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MLB 2K12 Review

For the past handful of years the team over at 2K Games have amassed mountains of praise for their NBA 2K series, raking in award after award for “sports game of the year” from various websites, publications and media outlets. Despite that overwhelming achievement, their baseball franchise has been, quite frankly, an embarrassment. For the better part of a decade MLB2K has been shamed by the infinitely superior MLB The Show series. Hell previous installments in the 2K baseball series were so terrible that playing them would have been an effective method of torture at Gitmo.

So the good news is, with the bar set so low, things could only get better. Perhaps that should have been the 2K12’s tagline.

“MLB 2K12: It Can’t Get Any Worse… Right?”


THE GOOD

We joke and mock but this years iteration truly is a distinct improvement over the last few years lackluster outings. The real shinning achievement of 2K12 is its presentation. The commentary found in 2K12 may very well be the best of its kind to date. Everything seems fresh and there is an insane amount of depth to it. Each at bat feels unique and the commentary flows freely with the game. I truly cannot say enough to express how great the commentary is.

On screen stat displays and overlays are also handled quite well and are impressively fleshed out. Seeing onscreen stats pop up detailing what a particular batter hits in a certain count for their career is pretty damn awesome. If 2K put this much time and effort into the actual game play the game would be immaculate.

The players and stadiums all look better, though they still look a bit off. The players also all still have a tendency to stare vacantly off into space in a creepy serial killer-esque fashion but both are far less noticeable distractions than in 2K11.

The well received gesture pitching returns as well (in full disclosure, being left-handed, I myself still find it incredibly frustrating) along with timed hitting and composure influenced pitching. If you abuse an effective pitch the AI will adapt and begin pummeling it. This adds a nice touch to the game that makes it feel a little less arcade-ish.


THE BAD

Unfortunately, pretty much everything else falls under this category as MLB 2K12 underperforms worse than the 2011 Mets.

The most glaring an annoying problem is the rampant frame rate issues. Nearly every foul ball and some far ones result in abrupt and jarring frame rate chaos. It is unacceptable in this day and age for any title to suffer such stutters, let alone a game made by a AAA studio that produces a nearly flawless NBA game year in and year out.

Frame rate issues are just the tip of the iceberg because like usual, MLB 2K is plagued with glitches. Base stealers often stop sprinting half way to the bag and begin a nice leisurely jog, leading to an epidemic of runners being thrown out.

Users will find themselves constantly getting screwed out of runs due to the tag-up system not working properly with a runner on third. On the flip side on defense that same cut off man system is also broken, as often you will have a runner hosed at the plate only to find your throw sailing weakly toward first base, as your cut off man is playing ridiculously out of position.

Advancing runners is also an exercise in frustration. Many times you will find yourself preloading a runner on first to head from first to home on a shot to the gap, only to find him stopping at third base, despite the facts that he would have easily scored and his icon clearly displayed an H for home.

Plan on doing a fantasy draft? Well I have some bad news for you. Say you are a big Red Sox fan like myself; so you pick the Sox as the team for your franchise and you decide you still would like to draft Big Papi as your DH. No problem right? Wrong! Low and behold as you go to set your lineups you notice something quite odd. Big Papi for some reason already has 29 homeruns despite the fact that you have yet to play a single game. Yep, that’s right, if you draft a player who already was a member of that team, his stats from last year carry over and anything you do gets added to them. That is a pretty damn big oversight.

Fielding transitions and animations are also extremely glitchy. Some look amazing while others look downright absurd. Reaction time is also an issue as often grounders that should be routine outs roll past uninterested fielders who make no attempt whatsoever to field the play.

The AI is also a problem as often you will find the computer, trailing late in a close game with runners in scoring position, allow their pitcher to bat, only to pull him before throwing a single pitch when they take the filed the following inning.

The AI issue also leaves the MY PLAYER feature a hot mess. As a pitcher the skipper will leave you out on the mound to get pummeled one game then pull you early in an outing when you’re pitching a gem.

One funny glitch appears during a double switch and has been dubbed “The Zombie Glitch”. I won’t spoil that one for you, so please do yourself a favor and youtube it.

The menu system is also still the same clunky mess as last year. I for the life of me do not understand why 2K still insists on using something so unnecessarily annoying and frustrating.

OVERALL

While better than previous entries in the franchise 2K12 is still a broken, arcade-ish, mixed bag. Perhaps it is time for 2K Games to take a page out of EA’s playbook and next year, instead of getting their teeth kicked in once again by MLB The Show, they should just take an extra year to fix all the glitches and build an acceptable baseball sim. Casual baseball fans might find some enjoyment here but die hard baseball fanatics will be less then pleased. 2K12 finally got called up to the show but it struck out watching and got sent back down to the minors.


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