A million dollars to justify the legitimacy of your baseball title is nothing short of gutsy. For 2K Sports, it is more than just making their series legitimate, it is making it relevant. Trounced by the competition, Major League Baseball 2K10 is revamped and re-worked, creating the tension of a batter/pitcher duel, and this time with far fewer glitches.
To be clear, MLB 2K10 has glitches, but those experienced during the review process were far fewer than previous years, and mostly visual. Watching the pitcher standing at the mound, minus the ball which has suddenly disappeared, is hardly the game breaker that prior years fielding mix-ups were.
It is another knock on the presentation, an area where 2K used to dominate, and is now playing catch-up. Transition animations can be staggeringly poor, and there is a general robotic-ness to the motions in general. Uninteresting camera angles (including a difficult to use default batting cam) and the non-responsive crowd don’t help either.
Strides for this franchise have been made where they should have been made. Pitching requires specific motions of the right analog stick, more refined and accurate that previous years. Compared to the game’s Xbox 360 counterpart, the analog sticks on the PlayStation 3 perform better for whatever reason. Mistakes do happen and the game will incorrectly register a movement even though you stopped at the proper release point, but that is the nature of baseball as much as it is a design flaw.
Batting also uses the stick, a simple flick up for contact swing, down and up for a power shot, and left or right for an at-bat salvaging defensive swing. That last one works… too well. It is far too easy to stay on the plate, hacking at pitches to stay alive. Sending numerous foul balls into the stands is not only boring, but a cheap way to keep the opposing pitcher throwing, wearing him down faster. Using the stick itself is enormously gratifying once the timing is mastered.
That does not always go for the new My Player mode, directly competing with Sony’s MLB: The Show’s Road to the Show. Here you groom a player to make it into the majors, but start so weak, advancement is difficult. You only improve your batting by getting hits, but your rating is low to start. Hitting anything but ground outs is a challenge. The same goes for everything else, from baserunning to fielding.
The franchise mode is enhanced with MLB Today, which updates rosters, injuries, and rotations with daily adjustments compared to real life. However, a request from this reviewer goes out again for the ability to play as a minor league team through multiple seasons. Smaller markets with AAA and AA teams would certainly enjoy playing as the home team.
It has been a joke for years that Xbox 360 owners were stuck with MLB 2K instead of The Show. While PS3 owners are still better off with Sony’s series, 2K’s strides are wonderful, and certainly show admirable effort to regaining supremacy long lost.
Major League Baseball 2K10 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on: Nintendo DS, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, and Xbox 360.