It is very hard to review this game, because it’s a challenge to repress the sheer frustration that it instills in me. I don’t know of any game I’ve hated like this one. I’m not sure it’s a rational hatred, but it is hate nonetheless.
Let’s start with the graphics, shall we? The player models are sound and the animations are ok, but whoever did the faces needs to be strung up and beat. I can’t believe how poor the player faces are! 2K Sports has never been great at this, but here they’ve hit a new low.
Gameplay is hamstrung, as well. Hitting is decent, but I’m not happy with the pitching changes. With no indication of whether you’re doing the right stick motions right, it’s hard to tell why you’re getting lit up. And get lit up you will, more because of horrendous fielding then bad pitching. I’ve had situations where I can’t select a player close enough to an infield grounder to pick it up and the runner reaches base. Worse yet is the “first baseman bug,” where the first baseman will receive a throw but wander off of the bag and not tag it, resulting in a base hit. I saw this four times in one game, which is absolutely inexcusable. Fielders don’t dive for balls, they trip over their own feet, so don’t count of robbing hitters of anything in the gaps.
If you’re the type who loves to tweak players and rosters, you’ll be sorely disappointed here. You can edit create-a-players’ faces, a la NBA 2K9, and the number of accessories is decent, but you can no longer change a player’s batting stance or pitching style. Everyone you create gets a generic default stance and delivery, which makes the game look very monotonous.
Commentary is better then last year, and in fact I like it better then any baseball commentary since Triple Play ’98. It’s not perfect, with a number of erroneous calls, but it’s a huge improvement.
The UI is passable, and if you played NBA 2K9, you’ll be right at home as it’s the same exact interface. The franchise mode is passable, but the lack of an exhibition mode is a terrible oversight. Let me explain; you can hit ‘play now’ and set up a game similarly to exhibition mode, but you cannot change the other team’s lineup or starting pitcher, meaning you’re always facing the other team’s ace. This isn’t always fun, and sometimes I like to recreate recent games from TV, with the same lineups, starting pitcher and such, but that’s not possible here without editing a team’s rotation and lineup on the roster screen. Sloppy, 2K.
2K Sports has been clear from the start that this is a new game, built from the ground up rather then an evolution of MLB 2K8, which is why some features from last year aren’t included. I say that they’re just making excuses. When basic options are left out, the game feels lazy. That’s how this game feels – lazy. From the production values to the graphics to the interface, and worst of all to the controls, this game is a disaster. It can only go up, I feel, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt last year. Like I said at the open, I hate so many things about this game that I can’t see how it was released to the public. Don’t waste your twenty bucks on this junk. Alphasim out.