 2k10s first major game mode is the traditional franchise mode. Players choose a team to play season after season with, managing every aspect of the franchise. The game allows you to tweak just about every aspect of the game play from the difficulty, to the number of games in each playoff series, and literally everything in between. When it comes to the depth of the franchise management though, the game feels a bit lacking. It doesnt allow you to make any non-player franchise decisions like upgrading stadiums, changing jerseys and some of the little things that we loved about so many great franchise modes. It does allow you to propose trade (most of which will be turned down), as well as pick up and release additional player in the off-season. All in all, the franchise mode in MLB 2k10 feels pretty vanilla.
MLB 2k10 offers an all new game mode called My Player for gamers to experience baseball in a totally new light. My Player mode gives players the option to create their own player. Shocking no? Players can be tirelessly adjusted to look like their real life counterpart, made to be ridiculously disproportioned, or just randomly generated by the game, all the options gamers know and love. You then pick your players position and are tossed onto minor league team to work your way into the big leagues. Choosing you position is no decision to take lightly, as each position has its own completely unique game play.
In My Player, you only take the at bats of your player, and play his position in the field, and run the bases when you get yourself on base. If you play the infield, expect ground balls and line drives, and know what to do once the ball is hit your way, because if you dont turn that double play, you could be letting the game tying run on base. Outfielders will be chasing down fly balls, hitting cutoff men, and occasionally making the throw home to save a run. Catcher is a position to be avoided at all costs. Lastly, pitchers will be in on every pitch and get the occasional appearance at the plate, making for a totally unique style of game play, one of the most enjoyable in the game. Your performance rewards you skill points which you then use to improve your abilities, to meet personal goals, and hopefully get called up to your organizations major league team.
My Player is definitely a new spin on baseball for gamers, but it is certainly not without flaws. Small style hiccups are common. Your player will run of the field in the wrong direction regularly, and roll the ball towards the mound despite the direction his arm moves. Additionally, controls can be an issue, especially when base running. Advancing and retreating can be controlled by the right and left trigger, as well as the right stick. The problem is that the right stick is also used to adjust the camera before the pitch. Not being able to adjust the camera while running is a minor gripe since the game typically shows you the balls flight well enough to make running decisions. Gamers will inevitably be thrown out on occasion due to this control flaw, and with base running skill points being all but impossible to come by, its incredibly frustrating.
When it comes down to it, My Player will for many MLB 2k10 owners be the highlight of the game. It deserves credit for breaking from conformity to create a unique virtual baseball experience. Unfortunately, the execution is just shy of impressive, and the feature comes across as entertaining but unrefined.
In addition to the essentials, MLB 2k10 offers some extra things to play with including Home Run Derby for up to eight players, drills for fielding base running batting etc., and a Post Season mode allowing you to skip all the hard work and just play the MLB playoffs. Theyre nice touches, but most gamers will only try these as a break from their franchise or My Player career, and they add minimal value to the game.
Ok, Major League Baseball 2k10 has one last chance to set itself apart as a baseball game worthy of your hard earned money. No sport in the world looks as good as a baseball game on a beautiful spring day. Blue skies, excited crowds, groomed turf, and high socks are just a few parts of the wonderful spectacle that baseball is. MLB 2k10 once again falls short. Everything is pretty average. The textures of the field, the sounds of hits, and the movements of the crowd are nothing to write home about. The stadium and player rendering is actually above average, as is the in-game commentary, but theyre lost in the glitches of My Player and control issues. As a whole though the audio/visual experience in MLB 2k10 is like much of the game, acceptable but unimpressive.
Major League Baseball 2k10 has bits and pieces of greatness. The batter vs. pitcher mechanics are unparalleled, core game play is solid, and My Player presents what could be a vital component in the future of baseball videogames. Lacking graphics, unrefined My Player controls, and a somewhat shallow franchise mode will leave gamers wondering why the game couldnt quite capitalize on what could have been a great game. It wasnt great, it wasnt terrible, but MLB 2k10 was definitely disappointing.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.