The Digest: 2K presents some large improvements in their newest rendition of MLB, providing an addicting gameplay experience in a variety of different modes. Don’t let that fool you though, as there are still several areas that need improvement.
THE FACT SHEET
RELEASE DATE: March 2, 2010
PUBLISHER: 2K Sports
DEVELOPER: Visual Concepts
ESRB RATING: “E” for Everyone
Major League Baseball 2K10 celebrates baseball’s core battle: pitchers vs. hitters. Improved pitching mechanics and right-stick swing controls let you pound the strike zone and rake like a pro, along with a totally revamped fielding system, hundreds of new signature animations and a star player rating system that brings the action to life like never before. Get ready to battle.
- Work the corners – Based on each pitcher’s mechanics and official scouting reports, Total Control Pitching lets you put the ball exactly where you want it–provided you keep a close eye on your pitch count.
- Work the count – With Total Control Hitting you can time your swing to hit for power, put the ball in play or take a defensive cut. Batter’s Eye uses a hitter’s real-life eye rating to help you identify Fastballs, Breaking Balls and Off Speed pitches before they get to the plate.
- The Best Play Like the Best – True-to-Life Player Rating System, Signature Styles and a new Motion Model ensure every pitch, swing, catch, throw, steal and slide looks and feels like you’re at the ballpark.
- Become a Living Legend – With My Player Mode you can create a player, choose your team and then play your way into the Hall of Fame.
- Authentic Presentation – MLB Today delivers real-time scores, standings, news and stats to ensure timely commentary that reflects what’s actually going on in the Majors™.
Let me start this review off by saying that I am an avid baseball fan. Having played 2K’s MLB titles in the past, I have grown to expect a lot. Before receiving my review copy of MLB 2K10, I was passionately playing the demo, anticipating the final product. Upon receiving the games, I was thoroughly impressed with the detail and variety present, despite a few pitfalls.
In MLB 2K10, 2K Sports has taken serious consideration into balancing pitching and hitting. In my opinion, it’s almost too much. While 2K10 presents more of a realistic baseball feel (no slugfests or ‘meatballs’ anymore), I felt like the game is over-realistic. When playing multiplayer local games, it seemed that every game ended up having 4 or 5 combined hits in the entire game (between both teams). All it took to win was for the opposing pitcher to throw one bad pitch and have a solo homer hit against them. Easily 50% of the local multiplayer games I played were like that to some effect, a game won 1-0. The only difference was if you could somehow manage to rattle off back-to-back hits, in which case the opposing pitcher would “lose their composure,” allowing the hitting to becoming easier.
On the pitching end, the control schematic is different in MLB 2K10. Whereas in earlier titles the motion would determine your pitch, now you must select your pitch and then execute the motion. By changing the approach to pitching, 2K10 allows pitches to be overthrown or underthrown, depending on the motion and release of your pitch. By not properly throwing your pitch, it may falter from the targeted location, and ultimately contrast as a ball or strike.
MLB 2K10 presents several new features and game modes. One of those is the My Player mode. Allowing you to play as your own customized pitcher or position player, you live the life of a true ball player. As a position player, you will bat as your player, field as your player, and even base-run as your player. Getting outs, stealing bases, and getting hits all earn you points to help ‘level up’ your player. As you improve, you can move up from the minor leagues into the majors. Ultimately, you may even be selected for the All-Star Game or the Hall of Fame, depending on your performance. While this is a very unique and fun experience, it does becomes somewhat repetitive after a while, but no more so than the game as a whole.
MLB Today is another new game mode presented in 2K10. Linked live to the day’s specific games, MLB Today shows pitching matchups, game times, and more. If a player is out of the roster for that day, MLB Today will reflect it during gameplay.
Another expanded feature in MLB 2K10 is Inside Edge. Honestly, Inside Edge is incredible. The depth of stats presented in the interface is just mind-blowing. The menu version of Inside Edge presents everything from Strengths/Weaknesses to Count-Swing tendencies, to spray charts. Some are statistics that I (the baseball junkie) have never even heard of. A smaller, stripped down version of Inside Edge is conveniently present during gameplay, allowing you to check out the respective hitter or batter, as well as their tendencies and numbers.
The “safety swing” is a new mechanic in 2K10. Useful for 2-strike counts, it allows the batter to foul off border-line pitches. However, with the introduction of the safety swing, checking your swing is no longer possible. While this feature typically results in foul balls, it is also possible to line out, or simply swing and miss.
One pitfall of 2K10 is the inability to steal bases. It is near impossible without a large amount of practice. In order to properly steal a base, you need to time your jump perfectly and hope that it registers as the pitch is being thrown. Most of the time, you end up running before the pitch completes or you simply don’t run at all. I was even able to steal more bases after being caught in rundowns then I did the traditional way.
I did notice a few bugs in the game, specifically in the My Player mode. For instance, all of your fielding situations occurred on 0-0 counts. As games progressed on, the pitch counts of opposing pitchers reached well into the 100’s, sometimes as high as 200, without any fatigue or relievers entering the game. It seems like 2K missed a few other miscellaneous things (like the “Clutch Performer of the Game” being consistently wrong, or something as minor as abbreviating Arizona incorrectly for Spring training games). However, I feel that given the scope of detail to the game, a few minor errors are permissible for now if fixed in future title updates.
When hopping online, there was a noticeable delay in hitting and pitching, and it required adjusting your mechanics in order to play. After that, it was hard to become readjusted to normal (local) gameplay.
Other than that, the game was solid throughout and a recommended buy. With a few title updates, MLB 2K10 will surely become a solid title, and remain the platform MLB game for the Xbox 360.
(N.B. For those who haven’t had a chance yet, feel free to listen to the developer’s conference call we participated in.)
|- Much improvement over past titles
- Incredible detail (including Inside Edge)
- Variety of game modes
|- Subpar graphics
- Hard learning to hit
- Too dominant on pitching
Single Player: 8/10 | Multi-Player: 6/10
Special thanks to Access Communications for providing us with a copy of the game for review.
By: Anthony Arriaga
If you’re a 360 owner needing a fix for a baseball game hasn’t been easy the past few years. Every year we look forward to 2Ks latest baseball videogame only to come away disappointed with a game that, at times, wasn’t even playable. The worse had to be MLB 2K9 which offended me not only because 2K released a game that wasn’t playable from day one but, they actually wanted you to pay full retail price for it. As the release of 2k10 neared, I wasn’t even trying to get my hopes up. A franchise that once seemed so promising had let me down too many times. To me, 2K would have to earn my trust back and you know what? They did!
Not that my sights were set too low but the game was actually playable on day one. Then there is the much improved pitcher-batter controls which I absolutely love. It just makes button pressing for pitching and batting seem so dated. Having so much control is just more interactive and always keeps you on your toes. Fielding also received some patchwork which is in no small part to the improved frame rate. Presentation, which has always been a strong suit for 2K sports games, makes some improvements with the 3 man booth. The play by play and commentating is accurate and insightful. References made to previous games and previous seasons help to pull you in to the overall experience. MLB TODAY, which allows you to play games which emulate real world MLB stats and rosters, is a great addition.
Graphically, it’s probably not even the best looking MLB 2K game and there were some instances where things didn’t quite match up (Having C.C. Sabathia throw a perfect game and having Nick Johnson get player of the game in a 6-0 win because he got an RBI single) but, it’s clear 2K took the full development cycle to tighten the core game play mechanics and it shows. I was pleasantly surprised with MLB2K10 and now I’ll be excited to see what 2K11 has in store. I’m proud to see the 2K series make a comeback.
|- Framerate has improved from previous efforts making fielding much easier
- Commentary and play by play work is excellent.
|- Graphics took a hit at the expense of the framerate which is fine but, 2K should have this all together by now.
- Not glitch free. Some things that are more presentation than gameplay will start to annoy you after a while.
- Not being able to check swing. Why?
Single Player: 7/10 | Multi-Player: 6/10