There is no easy way to put this but Major League Baseball 2K9 was one of the worst outings 2K has put out with its baseball franchise. It was not that long ago that 2K first grabbed the exclusive license of the Major League Baseball (besides Sony for the Playstation platforms) and many worried that 2K may just rest on the fact that it had the license. Well last year sure didn’t please many of the skeptics with a game that felt half finished and more unpolished then a final game should ever feel. So with the pressure to deliver in 2010 does 2K Sports step up to the plate or will they once again be warming the bench?
Let me just get this out of the way, comparing Major League Baseball 2K10 to 2K9 would be a huge slap in the face to the new game so I won’t be making all that many comparisons between the two. First things first lets just talk about the gameplay. I have felt over the past few years 2K has lost sight of what it wanted to be and went to much down the middle. Basically meaning that they couldn’t decide whether they were going to be an arcade game or a simulation baseball title. This year it seems to definitely be more focused on realism and yet you can still see some arcade elements lagging in different areas of the game.
One of my biggest complaints of Major League Baseball 2K10 is that it still feels like a game comprised of several parts rather then a single experience. I got the feeling right away that one team worked on the pitching, one worked on fielding, and one worked on batting and they put it all together and tried to tidy it up at the end. Unlike last year however this year it doesn’t feel like they ran out of time.
I digress, the pitching in Major League Baseball 2K10 is still a bit of hit and miss for me. You use the right analog stick to string together certain pitches. For example a fast ball is straight back and forth where as a curve will have your rotating the right analog stick. The control does give you a lot more feel on your pitch at the same token it does take longer to master. Pitching does feel better balanced this year so the top guys won’t always be striking out the side where as the low guys aren’t just playing home run derby. I have to admit the control scheme for the first time really grew on me and it actually worked quite well.
Fielding in the game is really hit or miss, as there are still times that the game has random animations and clunky. This is by far one of the weakest areas of the game and I have to admit I really just got no satisfaction playing the field. Even when you turn a great play there is just nothing responsive enough about the experience that warrants the desired emotion. Batting hasn’t changed much from years past either using the analog stick controls which hasn’t always scored well with the fans but I am kind of ambivalent I think they work but aren’t perfect.
The big new mode is the career mode (called My Player) is a pretty run of the mill career mode where you of course start by creating your player. You start off in AA and work your way up to the big league which is a huge addition for the franchise and a needed one. However when you compare the My Player career mode to The Show found in Sony’s baseball game My Player just doesn’t stack up. The mode is still a little thin in features and has some issues along the way. I will say that with it all stacking up though this is still a worthy first attempt for 2K.
Overall the game is still feature rich with modes and the gameplay does manage to make a huge leap forward from previous games. That is not to say that it is perfect as there are still many areas I would like to see improvement especially in the fielding department.
Visually Major League Baseball 2K10 actually goes the wrong direction in terms of trying to bring the real life feel of baseball to the video game. There is still that issue of the disconnect between the action happening on the diamond and what you think should happen. For example just simply making a simple play between the shortstop to the first basemen feels a little clunky. There is nothing inherently wrong with the visual department but we have seen the game of baseball done with so much more fluidity that its hard to really feel good about what your doing when the animation doesn’t coincide.
Although Major League Baseball 2K10 is probably what we should have gotten out of last years game I still had a lot of fun playing through this game. I knew 2K would end up getting a career mode in this baseball franchise like they did with their NBA 2K franchise which was quite good. This career mode definitely feels like the first version and I would imagine it will only get better from here. All things being considered this is a much more enjoyable and capable baseball experience that has the online depth for those that want it and the offline for those that want that. The only thing that really needs improving upon in a major was is to continue to decide the direction of the franchise and to go with it.
In no way shape or form is the overall package of Major League Baseball 2K10 superior to MLB 10: The Show, it just isn’t. However I would be doing everyone a major disservice if I didn’t mention that the gap is closing and in a big way. This is not a perfect outing but dang is it a big improvement over last year’s outing and if your looking at this as a potential option I would say rent it first and make sure the style fits your needs as the game has plenty of content to take you outside of a rental period.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.